Just Bassing Through
Being a Federation Nation member helps Rick Anderson stock his tackle store with the hottest new lures and the old reliables of the tournament trail.
"It puts me on the inside of what is going on in the industry," said Anderson. "I listen to what the membership is using and who is winning where. I get to talk to the guys on a personal level about what they are doing. A lot of guys will open up to me because they know I have a tackle shop. You can learn so much if you know how to listen."
As the co-owner of Hawghead Baits and the Pennsylvania B.A.S.S. Federation Nation president, Anderson does a lot of listening. But Anderson is more than just a listener; he's a doer. Besides his fishing tackle business, Anderson also owns a general contracting company, a property management company and a semi-pro football team in York, Pa., that he has named the Hawghead Razorbacks.
When he joined the York County Bassmasters in 1995, Anderson won his first three club tournaments and the first district tournament he fished. He eventually formed his own club, Just Bassing Through, in which he met his future business partner, Todd Meckley. When Meckley joined the club, he was selling HawgHead Baits that he made in his basement through an online store. "We talked about how one day we would buy a tackle shop," said Anderson. "That went on for a couple of years, and before we knew it we got the opportunity to buy one and the rest is history."
Anderson and Meckley bought and renovated an old bait-and-tackle store and expanded it to a 4,000 square foot facility for tackle displays and storage for selling live bait wholesale. The business sells every major name brand of lures (hard and soft plastics) and its own line of soft plastics. "We have the designs for our own crankbait, too," said Anderson.
The store is also an authorized service center for Minn Kota and MotorGuide trolling motors and provides marine services, fiberglass repair and painting, and guided fishing trips. "A small store can't survive on that walk-in customer anymore at one or two times of the year because the big box stores are taking over," said Anderson. "We have to go a step farther, so we decided to get into fiberglass repairs and painting and restoring motors."
The business also supports the Federation Nation through sponsorship and discounts. "Any Federation Nation member gets a 10 percent discount automatically," said Anderson. HawgHead Baits sponsors the Pennsylvania Federation Nation and donates hats, rods and reels and other tackle for door prizes at Federation Nation tournaments.
Anderson suffered a setback more than a year ago when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, but he has rebounded to pursue his plans for his business and the Federation Nation. "I'd like to get a couple of stores franchised throughout the state," disclosed Anderson. "I definitely want to stay involved in the Federation and help it grow, which is why I stepped in and took over as president."