Thursday, October 9, 2014
Men and stuff
Back in the early days of Hells Bay Boatworks while laying on my bed in a hotel room in Atlanta Gerogia in the early morning hours, watching tv I got an idea. I was in this hotel room at 6:00 in the morning wide awake killing time flipping channels waiting to go sell our boats and ideas at the Mark Castlow Shallow water fly fishing and boat show.
These boat show fishing tackle meet the celbrity shows were lots of fun,and a lot of work for me.
I'am not a fishing fanatic like most everybody that comes to these show and buys my boats.
I have worked in and out of this industry for 34 plus years in a world of fishing rods, gear , skiffs and people that I can relate to but look at from an outside view. I have never felt the need to build my own flats skiff, tie my own flies, get up every waking chance to try and catch fish. I have in my younger days really enjoyed sight fishing in my dinghys, never liked trolling or bait fishing. But I do enjoy fishing when I fish. And I like to fish to catch, and to catch to eat. So.. I do fish.
Watching that morning a fishing show with a couple of guys catching Strippers up north in some basic skiff I noticed that they were using Tibor Everglades fly reels and the two of them were just going on about how they loved these reels. I had meet Ted Jurasick when he had come to us to buy one of our early Whiprays. I really liked his straight way of talking, to the point. He made these reels as a hobby business but being Ted it was a good money making business. His reels were beautiful and really worked well. These two guys were goggo over them.
At the boat shows I met a lot of guys that had over a hundred rod sets in their garages. They bought them slowly so I guess the wives would not notice the $100,000.00 in tackle sitting there .
Lots of guys wanted to buy our boats, they were expensive, most came to the shows to talk to us,get the latest news and would order a skiff a month or so later. At a Castlow show I would be talking non stop for ten hours.
My idea was this ; what if at these shows I could have a Tibor reel in my hand worth at that time retail
$540.00 and just say to anyone that walked up , hey buy a boat and get this reel for FREE !
Hal liked this idea. We went to Ted to see how much or how little he could sell them to us.
Ted liked the idea too. He said he wanted a Guide skiff so would trade them. His price to us for each reel would be $320.00 . To make the reels unique he would machine red handles, and all the parts that were normally black plastic would now be in aluminum like the rest of the reel. To top it off he would engrave our company name and the name of each skiff bought and it's hull number. We received if I remember right about 86 reels for the skiff we built him.
At the next show I sold 4 boats with the guy explaining to his wife , "look I got this reel for free and all I had to do was buy this skiff."Guys loved this sales ploy. I say guys here as we only sold a few boats to women.
About three months later we ended up in a marketing deal with Orvis . They approached us wanting to have an Orvis boat available in their catalog. They printed 15 million catalogs a year. They liked our company and boat so much they wanted to be associated with it. They would pay for the photo shoot,
Put our name and phone numbers in a full page ad and all boat sales would go to us. All they wanted was a dark green HBBWs skiff with the Orvis logo on the side. They also would fill our boat up with Orvis fly rods and reels at all the boat shows we went to. The three of us would be put on the Orvis guide plan so could buy their stuff way below cost.
Flip did not like Orvis gear so much. Hal was not a past fan. We recived a bunch of new fly rods which Hal tried out. He said they had gotten their act together . I thought that a company as big and as long lasting as Orvis that was wanting to be associated with us was great. We made the deal.
We never sold an Orvis boat.
But tons of averge guys that could afford Orvis stuff came by and were very happy to see us with them.
After this Teds reels were out. Ted understood. 26 of the 86 reels went with boats.
Keep a look out for them. If you have one send me a photo.