Lakecaster Online

OUTDOORS WITH KEITH WARREN

Fishing professionals attend retail store promotions in order to sell products. From rods and reels to anchors and rope. Our job is to generate business while in the store and hopefully make some money. But this would be the first store promotion in fifteen years that would actually cost me money. Here's how. It had been a pretty good in store promotion with quite a bit of traffic. Fortunately the weather had been just bad enough to keep fishermen off the water but not out of the store. I had been there for eight hours and had heard just about every fishing story imaginable. But it wouldn't be a fishing promotion without lots of stories. Working such promotions is a lot of fun. You get the opportunity to meet lots of people and hear lots of unusual fishing techniques. But it is also a lot of work. There's more to working one of these things than meets the eye. The store was a new Academy Sports & Outdoors located on the south side of Houston. About a dozen fishing professionals were also in attendance. It had been advertised on radio and in the newspaper that weíd be there. Many customers drove long distances in spite of the bad weather to visit with their favorite fishing personality and get some first hand fishing tips. I am impressed that the average fisherman out there values what these professionals have to say. After answering questions nonstop all day long, I was ready to get out the door and head for home. Glancing at my watch I knew I would be on my way in only ten minutes and I was happy. Then I heard my name called over the store speaker system that I had a phone call. It always worries me to receive an unexpected call. Immediately from the voice I knew several things. It was not someone I knew and it must be a young boy. "Mr. Warren, I know you are probably fixing to leave but I have been trying to come see you all day long. My name is Eugene Mills and my Papa is bringing me down there right now and I gotta to see you," said the young voice on the other end of the line. "We can be there in twenty minutes. Will you please wait"? Although I wanted to leave as scheduled, I agreed to stick around and see what was so important. I watched the front door waiting for them to show up. Through the glass store front I saw them coming. I knew it must have been them. The expression on the boys face resembled my Labrador's expression when he knows we are fixing to have some fun. They walked in and introduced themselves. The old man didn't say much. Only that he didn't fish very much. But Eugene talked up a storm. I guessed him to be about nine years old. He handed me an unusual shaped small block of wood and said "Mr. Warren, you owe me a hundred bucks and I'm here to collect it". Needless to say, I was stunned. "For what"? I asked. Eugene then went on to tell me why. He told me that about a half year ago he read an article that I had written on fishing hooks. In this article I had compared several of the new super sharp hooks on the market and had found Mustadís Ultra point hook to be by far the best one out there for several reasons. These new Ultra Point hooks come in lots of different shapes and sizes for virtually all kinds of fishing applications. They feature light wire but theyíre surprisingly strong and virtually impossible to bend while fishing. But the most impressive feature is the fact that you simply cannot bend the point of the hook over no matter how you try. Other fishing hooks on the market are equally sharp. But the problem with them is that the angler constantly has to battle with the points dulling. Not the case with Ultra Points hooks by Mustad. In the column that young Eugene was referring to, I had written that if some one could bend the point of an Ultra point hook over on a piece of wood, I would pay them a hundred dollars. I had tried it and couldn't do it. I had given this challenge to thousands of folks that have attended some of my fishing seminars over the past year and none of them could roll the point of the hook over. So how could this kid do it? It didn't take long for me to fall for this young angler. His enthusiasm was contagious and you could tell he knew far more about fishing than lots of adults. "I have been trying to bend the point of this hook over on this piece of wood for a long time and finally did it" he said. The scratched up piece of wood showed thousands of deep scratches and his hook did have a rolled over point. I was impressed. I took Eugene to the section of the store where with the new hooks and took one an Ultra Point hook out of the package and asked for him to show me how he did it. Suddenly this kids attitude changed and his Papa gave him a look that obviously said I told you so. "Mr. Warren, I really didnít bend the point of the hook on the wood. I couldn't do it. I tried. But I love to fish and I wanted a new fishing rod and thought that maybe I could make enough money by doing this to buy me one," he said with a guilty conscience. I smiled and couldn't help but see a lot of me in this kid. He loved to fish and wanted to do so in a bad way. "I didnít think that it would work and I didn't lie", he said. So I asked him to explain how it wasn't a lie. That's when he fessed up and told me he had bent the point of the hook holding it with a pair of pliers against the driveway. But he went on to say that if he got caught not telling the truth he just would say that it was a fishing story. I have to admit that he was stretching it for a fishing story. But we made a deal. I told him "you give me that piece of wood and I will give you one of my rods and reels". We went outside to my boat and I pulled a short rod and reel outfit out of my rod box and we made the swap. A glance at my watch told me I was running an hour late and I had to get on the road. "Before you leave, do you have any of those Ultra Point hooks", he asked and I smiled as I gave him a package of them. This kid was a pretty good salesman. In less than an hour he had made off with some pretty good gear. But that was all right with me. Then he told me how he gets so many lures. He challenges fishermen to try to roll over the point of one of these new hooks. If they can't do it, he gets to pick a lure from their tackle box. So far, he hasn't had one angler bend the hook and he has a lot of great lures. Now the piece of wood sits on the bench in my garage and it is a constant reminder of Eugene. I hope that he'll call me when he grows up. I'm always looking for a good salesman. Keith Warren is the host of Fishing & Outdoor Adventures along with Hunting & Outdoor Adventures, both of which broadcast nationwide! Catch Fishing & Outdoor Adventures from January through June and Hunting & Outdoor Adventures July through December on Fox Sports Net at 6:00 a.m. Fridays in all time zones. Check our website for broadcast and The Outdoor Channel air times. You can write to us at P.O. Box 310601, New Braunfels, Texas 78131-0601, or visit us online at www.fishingandoutdoor.com.

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