Short Strikes No. 1

The man in the white helmet spun aimlessly above the Earth. A live-stream beamed his image down in high definition to a screen on a phone in my hand. I watched this floating star man in awe for a half hour, then rolled over and went to sleep. Welcome to the future.

The future is self-landing, reusable rockets. It’s the most powerful rocket ever devised launched from the same Florida launch pad that sent Apollo astronauts to the moon, and it’s a mannequin in a space suit listening to David Bowie with the top down for as long as the car’s speakers last in the black vacuum of space.

And, it’s watching it all not from a TV screen in the family living room surrounded by loved ones, but from a phone that fits in the palm of your hand.

I thought about that last part for a while before finally falling asleep earlier this week. As Elon Musk’s Tesla hurdled towards the asteroid belt, I was left thinking about the future, of space. “I told him I couldn’t understand what the astronauts were saying,” recalled my mother. Her father, who helped design the communications system for Mercury and Apollo in the 1960s simply looked at her and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll fix it.”

By the time Apollo 8 was transmitting the first images of the Earth rising over the moon in 1968, Grandpa had held true to his word and helped change the way humans view our world forever. A tiny medallion in my parents’ home office marks the achievement, and earlier this week Earth’s newest space man was floating far, far above it.

Musk’s move made headlines across the world as a rare bright spot in tumultuous times, a brilliant marketing move and a reminder that every once in a while we need to readjust our perspective.

That’s how we arrive here, to Short Strikes — a regular pick-and-pop column from Fishing Tackle Retailer, hosted by myself, which will seek to deliver quickly consumable news from the worlds of business and fishing and fishing business. Some of those topics may ask you to readjust your view of the fishing tackle industry or the world of business at large. This week, we start with Short Strikes Vol. 1.

Commencing countdown, engines on….

Could Pure Fishing be sold in 2018?

Speculation abounds as Wall Street analysts keep an eye on Pure Fishing owner Newell Brands. In late January, a founder of former Pure Fishing parent company Jarden Corp., Martin Franklin attempted to wrest control of Newell’s board of directors after a more than 20 percent drop in the company’s stock. The drop came after Newell announced plans to sell several iconic brands under its massive 54,000 employee umbrella, including Rawlings, Rubbermaid and Goody hair products. A St. Louis Dispatch report expects Rawlings to fetch around $360 million, while the other brands could garner price tags in the billions.

Newell Brands has owned Pure Fishing since 2015, when an $18 billion deal with Jarden Corp. was made for the overseer of iconic fishing brands like Shakespeare, Berkley, PENN, Abu Garcia and more.

While the rumor mill doesn’t appear red-hot for a Pure Fishing sale (we’d rate it at a 4/10), the impact of these brands on the fishing industry warrants keeping a close eye on Newell.

Who could buy Pure Fishing?

The list of fishing companies that could buy Pure Fishing or some of its companies is short. Normark/Rapala, Shimano, Peak Rock Equity, PRADCO, Bass Pro Shops, and Zebco/Quantum would certainly all qualify. Asked whether they’d have interest in Pure Fishing’s portfolio, an anonymous Zebco/Quantum representative told FTR, “Sure. There are a few brands that are very complimentary to ours and others that take us to categories we currently do not play in.”

The strike

Franklin walked out of the Newell Brands board of directors meeting and resigned, but he didn’t act alone. Franklin took along former Jarden executive and fellow Newell director Ian Ashken. Together, the two hold the keys to a new $1.25 billion acquisition vehicle, J2 Acquisition Ltd., that has yet to formalize any plans.

Franklin was reportedly upset with the strategic direction of Newell after the company fell short of financial forecasts following its acquisition of Jarden.

Garmin and Navico end sonar wars

Relief. That’s the vibe coming from both Navico and Garmin offices this week as the companies end a three-year legal battle over patent issues. This week’s news release, though brief, signals a truce in a confusing series of legal battles and disputes over transducer and software technology that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars awarded, un-rewarded, and re-rewarded to both Garmin and Navico in multiple courts across Europe and North America.

Along with cash payments, court orders had at times placed import bans on Garmin products. Those bans were variously reversed or engineered around.

The strike

In October, Garmin acquired marine mapping giant Navionics—a company who just happens to lease technology to Navico (along with Humminbird and Raymarine). Company officials are mum on the impact of that acquisition on the ongoing patent disputes, but it seems that for now both businesses have reached a compromise.

“We’re happy with this result,” said Garmin Media Relations Manager Carly Hysell. “The resolution is good for everyone, and it allows us to focus on bringing even more innovation to our customers.”

Navico declined comment.

Management layoffs at Cabela’s

Management layoffs at Cabela’s stores are being reported this week, months after finalizing a merger with Bass Pro Shops. In Bristol, Virginia, seven managers were sent packing. Across the Old Dominion in Richmond, reports of “staff adjustment” from a separate Cabela’s store made their way to local news. Bass Pro Shops says Cabela’s stores will see their overall staff sizes increase.

The strike: The layoffs appear to be centered around marketing managers and asset protection managers. According to, an average marketing manager at Cabela’s earns about $70K per year, while asset protection managers earn a base salary of $52K. Sales associates, cashiers and warehouse employees bring in about $10 per hour.

Bass Pro Shops has not yet responded to FTR requests for comment.

The closer

We leave you with David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which Elon Musks says is belting through our solar system from a tiny red roadster at this very moment. “Any other payload,” he said, “would be boring.”