The Shimano experience

Sponsorships are the lifeblood of professional fishermen. Ask any touring pro and they’ll tell you, there’s no way to survive without them.

Sure, you might make it for a while on your credit cards, or by cashing a few checks, but eventually the costs of doing business will catch up to you. And that’s why sponsorships are so essential.

Fortunately, I’ve had longstanding relationships with many of the biggest brands in fishing. Brands like Mercury Marine, Ranger Boats, Power-Pole, Shimano and Rapala. Companies who have backed me for decades.

Those relationships weren’t established overnight. It took years of hard work and dedication to gain their confidence and trust, which was my focus from the start. I wanted to provide a strong return for those who would back my pursuits in competitive angling. A key part of that was offering useful feedback while learning about new products as they evolve, then engaging in any related marketing strategies. Efforts that sometimes require going back to school. 

The Summit 

Recently, I was invited to the first-ever Shimano Pro Staff Summit. 

Hosted at their Charleston, S.C., headquarters, more than 30 professional anglers, guides and TV personalities were asked to participate in an intensive, two-day training session. Included were Bassmaster Elite Series pros Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, Chris Johnston, Ed Loughran and Greg Dipalma. There was also a strong contingency of saltwater anglers.

Shimano’s pro staff manager Blaine Anderson began the meeting with a brief explanation of their objectives, then introduced various marketing and department heads — some of whom would provide instruction as the sessions progressed.