Fishing Industry News: Pure Fishing Acquires Fin-Nor; Walker New Simms CMO

In the latest fishing industry news, Pure Fishing has acquired Fin-Nor and Van Stall, and Strick Walker is the new CMO for Simms Fishing Products.

Fishing Industry News: Pure Fishing Acquires Fin-Nor; Walker New Simms CMO

In the latest fishing industry news...

Pure Fishing has announced the acquisition of iconic fishing brands Fin-Nor and Van Staal from W.C. Bradley/Zebco Holdings, Inc.

The addition of these brands add to Pure Fishing’s offering in the saltwater category, including the Penn Fishing brand, one of the most widely respected saltwater fishing equipment brands. Pure Fishing will work quickly to bring newness and marketing support to these two brands in order to accelerate momentum as part of its ongoing focus on driving growth of the fishing industry.

Capt. Craig Cantelmo will also be joining the Pure Fishing team as part of this acquisition. Cantelmo will be reporting to Dave Bulthuis, Pure Fishing’s newly appointed President of North America, who was the director of sales for Fin-Nor earlier in his career.

“The Fin-Nor and Van Staal brands are some of the most storied brands in the fishing industry,” said Harlan Kent, CEO of Pure Fishing. “We are excited to add them to our portfolio and are committed to maintaining their focus on the independent retailer channel. Our Pure Fishing team looks forward to driving growth of these brands and of our overall saltwater business anchored by the iconic Penn brand.”

Fin-Nor began in 1933, the result of a collaboration between Capt. Tommy Gifford and inventor Frederick Martin Grieten, along with a few other Miami captains. They  created a prototype reel that caught a 527-pound bluefin tuna in Cat Cay. This event carved out a unique position for the brand, and Fin-Nor reels have racked up more than 900 International Gamefish Association records in the years since.

Van Staal was created in the early 1990s, stemming from a need to fulfill extreme performance in challenging saltwater conditions.

Walker New CMO at Simms

Strick Walker has been hired as Chief Marketing Officer to lead all marketing initiatives for Simms Fishing Products, effective in early 2020. He previously has worked with Merrell, Patagonia and Converse.

“Strick is a proven leader who will bring valuable marketing experience in the outdoor industry and public sector to Simms,” said Casey Sheahan, CEO of Simms. “We are excited to have him join our team and are confident he will deliver a powerful brand strategy, meaningful key consumer insights, and savvy product marketing across all channels to broaden awareness and excitement around the Simms brand.”

In the last two decades, Walker has worked for a variety of brands and organizations in and beyond the outdoor industry. Prior to Simms, he was the Chief Marketing Officer at Merrell. Before that, he served as Global Marketing Director for Patagonia and spent six years in Global Marketing at Converse. Walker also spent years on the agency side, working at design/ad shops like IDEO and Y&R.

“It’s an honor to join the incredible team at Simms,” Walker said. "It’s a rare opportunity to marry my personal passion with my profession. Simms is a great brand with a rich history of manufacturing the best and most innovative fishing products on the market. I’m excited to help grow the business across channels in a powerful and complimentary way.”

In the public sector, Walker helped build 1% for the Planet, an organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes. During his time there the organization grew to more than 1,200 member-businesses in 40 countries, contributing millions to more than 2000 NGOs each year. Walker has also served on the boards of Protect Our Winters and The Conservation Alliance.

Walker lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Beginning in February 2020, he will split time between Grand Rapids and Bozeman, Montana, as he assumes his new position with Simms.

Parker Joins Board of Lew's Holdings

Connie Parker, most recently the Director of Stewardship and Corporate Sustainability for Pure Fishing, has joined the board of directors for Lew's Holdings Corporation.

“We are incredibly honored to appoint Connie to the board of Lew’s Holdings,” said Ken Eubanks, CEO of Lew’s. “Her profound impact on the advancement of conservation policy in the U.S., combined with her expertise of the angling industry, will be invaluable to both our business and industry as we enter the next decade.”

“I am thrilled to join the board of Lew’s who continues to be a great steward toward the healthy future of the fishing industry,” Parker said. “The success of Lew’s is directly linked to the success of conservation in our nation, and they consistently uphold the highest standards in the preservation of land and water.”

Parker serves on several national boards including Ducks Unlimited,  where she is Chairman and Senior Vice President of Business Planning in an advisory capacity to President Rogers Hoyt and CEO Adam Putnam. Previously, she served as a public policy and conservation committee member for Ducks Unlimited.

In addition, she most recently served as an advisory board member of the Union Sportsman’s Alliance. Parker was appointed to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Blue-Ribbon Panel, with a focus on ongoing legislative conservation public policy initiatives at the national and state level. Also, at the state level, Ms. Parker is a longstanding member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Foundation,  where she serves as Executive Secretary to the Board.

