Pulled back into the driveway right around 10:30 PM Saturday night after an 12 hour drive back from Rogers, Minnesota, the location of Clam Outdoors headquarters. It was good to see old friends from the early ice tournament days that helped ignite the ice fishing revolution by constantly suggesting new improvements in the gear that leapfrogged the competition by years in development. It’s hard to believe sometimes that I have been a member of the Ice Team and Clam staff for my 16th year, and to see the wonderment in the eyes of the new staff members, which is probably the same sense of awe I had when I walked out onto the ice for my first Trap Attack tournament.
Spent an amazing two full days in Rogers, and during those days we visited the headquarters of Vexilar Marine Electronics, Inc. (those that know, just say Vex) and did a walk through of Clam’s HQ on Thursday. That night we had a really great meet and greet for all the staffers which was hosted by the owner of Clam. On Friday, I went in early for the Ice Team portion of the day. We talked about the development of the team, and although I wish it was possible to tell you, we had a sneak peek of potential new products for the 2017-2018 season. In the afternoon we were joined by the group of Clam Pro Staff members and we filled our section of the warehouse with close to 350 people.
The highlight of the day is always centered around seeing and talking to old friends and meeting new ones. Whether they work directly for Clam, old angling buddies or new product affiliations that have come on board. Was proud to see Jiffy Augers join the team this year, as I am coming up on my fourth year working with this great ice company out of Wisconsin. Naturally though, it was pretty exciting to see all the new gear available this year, as well as picking up our orders for the upcoming season.
I ventured into the hub market this year by purchasing the Clam/Jason Mitchell 5000 Thermal Hub. Of course I had walleye in mind when looking through the catalog and seeing this fully thermal shack that has 9 foot across in any direction, of fishing space inside its walls. For myself, I am seeing two purposes for using the JM 5000. I like lots of room when walleye fishing on Lake Erie, so when I want to walk out when the fishing is close to shore, in the sled it goes with some minimal gear. When fishing on the Ohio side where we might travel a lot of distance, will strap it inside my Voyager and use it as a cook shack for our mid-day meals. Either way, will be out of the wind and cold inside a heated environment.
The hub was a breeze to set up by myself, and of course I already started to lay some gear out inside to see what the best way to fish would be with the available space. On my list from last Friday included the Clam folding cooler chair and some gallon buckets. Already had the round pack table, and insulated Clam bucket for my minnows. Naturally I had to lay out one of my Vexilar FLX-28 flashers to see where my holes would go.
Although the grass is green, hoping it won’t be long before it is sitting on the ice soon, maybe within a couple of months! The hub wasn’t the only thing on my list, but for now this peek will have to do, but wait to you see the new line of suits, which have been totally revamped for this season! Some other tools of the trade too, but lets wait until my last walleye tournament of the season at the end of this month. Until then, its time to start pouring some jigs!