Fishing Industry News: American Baitworks Acquires Snag Proof; Bass Pro, Bluegreen Settle

In the latest fishing industry news, American Baitworks has acquired Snag Proof Lures and Bass Pro Shops has settled its lawsuit with Bluegreen Vacations.

Fishing Industry News: American Baitworks Acquires Snag Proof; Bass Pro, Bluegreen Settle

Here is some of the latest fishing industry news:

American Baitworks has acquired Snag Proof Lures, which will join Scum Frog under Southern Lure Co. –  part of the American Baitworks Group of Companies.

Through the acquisition, the company has moved manufacturing, operations and distribution to southern Mississippi. Two of the original owners, Connie Fuller and Harry Ehlers Jr., will lend support through the transition and leverage their knowledge and history of the company started by their father, Harry Sr.

“Snag Proof is a true American original and we’re excited to have, what we believe, are the only two frog companies currently being manufactured in the USA," said Matt Massey, President and COO of American Baitworks. "The hard work starts now and we are going to introduce Snag Proof to a whole new generation of anglers. We are investing heavily in modernizing Snag Proof with new product designs and enhanced manufacturing. Snag Proof was hugely innovative when the company sprang onto the scene many years ago and we are bringing that same energy and innovation back to the company.”

Anglers can look to see new patterns and colors across the Snag Proof lineup including additions to the Wiggle WogWeed Demon and Bobby’s Perfect Frog product lines. Anglers will also see a new generation of Popping Frogs currently under development.

“Harry and I are excited for the future of the company our dad started” said Connie Fuller. “We’re happy to see the company in the hands of people who fish and have a passion for frog fishing in particular.”

Snag Proof products and the new Snag Proof brand will be fully unveiled at ICAST in July.

Gene Larew Lures Expands Production Capability

Gene Larew Lures has completed an expansion project that increases its manufacturing capability by at least 70 percent.

The company added four new soft plastic injection machines, which will help customers and retailers seeking the company's popular lures. 

“By simple maths, adding four machines to the six we already have is an increase of about 70 percent," said Larew owner Chris Lindenberg. "But from a true production standpoint the resulting boost is a lot greater than that. 

“Now we can run multiple molds of our highly popular Garland Baby Shad baits without having to compromise production of other lure styles, sizes and colours, which are the kinds of tough decisions we’ve had to make in recent times.”

Lindenberg acquired Gene Larew in 2006. He added the Bobby Garland crappie brand in 2007, bringing the two soft plastic pioneers together under one roof along Route 66 on the Oklahoma City’s northeast side.

ASA Elects Board of Directors

Four members of the American Sportfishing Association were elected to fill two At-Large seats and two regional seats on the board of directors. Their three-year terms begin Oct. 1, 2019. ASA is the national trade association that represents the sportfishing industry.

At-Large seats went to:

— Charlie Davis, the Fishing Category Director for Plano Synergy. Davis has been involved with retail sales all his life, learning the basics from his father. Davis brings his knowledge and expertise, as well as his passion for fishing, to ASA’s board of directors. This is his first term as an ASA board member.

— Bob Hunter, Vice President of Merchandising – Fish/Camp/Marine & Shooting Sports Divisions, Big Rock Sports. This is his first term with ASA. With his extensive background in retail sales and knowing the key role that independent retailers have in our industry, Bob wants to bring his knowledge and expertise to help the association grow retail membership.

Regional seats went to:

— Dan Ferris, owner and operator of MidWest Outdoors, Ltd. He was re-elected to represent the Great Lakes Region on ASA’s board. Ferris is a charter member of the 60 in 60 Committee working to develop industry initiatives to get more people into fishing and the Communications Committee, which advises ASA on member and industry communications.

— Mike Jackson, President, Wright & McGill. This is his first term. Over his 27-year career with Wright & McGill, he has touched all aspects of the recreational fishing industry – from manufacturing to distribution to retail sales. He currently sits on the Trade Show and Marketing Insights committees, bringing his knowledge and expertise to advise ASA in these areas.

Current members of the board of directors are: Executive Committee – Chris Megan, Publisher, On The Water, LLC, Chairman; Zack Swanson, General Manager and Vice President, Sales, Rapala USA, Vice Chairman; Louis Chemi, COO, Freedom Boat Club, Secretary; Dan McDonald, President, Yakima Bait Company, Treasurer; Jesse Simpkins, Director of Marketing, St. Croix Rods, At-Large; and Kirk Immens, President, Sportco Marketing, Inc., Immediate Past Chairman.

