In many parts of America, you don’t start fishing without them. For nearly 60 years, they’ve provided the launch pad to millions of young anglers around the country—bait containers, crawler boxes and styrofoam buckets—and for five decades, they’ve sat quietly on the shelf, a simple, solid product line steadily rolling out the tackle shop door. But the times, they are a-changin’.
You knew them as Plastilite … if you knew them at all. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company that manufactured the trusty, foam bait containers and terminal tackle accessories are ubiquitous with summertime trips to the pond. Their products have been a tackle store staple for generations, but a few months ago, Plastilite launched an all-new brand that’s already sending shockwaves from the pond to the coastlines.
It’s called rebelFIN, and it’s a complete modernization of the time-tested Plastilite name tag. The bait containers are back. They’re not going anywhere. But under the rebelFIN name, Plastilite is expanding their product offerings to bring in new customers.
“We’ve been around for 50 or 60 years,” says rebelFIN Director of Marketing Barry Kriha. “A lot of people may not have known our company, but they’ve used our products.”
Now, rebelFIN wants to make themselves known.
It’s estimated that 50 million anglers hit U.S. waters every year, and some 25 million of those won’t pick up a rod again the next year. Fortunately, they’ll be replaced by a fresh 25 million in a rotating game of fishing musical chairs. It’s those new anglers that Kriha says rebelFIN is gearing up to cater to each and every fishing season.
“It’s the guy in the suit, the CEO that hasn’t fished in 30 years and he just wants to do something different with his grandkids,” says Kriha. Catering to that customer, Kriha says, entailed expanding the old Plastilite product line of buckets and bobbers into the full-fledged, modern brand that debuted at ICAST this year. “RebelFIN just felt right,” he adds. “Our graphic artist just nailed it with the logo, and once we looked at it, we said, ‘Yeah. That’s it.'”
The result is an edgy, catchy brand that retailers and distributors have a new excitement about carrying. Distributors like Big Rock Sports and Sports Specialists are offering RebelFIN’s improved line of foam containers, as well as an all-new line of cricket cages to customers who want a quality bait container.
“We want to branch out into new categories,” Kriha adds. “Traditionally, we’ve always been a bucket and bobber company, and that’s always going to be a focal point for us. We’re the primary minnow bucket supplier in the United States, but we want to add more products that end users are looking for.”
“The cricket cages are new,” says rebelFIN Director of Sales Randy Chalupa. “The 6×6-inch reach-in cricket cage is our primary unit. We’ve sent samples out to all of our distributors, and we’re 100-percent confident that our quality is as good or better than anyone else out there. They’re made with coated mesh wire, and they’re glued—not stapled—so there are no sharp edges on them.”
Chalupa says rebelFIN aims to solve supply problems in the cricket cage market. “Right now, people are taking delivery on items they ordered from other manufacturers last September. We’re going to be 100-percent in stock during the fishing season … deliveries guaranteed.”
Cricket cages, bait containers, minnow buckets—they’re all simple products. And while they may lack some of the flash and flair associated with the latest new hard bait or rod and reel combo, an awful lot of people never go fishing without them.
The saying is true. In many parts of America, you don’t start fishing without them. Now, rebelFIN hopes to bring in a new following of anglers who never stop.