Parker holds a Master’s degree from American University in Organizational Development and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Relations from Trinity College, where she received honors on her thesis work.

Yakima Acquires Road Shower

Yakima, a pioneer in recreational cargo management solutions and outdoor specialty products, has completed an asset acquisition of Road Shower, the leading on-vehicle outdoor recreation water transport system.

Through the acquisition, Yakima will take ownership of Road Shower’s intellectual property and existing inventory as it works to transition production to its own facilities.

“We are thrilled to add Road Shower’s proven products to our ever-growing portfolio of industry-leading racks, cargo boxes, and outdoor specialty equipment,” said Yakima CEO Ryan Martin. “Road Shower is a natural fit for us in that it fulfills specific needs for a wide range of Yakima customers and facilitates greater enjoyment of the outdoors.”

Following on the heels of the launch or expansion of several key categories for Yakima—including Truck, Basecamp, and Sportsman—Road Shower offers utility and versatility to adventure campers, anglers, surfers, bikers, kayakers, and anyone who wants to keep their gear, their vehicles, and themselves clean while out in the wild.

Shimano Retains Woodside Agency

Woodside Agency will represent Shimano, G Loomis, Power Pro and Jackall in Western Canada.

Woodside Agency represents several premium brands in the conventional and fly fishing categories. Rob Dorcas has a 25-year sales career that started guiding Arctic expeditions in Canada and Europe. For the past decade Dorcas has been working in Canada again and building a sales team of reps to service the fishing industry.

The team is supported in Western Canada by Scott Baker McGarva. Scott’s 30+ years in the West Coast fishing industry includes 16 years of retail experience including owning a Vancouver tackle shop, as well as several roles in Fishing Lodge management. With 25 seasons of steelhead guiding in BC, and multiple seasons at Langara Island salt water guiding, McGarva brings a wide variety of experience and enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He has been an FFF certified casting instructor since 1993.

Fishing Division Boosts Johnson Outdoors' Revenue

Sustained momentum in its fishing division, which includes Humminbird and Minn Kota, helped Johnson Outdoors deliver a 14 percent increase in sales for the fourth quarter of the year.

During a traditionally slower period for the company, Johnson Outdoors reported an operating profit of $1.9 million compared to a loss of $2 million for the same comparable period last year.

“We are pleased by the strong finish to the year, particularly with the performance of our fishing and camping brands," Helen Leipold-Johnson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, told investors.

“Our fishing business continued on its profitable growth trajectory, with the ongoing success of new and legacy technologies. Our successful track record of pioneering innovation has made Minn Kota and Humminbird the ‘go-to’ brands for the best possible fishing experiences on the water.

“In our North American business, gains were driven by emphasis on digital marketing, resulting in positive trends in retail and e-commerce sales. The European market was flat and Asia declined, primarily due to the political unrest in Hong Kong.”

Johnson-Leipold added that the company’s watercraft business, which includes Old Town, Ocean Kayak and Carlisle, continues to face challenging ‘marketplace dynamics’. “That is why our focus is on investing in innovation and technology to position the brands for success in the future.

“There are some green shoots for the division. The fishing kayak segment continues to grow and we are gaining share in this segment with innovation like the Old Town Topwater pedal-controlled kayak.”

For the year, total revenue grew 3% to $562.4m compared to $544.3m in 2018.

Rapala Signs As B.A.S.S. Partner

Rapala, maker of premium lures and other fishing tackle and accessories, has signed on as a partner for the Bassmaster Tournament Trail 2020 season.

Rapala will be a Supporting Sponsor for the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the grass-roots TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation regional and championship tournaments.

As a sponsor, Rapala will enjoy exposure to fans of sportfishing and B.A.S.S. members during tournament weigh-ins as well as across, Bassmaster Magazine, B.A.S.S. Times and various social media.

“As Rapala looks at the year 2020 and how fast competitive bass fishing is growing and changing each year, we are so excited to be a sponsor of B.A.S.S. at every single level,” said Matt Jensen, Rapala Director of Marketing. “B.A.S.S. continues to be a strong advocate from high school on up to the Elites, and we have a great partner to promote all of the Rapala VMC brands.”

Six 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series pro anglers — Bernie Schultz, Seth Feider, Patrick Walters, Gerald Swindle, Brandon Palaniuk and Bob Downey — are part of the Rapala pro staff.

Additionally, Rapala will serve as the title sponsor of the Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing Challenge, which draws more than 26,000 knowledgeable fans of bass fishing annually.


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