Forestville, WI – The fishing industry has a select group of folks that “everybody knows”. Rather Outdoors Mark Copley is one of them. Just visit the Rather Outdoors booth at ICAST. Copley is swarmed with media, pros, and upstarts who want to be on the inside looking out.
His fishing industry journey began 17-years ago with Strike King, in August of 2007, when Copley was tapped to produce television’s Strike King’s Pro Team Journal, which airs to this day under the title Pro Team Journal, and folds in Rather’s family brands Lew’s and Strike King. In his production capacity, Copley managed three unique television shows, including a program dedicated to Academy Outdoors.
Copley climbed the corporate ladder at Strike King, and was named Marketing Manager in 2011, a position he held until 2018 when Strike King was sold to Peak Rock Investments, who also had purchased Lew’s and Hunters Specialties, eventually leading to the formation of Rather Outdoors and piling up of several other fishing brands, to include Mr. Crappie, Salmo, and others. In 2019, Copley became Director of Pro Staff and Media Relations for all the North American brands. And in 2020, he added the assignment of Tradeshow Manager, which he maintains with proficiency to this day.
Introduction to NPAA
Strike King stormed the walleye market in 2016. With decades of momentum in the bass fishing market, Copley knew Strike King needed new weaponry to make a mark with walleye anglers. That’s when he met Pat…Pat Neu, President of NPAA.
“I really got to know Pat, and appreciated all NPAA was doing for the walleye market,” said Copley. “So, in 2016, Strike King joined as a Silver Partner. It was a real no-brainer for us.”
“Mark immediately saw the value in aligning their brands with an organization that was working to help angler influencers become better at promoting themselves, the sport and their sponsors products on and off the water,” said Neu.
Copley continued: “NPAA is all about getting product in the right hands – the individual members. These guys and gals aren’t your everyday anglers – they make a living from fishing and are very influential. There’s no better way for a company to get products used by anglers of influence.”
“It’s a win-win for us. We utilize a channel to sell our products at a discount to fishing professionals, and they get a deal just by being an NPAA member. Think about it. If a guide or tournament angler had to pay full price all the time, running a profitable business would be nearly impossible.”
NPAA is also able to distribute Rather Outdoors’ content. “With NPAA’s weekly NewsBLAST and other member communications, we can share product and company news instantly, and with the right people,” said Copley.
Copley came in with walleyes on the brain, but quickly realized NPAA’s multispecies reach. “I know NPAA started as a group of professional walleye anglers, but it’s become so much more. Members include professional bass anglers, saltwater guides, muskie and ice fishing maniacs, and about every category of professional angler out there.”
“Companies are missing sales and not connecting with legitimate influencers if they don’t support NPAA. And for the individual pros and student anglers out there, if you’re not a member, you’re passing up on amazing deals from some of fishing’s biggest brands. $100 a year for a Pro and $50 for Student Anglers. Seriously? That’s a steal…” concluded Copley.
Neu adds, “The partnership that the NPAA has developed with the team at Rather Outdoors is one of many meaningful and long-term partnerships that the NPAA has established. We rarely lose a partner, and our exceptionally large list of partners continues to grow because the value of a partnership with NPAA is one of the best marketing spends in the industry. We thank all our partners for their support and look forward to continuing to develop more long-term partnerships within the industry.”
The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) is a non-profit, member-based association dedicated to sportfishing. The NPAA’s membership is composed of professional guides, tournament anglers, angler educators and sportfishing/marine industry professionals who are passionate about the sport. For more NPAA partner, member and industry news, go to www.npaa.net .