Today is one of the days of the year when I really try to reflect on the year and everything that I have to be thankful for. I am thankful for the support I have received personally as a fisherman and for everyone's support for my business this year. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my customers and the retail stores that have given me the opportunity to make my products available to you guys:
Oak Ridge Marina (Lake Fork) - Barry and Tracy have been great people to work with for the last few years. They carry my weights and bladed jigs. In addition to having a great restaurant, they have a fully stocked tackle store with some things I haven't seen anywhere else around Lake Fork. And their prices are very competitive!
Minnow Bucket Marina and Star Mart (Lake Fork) - Tony and Frankie have been great supporters of my business since the beginning. The Minnow Bucket was the first store to carry my products, and Tony has been a great person to talk to and bounce ideas off of over the years. I've almost met a lot of great people coming through the store.
Lake Fork Trophy Lures (Lake Fork - Emory) - After receiving customer feedback and personally testing my bladed jigs this Spring, Mr. Parker began carrying my bladed jigs and weights in his store. In addition to my full line-up, Mr. Parker has personally worked with me to develop a group of exclusive LFT colors that you won't find for sale on my website or in any other store. Mr. Parker and Kevin Sharp have helped many many fisherman realize the difference in the action of my bladed jigs versus the competition, especially when paired with a matching LFT trailer.
Lake Fork Resort and Pope's Landing (Lake Fork) - Pope's Landing owner (James) was kind enough to give my products a try this Spring. When Ernie Dye took over as the manager of the tackle section at Lake Fork Resort, I received a call. I've known Ernie for a few years, and I'm thankful that he is willing to give fishermen that visit the West side of Lake Fork an opportunity to use relI able products for those giant Lake Fork bass.
Fun N' Sun (Hurst, TX) - Linus (Tanner) and Monte were one of the first stores to give my products a shot. When we released The Lunker Thumper, Fun N' Sun was one of the first places I heard from. They have every color of The Lunker Thumper in stock and are the only store that I've agreed to put my jigs in.
Stores in other states - I've had a few opportunities to meet with store owners in other states. I'll be shipping products to a few stores in other states in 2016.
If you own a store, please feel free to give me a call or an e-mail. I will appreciate the opportunity to help you give your customers affordable, custom quality baits and weights with the best components available.
Personal thanks. Wow, I really hope I don't forget anyone here. I've encountered so many situations this year where people or places did something for which I am grateful.
Rockwall Marine - After a month of having my boat at a place on Lake Fork with no results and an attempt to charge me for something that should have been covered by warranty or insurance, I called Tommy at Rockwall Marine. Tommy and his team agreed to take a look at my boat and my whole experience there was great. Mind you, this was around Labor Day and there were a bunch of September tournaments coming up. I had my boat back and running within 2 weeks.
LFT Lures, Shimano, G. Loomis, Prowler Lures and Renegade Marine (Kentucky), River2Sea, Power Pro, Oak Ridge Marina (again), Mister Twister - All of these companies put reliable products in my hands that helped me have a great year on the water. I didn't have the greatest year in tournaments, but I always felt like I had opportunities to catch fish and the equipment I used never failed me. It's a huge relief and confidence builder when you are using products you are confident in.
High school kids, Fork Guide Richie White, James Williams, Kevin Sharp, Ryan Williams (Provoke Baits), Jeff Eppinette, Doug Gibbons, Mark Pack and all of the BASS Opens Pros that I met and who gave me the opportunity to learn from them and spend a day in THEIR boats and catch fish with them - All of these guys deserve a special mention of gratitude for their actions this year. I really appreciate the opportunity that I had to learn something new about fishing or myself from these guys. I spent a day or more in the boat with several of them. Some of them gave me a place to stay (I used to sleep in my truck at every tournament, but that is getting harder to do). The High School fishing experience has been great for me. It's fun to see the excitement that our youth has about the sport. I had the privilege of netting the biggest fish caught in the history of the Lake Fork Open High School scholarship tournament, and that was one of the most exciting moments I've experienced in fishing. I appreciate that Bryan Davis (USAFT) and Mike (can't remember his last name) made a special trip to the scales that July morning to make sure we took the best care we could for that 9 pound over the kids caught.
Again, I feel like I have so much to be thankful for and just wanted to share it with the TFF community.