Everyone who encountered Joe Higgins experienced his high energy. That energy left him Saturday, when the B.A.S.S. vice president of sales succumbed to cancer at his home in Jupiter, Fla. He was 67.
B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin said Higgins was known for “his contagious personality, always positive attitude, creativity and work ethic. He was loved by all he came into contact with, within and without our company and industry. He will be missed.”
Higgins was among the first hires when B.A.S.S. was purchased from ESPN in 2010. Don Logan and the group of owners sought a dynamic leader to head up the sales force.
“When Jim Copeland, Jerry McKinnis and I bought B.A.S.S. from ESPN, our top priority was to beef up our sales and marketing leadership,” Logan said. “A couple of my industry friends, whom I respected, called me and told me Joe Higgins would be great in those roles.”
Logan knew within 30 minutes of meeting Higgins that he was the man, and a second meeting with McKinnis and Copeland required only 15 minutes to confirm.
“Joe Higgins’ relationships with all the industry players, his tireless energy, and his positive attitude had an immediate impact on B.A.S.S.'s sucess. He was the perfect choice, and a true friend,” Logan said.
Logan witnessed Higgins in action on their first trip to ICAST, the industry-wide show of all the tackle manufacturers. As the story goes Higgins slowed their journey across the floor stopping to say hello to everyone he knew, but Higgins’ side was that Logan slowed things by checking out all the new products.
“Everybody knew Joe and they stopped a lot,” Akin said. “Don just wanted to stop and look at all the new lures, and Joe said he was the holdup getting through. There’s probably truth to both sides.”
Creating meaningful relationships was what Higgins did in his nearly four decades in the industry. He worked in sales at Field & Stream and the World Fishing Network and was publisher of Western Outdoors Publications before founding Florida Fishing Weekly.