Other board members are: Bruce Akin, CEO, B.A.S.S. LLC; Dale Barnes, Division Manager, Marketing, Yamaha Marine Group; Ed Carter, Executive Director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency; Thom Dammrich, President, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Dan Ferris, Publisher, Midwest Outdoors; Peter Foley, President, Boone Bait Company, Inc., Patrick Gill, CEO, TackleDirect; Carl Liederman, President, Capt. Harry’s Fishing Supply Co., Inc.; Dave Pfeiffer, President, Shimano North American Fishing, Inc.; and Steve Smits, President, ZEBCO Brands.

The board's ex-officio members are: Dave Bulthuis, Vice President of Government Affairs, Costa; Carey Graves, Vice President of Sales, Daiwa Corporation; Kenneth Hammond, CEO, The Hammond Group; and Phil Lillo, Owner/CEO, Don Coffey Company.

Obit: Gary Burrell, Garmin Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus

Gary Burrell, aviation pioneer and co-founder of Garmin Ltd., died June 12, 2019. He was 81.

Burrell retired in 2002. He served as co-Chairman until 2004 when he was named Chairman Emeritus of Garmin International.

Burrell co-founded Garmin with Dr. Min Kao in 1989 with the vision of creating products powered by an emerging technology known as the Global Positioning System. Thirty years later, Garmin has grown from a handful of engineers into a global location and communication product powerhouse with more than 13,000 associates in 60 offices around the world. Of his many accomplishments, Burrell was most proud of the jobs he helped create.

"Gary Burrell has been my friend, mentor and partner for more than 30 years," Kao said. "His vision, values, engineering skills and commitment to serving our customers have been the foundation for the growth of our company. It has been both a great privilege and a blessing to have known this amazing man and I know his legacy will live on."

In a career spanning 50 years, Burrell motivated and mentored thousands of employees. Prior to launching Garmin in 1989, Burrell held leadership positions at marine and aviation electronics companies including Lowrance Electronics, King Radio Corporation and AlliedSignal. He is widely regarded as one of the leading innovators of integrated avionics, having designed and developed the first successful NAV/COMM for the general aviation market.

At Garmin, he expanded his vision for integration with the GNS 430/530 product family, which combines GPS technology with traditional aviation navigation and communication systems and a color moving map. He conceived the G1000 cockpit system, which today is operating in thousands of aircraft around the world from small piston powered airplanes through mid-sized business jets. Burrell earned his bachelor’s in electrical engineering at Wichita State University and his master’s from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary markets: automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. 

Kauk New President of White River Marine Group

Zach Kauk will become president of the White River Marine Group, the marine manufacturing division of the Bass Pro Shops family.

Kauk will begin immediately and assume full leadership responsibilities Sept. 1, 2019 following the retirement of outgoing president Les Crawford.

Kauk joins as White River Marine Group, the world’s largest manufacturer of boats by volume, is poised for an exciting future. The company’s iconic brands include Tracker, Nitro, Tahoe, Mako, Ranger, Triton, Sun Tracker, Regency and Ascend and are found within a growing international independent dealer network spanning more than 700 dealers across 30 countries.

Kauk brings more than 30 years of global manufacturing expertise and product management at Caterpillar, Inc.  Kauk held a variety of product development, sales, marketing and manufacturing leadership positions with Caterpillar, including heading international operations in Europe and Asia. Kauk most recently served as Vice President of the multibillion-dollar Excavation Division where he managed complex product portfolios and grew sales and global market share across multiple categories.

Bass Pro Shops, Bluegreen Vacations Settle

Bluegreen Vacations, a timeshare marketer based in Boca Raton, Fla., will pay more than $40 million to Bass Pro Shops to settle a dispute over alleged high-pressure sales tactics.

Bluegreen will be able to to resume sales at kiosks inside Bass Pro’s locations. Bass Pro announced on May 25 it had kicked out Bluegreen from 69 stores, alleging aggressive sales tactics and "high pressure or offensive salesmanship" that violated their Marketing and Promotions Agreement. Bluegreen denied those allegations.

