Fishing Industry News: Bass Pro Names New CMO; Fishing Pioneer Lowrance Dies

In the latest fishing industry news, former Walmart vice president Jamie Sohosky has joined Bass Pro Shops as Chief Marketing Officer.

Fishing Industry News: Bass Pro Names New CMO; Fishing Pioneer Lowrance Dies

Here is some of the latest fishing industry news:

Jamie Sohosky has been appointed as chief marketing officer for the Great Outdoors Group of companies, which includes Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's.

In her most recent role as VP, marketing, customer experience at Walmart U.S., Sohosky was responsible for end-to-end customer experience strategy by building its shopper marketing capabilities, simplifying in-store communication and increasing access to a seamless in-store experience.

Sohosky will lead the marketing engine overseeing omnichannel customer engagement, digital, paid and social media, promotions, events, sponsorships, partnerships and additional facets of the marketing mix. This includes supporting all divisions of the multifaceted group of outdoor companies comprised of Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, White River Marine Group and Big Cedar Lodge.

“Jamie brings a passionate, customer first approach that will help drive our overall marketing strategy and be key to the future success of our brands,” founder and CEO Johnny Morris said. “Her family has Missouri roots and enjoys spending time together outdoors. She understands what sets our company apart and how to provide customers with positive, memorable experiences. We’re very excited to welcome Jamie to our outdoor family.”

Pfeifer Joins Oskosh Corporation

John C. Pfeifer is the new Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Oshkosh Corporation, whch designs and creates specialty vehicles, vehicle bodies and access equipment.

Pfeifer brings to Oshkosh more than 25 years of senior leadership and management experience, most recently serving as President of Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation. He will be responsible for Oshkosh’s commercial business portfolio, including the access equipment, fire & emergency and commercial segments and will play a vital role in shaping and executing the Company’s business strategy. Pfeifer will report to Wilson R. Jones, President and Chief Executive Officer.

For the last five years, Pfeifer led Mercury Marine to significant sales and operating margin growth. Prior to joining Brunswick, Pfeifer held executive positions with ITT Corporation, first as Executive Vice President and General Manager of ITT's joint venture with Sanoh Industrial, supplying fuel and fluid handling systems to the Japanese automotive industry. Subsequently, he served in various general management roles in ITT's Electronic Components division.

Pfeifer earned a bachelor's degree in economics and a bachelor's degree in Japanese language from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

O'Keefe New Government Relations Leader for Yamaha Marine

John O’Keefe has assumed the role of Senior Specialist, Government Relations for Yamaha Marine. In his new position, he will spearhead the company’s growing sustainability and conservation efforts as well as facilitate Yamaha’s relationships with state and federal agencies that regulate access to fisheries resources.

“John’s expertise in government relations and knowledge of political functions on a state and federal level are strong assets to the Yamaha team,” said Martin Peters, Senior Manager, Government Relations. “His new role builds upon years of experience, and we look forward to the strong relationships he will continue to foster for Yamaha.”

Prior to accepting his new position, John spent two years as a Regional Marketing Coordinator in Yamaha Marine’s Tournament and Sponsorships Department. Before joining Yamaha, he held positions in sales, accounting and various government roles for the offices of Congressman Phil Gingrey and Congressman Bob Barr, among others. John also worked for the Republican National Committee and the Oklahoma Republican Party.

John graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and an emphasis in Environmental Science.

Signings, Sponsorships, Deals

— Buck Knives has agreed to a sponsorship deal with Scott Ashmore, a FLW and Major League Fishing professional angler from Broken Arrow, Okla.

— Mammoth Coolers, a leading provider of premium rotomolded coolers, drinkware, and accessories has added Wally Marshall, a.k.a. “Mr. Crappie,” to the Mammoth Coolers team.

Correct Craft has acquired Parker Boats, a 55-year-old company based in Beaufort, N.C. that builds offshore and inshore fishing boats. Correct Craft, with 94 years in business, is based in Florida and includes Nautique, Centurion, Supreme, Bass Cat, Yar-Craft, SeaArk, Parker, Bryant boat companies, Pleasurecraft Marine Engine Group, Watershed Innovation and Aktion Parks.

— Joe Gibbs Racing has entered into an agreement with B.A.S.S. for the organization to serve as an associate sponsor on its No. 19 Toyota Camry driven by Martin Truex Jr.

Major League Fishing will stage its inaugural Bass Pro Tour championship event, "Redcrest," Aug. 19-25 in La Crosse, Wis. on the Upper Mississippi River. It will feature the top 30 anglers who have accumulated the most qualifying points over the course of the BPT's eight-event season. The weekend will include an outdoors expo and other events.

Orvis Continues Free FF101 Schedule

Orvis introduces more than 15,000 new people to fly fishing every year through its free Fly Fishing 101 classes, which can can be found in 43 states and include a free annual membership to Trout Unlimited.

