Fishing Industry News: Kornacki Joins St. Croix Rod; Bass Pro Signings

In the latest fishing industry news, Stephen Kornacki has joined St. Croix Rods and several companies have signed professional bass anglers to prostaff sponsorship deals.

Fishing Industry News: Kornacki Joins St. Croix Rod; Bass Pro Signings

In the latest fishing industry news...

Stephen Kornacki has joined Wisconsin-based St. Croix Rod as Digital Marketing Manager.

Jesse Simpkins, St. Croix Director of Marketing, said the new position was primarily created to strengthen St. Croix’s ongoing contact and interaction with anglers.

“Talking with anglers at shows, through email and on the phone will always be very important to us, but digital interactions via social media and our website are increasing rapidly,” Simpkins said. “We created this position, largely, to make sure we are giving our anglers the best possible online experience – whether that means a fully optimized website or giving anglers fast and helpful information on social media.”

Kornacki will work closely with Simpkins and the rest of the St. Croix team. Primary duties include identifying and implementing strategic improvements to the St. Croix website, day-to-day management of the website, digital and social media strategy, and management and curation of video, photo and other digital marketing assets.

A Wisconsin native, active hunter and angler, Kornacki brings a unique mix of creative skills and industry experience to his new job at St. Croix in Park Falls.

“I’ve worked with a number of companies in the outdoors industry over the past few years doing photography, social media content creation and management, and tradeshow representation,” Kornacki said. “I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to successfully market a brand, and the biggest part of that is having great products that people want and trust. St. Croix makes those products.”

“My wife is from Park Falls, so I’ve known about St. Croix Rod – its special blend of people, pride and products – for a long time,” he says. “It’s been a dream of mine to work at St. Croix since I met her ten years ago.”

Plano Synergy Expands Marketing, Tech Departments

Ray Dikun is the new Director of Technology for Plano Synergy, while Andy Baumbach has been promoted to Director of Brand Marketing and Angelica Vazquez to Associate Marketing Manager.

Dikun has 28 years of experience in consumer electronics and technological product development. He was formerly the Vice President and General Manager of Blackberry's US operations in Irving, Texas, and spent more than 12 years as an executive. During his tenure, he was responsible for the Curve, Storm and Playbook products. Before Blackberry, Ray served at Motorola as Senior Director of Engineering for more than 15 years - developing products from the Bravo Pager to the 3G Razr.

"We are thrilled to have Ray on our team. His combination of experience and love of the outdoors is a perfect fit for our organization - I believe he will be a catalyst for innovation in Plano Synergy's future," says Brady Arview, Vice President of  the Hunting Division. "He has already made a significant impact in the short amount of time he has been at Plano Synergy, and we expect more great innovations to come."

Promoted from Corporate Marketing & Design Manager, Andy Baumbach is Plano Synergy's new Director of Marketing for all hunt brands. Baumbach will lead critical marketing activities in support of the company's established hunting brands, including oversight of product promotions, catalog and asset creation, trade show representation, advertising, social media, editorial outreach and more. 

Angelica Vazquez, now Associate Marketing Manager, will assist in the execution of marketing initiatives across all brands in the portfolio. In her newly expanded role, Vazquez will be a key facilitator in the implementation of timely marketing strategies while supporting Baumbach for hunting brands and Chris Russell, Director of Marketing - Fish.

Feider Joins Plano on Fishing Prostaff

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Seth Feider, a two-time qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic championship, has joined the Plano prostaff.

"We are excited to add Seth to our team of professional anglers. He had been looking for a better tackle storage solution and approached us when he saw the new Edge boxes," said Chris Russell, Marketing Director for Plano Synergy's Fishing Division. "Nothing makes us happier than when a pro tells us that one of our products helps them improve their game. Seth is a great fit for us, and not only matches up well for Plano, but also aligns with our Avian-X line of waterfowl gear."

The Minnesota native cashed a check in each of the Bassmaster Elite events he fished in 2019. Feider's year was capped by a win at the 2019 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of The Year Championship on Lake St. Clair.

Palaniuk Signs With The Rod Glove, X Zone Lures

Brandon Palaniuk has joined the prostaffs of The Rod Glove and X Zone Lures

"The Rod Glove is one of those brands that anglers at all levels have in their boat because they simply work," he said. "The organization and protection of my rods just went to the next level in 2020."

Brandon joins fellow Rod Glove prstaffers Gerald Swindle and Brent Ehrler.

“The Rod Glove is very excited to have Brandon on our team” said owner Jim Van Ryn. “Brandon is the epitome of the present-day bass pro. Having him represent our brand is thrilling for us. Brandon’s ability to connect with all anglers of every level is key to his appeal and is exactly how we want our brand portrayed in the marketplace.”

Palaniuk also has signed with X Zone Lures and will begin collaboration on new designs.

"I'm beyond excited to join the family at X Zone lures in 2020," he said. "Floating claws, high quality plastic, and no cheap fillers are just a couple of examples of small details that make a huge difference in bait design when that bait touches the water. I've always enjoyed bait design, so this is an opportunity to get those ideas out there and add to an already impressive lineup of baits."

Brandon joins fellow X Zone pro staffer Brandon Lester, who competes on the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Buck Signs Deal with Z-Man Fishing

Fresh off a win at the 2019 Bassmaster Eastern Open on Oneida Lake in New York, Grae Buck inked a new sponsorship deal with Z-Man Fishing.

“The opportunity to work with the people at Z-Man is really exciting because I’ve been throwing their ElaZtech baits and ChatterBaits — and have actually won lots of money on them — for years,” said Buck, a native of Harleysville, Pennsylvania.

In 2012, Buck graduated from Penn State University where he played left wing for the Nittany Lions hockey team. “Hockey is my first passion,” he said. “I’ve been skating since I was about 4 years old.

“The other reason I chose Penn State was because they had a college fishing team. I got my start in fishing early when my grandpa took me out on local creeks and rivers. When I was 16, a friend took me out on Chesapeake Bay in his boat. The scope of that fishery really opened my eyes. From then on, I knew fishing was going to be big in my life.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Grae,” says Joey Prochazka, Pro Staff and Promotions Manager for Z-Man Fishing. “He’s a really likeable guy and an awesome fit for our Z-Man crew. Like our other pros, Grae is a talented, super tenacious angler with a tremendous work ethic. His knowledge of Northeastern fisheries will be invaluable as we expand the popularity of Z-Man baits in this region.”

While fishing for Penn State, Buck met his wife, Jessica. The couple fished together on the collegiate competitive bass team and  graduated with matching degrees in environmental resource management. After graduation, Buck went to work for a pond and lake management company—a vocation that proved a perfect fit for the up-and-coming bass angler.

Grigsby Signs With Ranch House Coffee

FLW Pro Circuit angler Chad Grigsby has signed a sponsorship deal with Ranch House Coffee, a new coffee brand..

"I’ve watched Chad his entire career and when I founded Ranch House Coffee I knew I wanted him to represent my brand," said Dave Galuszka, owner of Ranch House Coffee. "Coffee is part of most anglers'  morning routine, as it is for so many of us who wake up for work before the sun rises. Our coffee is for those people."

Ranch House Coffee is available in Risin' Sun, French Vanilla, Cowboy Coffee, Classic Decaf, Hazlenut and Rancher's Dark Roast. The ground Arabica beans are packed and sealed in 12 ounce bags. 

Grigsby has won more than $1 million in his career, which began in 2000. 


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