Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An American Tale of Fishing Industry Success

All American stories don't necessarily start out that way and this one is no exception. Ninety years ago, a young man from Germany came to this country to fulfill his dream and to work hard and prosper.
He accomplished this feat and more, but, like all successful American tales, it took a long arduous time and dedication to his dream and a little good luck to succeed!
Today, we all take the quality of Penn Reels and Rods for granted. Most of us have grown up using these fine products to reel in our weekend prizes. Always good, always dependable, always ready for the biggest "fight" we could find for it, Penn always delivered. No matter what model of rod or reel, nor what age they were when we received them, they would always come through and provide for our expectations, as we expected them to.
With this as a history, we very rarely thought about what a terrific American story our builder of these excellent rods and reels had, but that story has been there for us or any other one of us that would care to explore it. The journey began in 1922 when young 25 year old, Otto Henze arrived in America and found employment.
After ten long years of struggling, working and saving as a machinist for Ocean City Reels Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (naturally), this German immigrant learned and plied his craft to perfection hoping that someday his turn would also come, a chance for his dream of a machine shop of his own to build reels of his own design and his own quality standards.
Finally, that chance took root in 1932. Otto had saved just enough to rent a small machine shop on the third floor of a building on North Third Street, in Philadelphia.
Using that as a beginning, Otto worked harder and using two of his own designs, he started. Suddenly, after creating a reel for surf fishing (the model F) and one general fishing reel (the model K), an auto supply company in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania gave him his initial order.
From that point business for Otto's fitful business took off. Even though this was the heart of the American depression, fishing for the eastern coast was a viable and cheap means of being able to put food on a families table and this also helped to support Otto's company's financial efforts.
Initially, his company only made two types of reels, the F and the K, but made two styles of the model K, one had a star drag wheel (which helped to prevent backlashes) and the other, did not! His company flourished.
Many reels were soon to follow, but none more popular and famous than the 1936 creation of the "Penn Senator", a reel created to catch just about any fish in the ocean and a favorite of most boat captains that are frequent tournament winners!
As many of our American stories go, there are many "glitches" that have led to their success and Penn Rods and Reels are no exception. In 1948, Otto died suddenly, but as good fortune and this American story would have it our story takes a turn for the better, his wife, Martha was there to take over!
Up til this point, Otto's company, while having a sterling reputation for quality and substance was only regionally known and sold, but Martha had bigger fish to fry (pardon the pun)! Through her stubborn, decisive and quality leadership Penn Reels, took on a national and world-wide market and succeeded.
In the coming few years, Penn, having been asked countless times by their customers, started designing and building rods of the same substance and quality and style as their reels. It didn't take long till their public took notice of this and Penn quickly became just as famous for their rods as their reels!
Following Martha's management/ownership tenure till the present, this successful, American company has been bought and sold several times to various companies, but still maintains a quality reputation.
Currently, it is owned by K-2 Incorporated, since 2007 and holds a startling record of over 1400 saltwater fishing records, according to the IGFA (International Game Fishing Association).
This was a truly American tale, an immigrant coming to America filled with hopes and dreams of an abundant life, full of promise. A German came and morphed into his idea of America by trying to achieve his dream, or vision of America and in that fulfillment it became an American Brand that is today's juggarnaut in a uniquely American industry and more to the point a dream that you and I and many other may share in whenever we participate in our "weekend adventures" on the water!
Go Get 'em!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Do Not Miss Saltwater Boating Opportunity

