The fishing industry is full of dreamers, anglers who want to take our knowledge and skill to the next level. As kids we would sit in front of the television and watch Bassmasters and FLW with excitement. We would run to the mail box and get our hands on the months new fishing magazines and eagerly digest them. This is a passion that we are proud to wear on our selves. Some of us dreamers have the desire to create the next hot fishing lure. They never rest coming up with new baits and patterns to catch our favorite game fish, for them their dream was not to be fishing pros but to have the pros fish their baits. Being a fisherman I started to wonder what makes anglers take that step from fisherman to fishing lure designer.
The story of Bob and Katie Bernotsky the owners of PowerTeam Lures hit home for me, their story started in New Jersey. Today their plastic baits are sold world wide. In just a few years they went from promoting the PowerTeam Lure brand in regional Bass tournaments in and around New Jersey to B.A.S.S and FLW pros fishing their plastics, even television host JP Derose loved the brand so much he joined them and created the JP Hammer Shad and added another awesome plastic to an amazing arsenal of baits. PowerTeam Lures is a prime example of anglers with a dream. It was a dream to make it in the fishing world and to do what their passion is to create lures that are made by fisherman for fisherman. I reached out to Bob and Katie with 14 questions, their 14 answers will give you insight on the business and the dream of Power Team
1. How long have the both of you been fishing & who got you into the sport?
I’ve been fishing since the age of 7 (35 years ago) and Katie’s been fishing since the age of 10. Our dads got us into the sport. I myself have always been a bass fisherman but Katie started off as a trout angler. I quickly converted both her and her father both over to bass one month into our relationship 8 years ago.
2. When did you get the idea to start your own lure business?
The idea came to mind in the summer of 2007 and we spent the next 2 ½ years designing baits before we even launched the company. The official launch of the company was in April of 2010 and it’s been a hell of a ride ever since then.
3. How did you go about promoting it and getting the public’s attention?
I had already been an active member on a local fishing forum in NJ, so it got into the hands of those guys first. Over the course of the two years of the design phase, I would post my catches with them, so there was a good demand for them as soon as they were ready to hit the market. Then three months later the very first trade show we did was Icast in Las Vegas, NV. That helped us introduce the products to the rest of the world.
4. What was it like your first year in the industry?
The first year in the industry is figuring out what to do and what not to do of marketing. Being able to design baits is one thing, being able to market them in an industry flooded with products is another.
5. Did your learn any lessons that you can share with anyone who wants to embark on a tackle industry career?
Sure, make sure you have all your ducks in a row and all your research is done prior to jumping in with both feet. As far as balancing our fishing life and family life, 2+ years later, we’re still trying to figure that one out. As with any new business, you get out of it what you put into it.
6. Who comes up with the ideas for your awesome baits?
I do in the middle of the night. Once I get an idea in my head, I can’t sleep until I get it out on paper. So I just get out of bed, grab a pencil and a micrometer and hit the drawing board.
7. Have any baits you designed worked so well you kept them to your self?
Lol, I would never keep them for myself. As the designer the greatest feeling you can get is bringing new products to life. Nothing beats the feeling I get when somebody emails in sharing their personal experiences, like winning a tournament, catching lunker or their new personal best on our baits. To me, that’s the best part of the business.
8. How important does scent play in a plastic bait?
Not as much as most people think. The two main senses that bass use to hunt down prey is their sight and their lateral line. The idea that some people have that a bass would follow a scent trail and hunt it down like a shark or catfish would, is a misconception. It plays an important role when a bass is nose down on a bait or when it engulfs it. The primary reason why our Hog Tonic formula is so successful, is the specific blend of amino acids combined with the scent, where the scent is secondary. When the bass strike they get a taste of the proteins and that’s why they lock on and try to swallow it, because they think it’s real.
9. When you finish a prototype for a plastic bait, do you test it out?
Of course! That’s one of the most fun parts of prototyping. Getting on different bodies of water, in various conditions and letting the bass tell you what they like.
10. How has PowerTeam been on the Tournament Trail?
It’s been phenomenal! There’s been numerous wins and checks being cashed all throughout the country and Canada on almost a weekly basis.
11. Can you give advise to anglers that want a sponsorship by a tackle company?
Yes definitely. If you’re seeking sponsorship treat it like you’re applying for a job. The amount of requests we get for sponsorship is much more than most people think. If you don’t make yourself stand out, you’ll never get noticed in the pile. Having knowledge and experience of the product prior to asking for sponsorship plays a huge role. There is so much more to sponsorship than sharing a link on FaceBook of the company’s website or wearing a logo on a jersey. You need to put yourself out there and network within the industry, and use and share your knowledge of the products of the company that is sponsoring you.
12. What has been some of your proudest moments this past year?
Of course the tournament wins always put a big smile on our faces. But it was also cool to see our baits and our commercial being aired on the World Fishing Network on the show Getting Schooled with JP DeRose.
13. How has the launch of the new website gone?
The new website has been a huge success. It’s not only more user friendly but more eCommerce friendly. The new platform allows us to give back to our loyal customers and offer Rewards Points as cash back, offer Deals of the Day, where we offer products up to 40% off and an easy one page checkout for convenience.
14. What is next for PowerTeam Lures
Aside from more awesome soft plastics up our sleeves, we’re going to be adding a line of jigs and terminal tackle to our company in 2013.
By Richie Moschella
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