The companies have amended their Marketing and Promotions Agreement. They have done business together for 19 years. Bluegreen again has access to Bass Pro’s marketing channels, including all marketing activities in Bass Pro and Cabela’s retail stores. A settlement agreement, with no admission of wrongdoing from Bluegreen also stipulates that:

Bluegreen will pay Bass Pro the following amounts:

  • $20 million within 15 days of the execution of the Settlement and Amendment;
  • $4 million each January 1st starting in 2020 through 2024 (a total of 5 payments in the amount of $4 million each); and
  • Bass Pro will keep the remaining $1.5 million of an amount prepaid to them earlier in 2019 under the Marketing and Promotions Agreement.
  • In lieu of the existing generation commission, Bluegreen will pay Bass Pro a fixed annual fee of $70,000 for each Bass Pro and Cabela’s store that Bluegreen is accessing plus $32.00 per net vacation package sold (less cancellations/refunds). The fixed annual fee will be prorated for 2019. The Settlement and Amendment includes provisions regarding minimum numbers of stores that Bluegreen will be obligated to pay for, as well as provisions under which the minimum number of stores will be reduced.
  • Bluegreen and Bass Pro agree on specific enhancements to its customer service policies and procedures, as well as an enhanced complaint resolution process.
  • Bluegreen and Bass Pro will continue expansion of the Bluegreen/Big Cedar Vacations, LLC joint venture and have modified certain terms of the operating agreement of the joint venture, including that Bluegreen will continue to sell tours to the joint venture at agreed-upon costs.
  • Bluegreen will become a supporter of the not-for-profit Wonders of Wildlife Foundation with a portion of proceeds from net vacation packages sold being donated to the cause, subject to a minimum annual donation of $700,000.
  • The parties agree to resolve any future disputes thru a binding arbitration process under the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, Inc. (JAMS) process.
  • The parties executed mutual waivers and releases and have agreed to the dismissal of the pending litigation.

BoatUS Urges Boaters to Be Alert for E15 Fuel

Over the objections of a wide coalition of American citizens and industry groups, the Environmental Protection Agency recently waived Clean Air Act provisions and eliminated the three-and-a-half-month blackout period on the sale of 15 percent ethanol fuel — known as E15 — during the summer months, permitting the fuel to be sold year-round.

The E15 fuel had been banned at the pumps from June 1 to Sept. 15 over concerns it contributed to smog on hot days. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is advising boaters to be cautious at the gas station to ensure they aren’t filling their boats with fuel that’s bad — and illegal — for boat engines.

“This summer, recreational boat owners will need to be vigilant when refueling their trailer boats at the gas station to ensure they don’t accidentally fill up with E15,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “E15 is often one of the lower-priced fuel options, and that may be appealing even with its lower energy content. The challenge when filling up the boat is that the only misfueling warning you may see is a small orange label among the clutter of signage, prices and advertising adorning the pump. It’s very easy to miss.”

Boaters have no love for ethanol in their gas. E15 is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines, and its use — accidental or not — voids many marine engine warranties. E15 has been proven to damage boat engines and fuel systems. A 2018 BoatUS Summer Fuel Survey reported that if they had their choice of fuel, more than four out of five boat owners (83 percent) would choose E0 (ethanol-free) fuel if it was available. The same survey reported about half (49 percent) of respondents were unaware that the use of E15 fuel in marine engines was prohibited under federal law and will void the warranty.

The push to sell E15 year-round is a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) mandate to blend biofuels such as corn-ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. BoatUS is asking recreational boaters for help on the issue by contacting their member of Congress to urge him or her to fix the RFS. The more than half-million-member boat owners group supports fuel choice, including smart biofuels development such as isobutanol, and the availability of ethanol-free fuels that are increasingly more difficult to find.

BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition that aims to reform the RFS.

SPRO Moves To Enlarged Facility in Georgia

SPRO Corporation recently moved its operations base to a new facility in Kennesaw, Ga.

This new facility is 2.5 times larger than the previous building location. The expansion will offer SPRO more room to stock inventory and will facilitate future growth with added bait lines and hook expansions.

SPRO's product lineup includes topwater frogs, hard baits such as crankbaits, jerkbaits, and swimbaits, jigs, salmon and steelhead leaders, sliding hook rigs, soft baits and terminal tackle.

Louisiana Governor Requests Federal Aid

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has requested a federal fisheries disaster declaration for Louisiana from the U.S. Department of Commerce following impacts of the spring flood on the fishing industry.

Troubling mortality rates among oysters, declining fish catches and the financial damage to the livelihoods of those in the fishing industry caused by floodwaters rushing from the Bonnet Carré Spillway were among the reasons for the request. Edwards outlined these in a letter to Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Such a declaration of a federal disaster for Louisiana may help in obtaining federal financial assistance for our fishers, processors, docks, and for the state to help rehabilitate the important fishery species upon which our seafood industry relies,” Edwards wrote.

He cited findings from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries that show negative impacts on the fishing industry. The disaster declaration is driven by the unprecedented decision to operate the Bonnet Carré Spillway twice this year, which has resulted in reduced salinity levels in some of the state’s coastal waters and disrupted estuarine productivity.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.