Joe SillsWritten by

Westin Leads the New Scandinavian Tackle Invasion

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[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]laf Ohman climbed to crest of a knoll on his Minnesota farmland in 1898. At it’s center, rising subtly from the wetlands below, was a stunted poplar tree. Wedged between the tree and the earth, he noticed a peculiar sight—a large stone, covered in strange symbols lying face down, tangled in the roots of the tree. It was a rune stone, a relic from a forgotten age when vikings walked his land.

At least, that’s how the story goes. Scholars have debated the authenticity of Ohman’s discovery—the Kingsington Stone—for over a century, but they’ve long agreed that Scandanavians beat Columbus to North America by nearly 500 years.

It’s no mystery, then, that viking lore runs deep in Minnesota, from farmland to football fields. And the latest taste of it rests a two-hour drive from Olaf Ohman’s knoll, at the Thorne Brothers Custom Rod & Tackle store just outside of Minnesota, where one of the hottest lure companies in Denmark is starting to build its own myth.

“Customers see the quality of plastic coming in from the northern Europeans,” says Thorne Brothers tackle buyer John Nelson. “They see that they’re putting more energy into better paint jobs, and they’re building lures with softer plastics that are still durable. For musky guys, that means they’re not going to come apart left and right, they’re not going to get damaged just by casting with heavy weights and heavy rods.”

Nelson says his store began receiving orders from Westin in late December, and though musky season won’t begin until early June, walleye anglers are already honing in on the invaders.

“People are excited to see better paint and better plastics. The walleye guys have already latched on to the 3.5-inch ShadTeez. We think the bass guys will be using the swimbaits this summer.”

The full range of lures comes with childlike names like Tommy the Trout, Danny the Duck, Barry the Bass and Coco the Crab—but it hasn’t taken long for U.S. anglers and dealers to take this new wave of Scandinavian technology seriously, even far from viking territory.

28 hours west of Nelson’s store, in Vacaville, California, Guns, Fishing and Other Stuff fishing manager Glenn Valledor says Northern California anglers have taken notice of Westin.

“We’ve got their gear on a big display for bass swimbaits, and guys have had some really good catches on them. Saltwater guys are using Flat Matt, a flounder-type lure. We’ve only had them in stock for a month or two but they’re selling pretty good.”

Global Outreach

The sudden appearance of Westin products on North American shelves comes thanks to an exclusive distribution agreement with Big Rock Sports, who says dealers from the southeast, northeast and midwest have already joined Nelson and Valledor in stocking a range of Westin baits that are being well-received from coast to coast.

“The majority of our lures are hand-painted,” says Westin Product & Marketing Manager Thomas Sanotra. “They have a really high quality fit and finish that people are eager to get for the price.”

“This will be our fifth year at ICAST,” Sanotra explains. “Every year, we have seen people come by the booth and get excited about high quality products that are priced in a nice part of the market that is not as expensive as the Japanese brands, but still a little above most of the brands in the U.S. This year, we launched a U.S.-specific consumer and trade catalog and a U.S.-specific website, because we realize how important it is to talk about our products in local language.”

Sanotra says Westin is in the midst of a rapid, five-year global expansion that has seen the brand grow not only in Scandinavia, but across most parts of Europe as well.

“Westin is one of the leading brands in Europe,” he says, “but a lot of people may not realize that it originated in 1952, and it was all started by one guy in Sweden who was handcrafting each lure, putting incredible effort into each one. Thankfully, as we’ve grown, we have retained that spirit and dedication.”

Lure Highlights:

Danny the Duck

  • ABS plastic
  • Lead free
  • Japanese-style #1/0 carbon steel hooks
  • Running depth: 1.5-2m
  • Full wire-through-body construction
  • Spare feet included
  • Hand-painted detailed colors

Tommy the Trout

  • Lead-free
  • Japanese-style #1 carbon steel hook
  • Running depth: 1-2m
  • Slide lock easy-to-change connection
  • Life-like lure
  • Full eyelet-to-hook wire construction
  • Hand-painted detailed colors

Barry the Bass

  • ABS plastic
  • Lead free
  • Running depth: 0.5 – 1.5 m
  • Japanese-style # 1 carbon steel hooks
  • Optional eyelets (top: tighter S-Shape action/front: more rolling action)
  • Realistic semi-soft fins
  • Life-like lure
  • Hand-painted detailed colors

HypoTeez ST

  • Optimized flexibility
  • Realistic eyes
  • Life-like lure
  • Easy-action paddle tail
  • Hand-painted detailed colors

How to order: Contact Big Rock Sports to bring the Scandinavian invasion to your store today. You can view the full catalogue of Westin products here.

Joe Sills Hi there, did you know? Each week, we curate a list of the Top 5 stories in fishing and send them right to your inbox. Reading Tackle’s Top 5 is one of the best ways to become or remain an industry expert. -Joe Sills, Digital Editor

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