Have you ever been taken to a candystore as a child? You know that enthusiasm that rises up in your every cell, that excitement that can't be contained, that is the exact same feeling I get as I drive down to Miami, in the middle of February and know I am in transit to the finest, best and most audacious power-boatshow on the planet!
There you are driving down that ribbon of highway, known as I-95 south and the palpitations start at about the Hollywood exit, cruising at a nominal rate of speed, you are nearing your playground, only a few more miles to your destination.
A few miles, to be sure, but it will seem like another hundred hours before your knotted stomach can again calm down and your thirst satisfied by the viewing of the most variety of powerboats, one can hope to lay eyes on. Even Disneyworld doesn't hold this much anxiety for me (but it is a close second)!
Overall, there are three venues, in which to enjoy your preview of Florida's largest boatshow, they are: Miami Convention Center, Miamarina at Bayside and Sea Isle Marina, while The Convention Center and Sea Island are particularly for Power-boats, they have positioned Bayside as it's pre-emminent sail-boat showcase.
Featuring over three thousand boats and having more than two thousand vendors, exhibiting, it makes Miami one of the largest boatshows in the world and certainly the largest in Florida.
In the recent past, Miami's Boatshow was reserved for saltwater crafts of all stripes, however this year will introduce diving and diving/boating travel excursion vendors as a new category, they even will have a heated pool for people to try out their diving gear for sale.
The goods for participation, or viewing are always fun and varied, not only do they have all the varieties of watercraft, but also seminars and classes to learn about watercraft/diving and various saltwater tackle available there at the shows.
It's like Barnum and Bailey, Baskin Robbins and DisneyLand all rolled up in one. Everyone in the entire family will enjoy it and if not, I'd start worrying about my family! The circus is coming to town and that circus of fun-filled saltwater, watercraft extravaganza is gonna be in Miami this coming February 14th-18th, 2013 and most every February after that.
It's second only, in boat stuff, in Florida, to the Christmas "boat parade" each December, in Fort Lauderdale for extravagance and excitement.
Go Get 'um!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lake Trout Fishing in Montana's Flathead Lake, The Largest Natural Freshwater Lake in the West!

Flathead Lake Lake Trout fishing in May is not for the faint of heart! On the largest, natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, weather changes occur rapidly, and along with making it hard to stay warm enough, or cool enough, it makes the fish turn on and off like light switches.
I have been hearing from many anglers that say they are struggling to even catch a lake trout, and truth be told, I have had a couple of those days myself! When 8 boats turn in 14 fish on a Mack Days Saturday...that's a major indicator that we all need to re think what we are doing. There are a few things you can do to help increase your chances of success.
Remember, unlike other lakes in the west that have Lake Trout, Flathead Lake does NOT have Kokanee Salmon, a major food source for Lakers. You must fish this lake different from all the rest, especially when trolling, as lakers feed on the bottom, not on the surface here.
Also, Flathead Lakes lake trout hate a crashing barometer. Small changes they tolerate OK, but big swings turn them off, right now. Stay on the fish, downsize and slow down your offerings. When and if the pressure starts to swing back up, like when the sky clears, then you are there ready for them.
Undoubtedly, when fish are neutral or negative...small offerings, like flies, small spoons, small tubes or hoochies will be your friend. A small dodger or flasher, even using a large spoon with the hook removed as a flasher is the right way to go. Watch your scent; don't give an already disinterested fish any more opportunity to ignore you.
Make your set back from the attractor to the lure a little longer, adding 6-10" can make that lure slow down enough to allow the fish to react without much effort. If you are using Yakima Bait Company Flatfish lures, consider downsizing to a T4 or U20 size. And slow it down. 1 mph is about right. If using hoochies or flies with Gold Star/Silver Horde dodgers and flashers go 0/0 or even 000.
Put it in their face. Know how far below the downrigger ball your baits swim, and adjust your depth accordingly. They aren't going to chase it when in these moods. A 50 KHz transducer gives you the wide angle you need to see your baits and downrigger balls on your sonar, and when tuned right you can track the ball as it drops, then watch that bait settle into its path. Know where that bait is.
Montanas Flathead Lake is muddy in May. The wind is coming from a different direction almost daily, spreading that mud line East-West some day's and North-South others. The schools of bait fish, Northern Pike Minnow (squaw fish) and Whitefish are on the move daily, and the Lake Trout (Mackinaw) are too. Find the clearer water, slow things down, use more muted colors and up your odds considerably.