Additionally, for every student who attends an FF101 class in 2019, Orvis will make a $1 donation to Casting for Recovery, a unique organization that provides therapeutic fly-fishing retreats to women with breast cancer.

“At Orvis, we believe fly fishing can have a positive impact on people’s lives, and we want as many folks as possible to have the opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy the sport,” said Tom Rosenbauer, fly-fishing mentor, author, and host of the Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast. “We created FF101 classes to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to come learn to fish. Our hope is that we can help break down the barriers to entry and provide a unique opportunity for families and friends to come together and connect in the outdoors.”

Orvis has hosted schools in the U.S. since the early 1970s. For the 2019 season, classes will be offered from May through July at Orvis retail stores across the country. Students are guaranteed individualized instruction on all the basics, like how to assemble a rod, how to attach the reel, and how to string line through the guides. Students learn the differences between the fly line and the leader, as well as basic types of flies and knots needed for a successful day on the water.

“After the basics are covered in the classroom, we take you outside to get a rod in your hand and start casting right away,” Rosenbauer said. “In FF201 classes, folks have the opportunity to put their new skills to the test, (by) fishing on their local waters.”

The free clinics are held at all Orvis retail locations and many of their authorized dealers. Locations are listed at

Walleye Egg Collection on Muskegon

Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel will continue its program to hatch walleye eggs collected on the Muskegon River below Croton Dam this spring.

Walleye were to have been collected with electrofishing boats between late March and mid-April. The DNR planned to collect approximately 30 million walleye eggs from the Muskegon River this year, resulting in more than 13 million fry for transfer to rearing ponds and direct fry plants throughout the Lower Peninsula. Walleye fry transferred to ponds will be raised to fingerling size (approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches) and stocked in late spring or early summer in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake Michigan and many inland lake walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs. The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is presently about 40,000 to 50,000 fish each year. DNR crews will strip milt (sperm) and eggs from approximately 500 adult fish, which will be returned to the river – except for 60 which will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

"This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish," said Ed Pearce, DNR fisheries technician supervisor who coordinates the egg take. "The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay."

American Baitworks Acquires Southern Lure Company

American Baitworks Co. has acquired Southern Lure Company, one of the pioneering brands in the industry with notable brands including Scum Frog and Bass Rat.

Southern Lure company has more than 30 years of experience designing and developing frogs and other products for topwater fishing.

“We are extremely thankful to Mr. Dan Cunningham and his wife Leisa," said Matt Massey, president of American Baitworks Co." They have been extremely supportive of our vision and we are excited to build upon their hard work and commitment to Southern Lure as they hand over Scum Frog and Bass Rat to our team."

Cunningham will work with American Baitworks on a two-year contract for consulting and new product development.

Through the acquisition of Southern Lure Co., Justin Sward has been named to the role of senior vice president of American Baitworks Co. The company will make significant investments in new product development as well as sales and marketing to introduce the Scum Frog and Bass Rat brands to a new generation of anglers.

Obit: Darrell Lowrance

Darrell J. Lowrance, founder of Lowrance Electronics Inc., died March 16,  2019, at the age of 80. Lowrance brought early technology to recreational fishing with the invention of the first portable sonar “fish finder”—the Fish-Lo-K-Tor—for the average angler.

Lowrance served as president and CEO of Lowrance Electronics from 1964 to 2006 and was responsible for many breakthroughs in marine electronics. In addition to the Fish-Lo-K-Tor (also known as the “Little Green Box”), he led the development of the first graph recorder, the first integrated sonar/GPS unit and many others.

The Lowrance brand, now under the Navico umbrella of companies, was a family business known for community leadership and was a large Tulsa, Okla., employer for many years.

Former ASA President and CEO, Mike Nussman, who worked with Lowrance for many years said, “Darrell was a brilliant entrepreneur who created many products that helped revolutionize recreational fishing. It was a privilege to have known Darrell and worked with him for the betterment of our industry and ASA.”

“The sportfishing industry owes Darrell a debt of gratitude for the decades of time and effort he invested in ensuring the association endured,” said Peter Foley, president of Boone Bait Company, located in Winter Park, Fla., and ASA’s Treasurer Emeritus. “I knew Darrell since the mid-1970s having served on ASA’s Board of Directors with him during some difficult times for the association when he provided wise counsel and sound business advice.”

Lowrance was Chairman of the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturer’s Association – ASA’s predecessor – from 1983-84. He also served as a member of the board of directors for AFTMA from 1978-86, and again in 1988. Lowrance was active in Government Affairs and other committees throughout the 1990s. He was elected to serve on ASA’s board in 2006 and 2007 and was appointed an Ex-officio member in 2008 and 2009. He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2007, ASA awarded Lowrance its Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award the industry bestows on an individual who has shown extraordinary leadership throughout his or her career in promoting the values of sportfishing.


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