Media play

Here's B.A.S.S. Times Editor Bryan Brasher capturing the moment at The King Fisher Society's mill pond.

When we’re not competing in tournaments or working sports shows, many Bassmaster Elite Series pros are busy fulfilling other obligations. That may include special, on-the-water events — some for charitable causes, others to develop relationships with media while promoting and demonstrating our sponsors’ products.

These events are usually small with a select number of anglers, corporate contacts and key media personalities. And because these junkets are usually held at quality venues during optimal times, they almost always promise good fishing. 

That was definitely the case in a recent Shimano media function held at The King Fisher Society of Laurel Hill, N.C. The fishing was outstanding, which gave us the opportunity to showcase Shimano’s newest products before a variety of key media people. 

And, man, was I glad I got to attend.

A who’s who

Among those invited were Bryan Brasher of B.A.S.S. Times, Brian Cope of Carolina Sportsman, David DiBenedetto with Garden & Gun, Ken Duke with Fishing Tackle Retailer and Jason Sealock of — all seasoned pros representing various platforms in print and electronic media. Other Shimano pros in attendance included Keith Combs, James Elam and aspiring up and comer Lawson Tilghman.

The event was spearheaded by Shimano marketers, Kurt Mazurek and John Mazurkiewicz. Making the presentation was Trey Epich, Shimano’s head of product development for fishing in the United States. Epich explained how new advancements in technology and improved production capability enables Shimano to offer its customers a line of rods and reels with advanced features at very affordable prices — features that were only available in their top-end products previously.

That’s Shimano’s Trey Epich presenting key features of their newest reels.

This is huge, not only for those anglers on a budget, but for beginners looking to buy their first rod and reel combo — individuals who want the best products and value for their money.

Without giving away any secrets before the big ICAST Show in July, Shimano will, once again, bring to market a number of new rods and reels perfectly suited to bass anglers at all skill levels. I’ve fished with some of the new tackle already and while I can’t give you any specifics — not yet, anyway — I guarantee you’ll be impressed. Watch for them this summer.

Yamamoto gathering

Shortly after the Shimano gig, I attended a pro staff gathering for my soft-plastics sponsor — Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits. The purpose was to discuss new products and to shoot video and still shots for web, catalog and advertising use.

Also attending were Elite Series pros Jay Yelas, Yusuke Miyazaki and Brandon Card. Representing Yamamoto corporate were Heidi Roth, Chris Oberle and Ron Colby. Ron is VP of operations. Chris is their media productions guy. Heidi … well, she wears lots of hats at Yamamoto. Not only is she our pro staff coordinator, she’s also the editor, content manager and webmaster of Inside Line — Yamamoto’s online fishing magazine

The event was held at Sugoi Lakes Lodge & Resort in Mineola, Texas — near Lake Fork … which, as I’m sure you know, was the site of our last Elite event. Heidi and Ron planned the junket around the tournament to take advantage of their Elite pros being in one place at the same time.

Talk about a fun week.

Not only did we accomplish Yamamoto’s project objectives — which included fishing the private ponds at Sugoi Lakes — we were also treated to some world-class dining, compliments of Heidi, who is actually a gourmet cook. She spoiled us with a wide range of dishes, including exotic beef, chicken, pork and shrimp delicacies. Every meal was unique. And when you live on the road like we do, often dining at chain restaurants, food like she prepared for us is a delight and luxury.

As for new products, Yamamoto will soon be releasing a smaller, swimming version of the Zako. Featuring a boot tail, it’s perfectly sized for use as a trailer on a swim jig, spinnerbait or buzzbait … or fished alone on a jig head. I’ve already caught a bunch of fish with it — including a 6-pounder in our Lake Fork Texas Fest event — and I’m confident you’ll like what you see.

Watch for these new products from Yamamoto and Shimano in the coming months.

Follow Bernie Schultz on Facebook or through his website.

That’s me with Chris Oberle of Yamamoto, filming an instructional video at Sugoi Lakes.