Recently, Trey Kistler, president of Kistler Rods, took a trip to Mexico to hunt some of the legendary largemouth of Mexico. Trey was accompanied by Derek Yamamoto (of Kinami Baits), and Kistler Pro Staff members Steve Kennedy and Scott Martin.
The trip had many goals. First, the four fishermen were tourists in search of some Mexican largemouths. Secondly, the same four gentlemen were promoting their sport and their fishing products. Finally, they conducted bass fishing seminars to promote their products and to teach some very eager students about bass fishing.
According to Trey Kistler, "The sport is growing at a high rate in Mexico". Kistler also stated that "Faster than anyone realizes, you see 40 year old men who have been fishing six months, with four hundred dollar rods, and reels, as well as, top of the line bass boats. It’s exciting fishing down there and the bass grow big. On top of that, there are many lakes that we’ve never heard of, lakes other than Huites, El Salto, Guerro, and Sugar."
While a few African and European countries have shown some interest in bass fishing, none has proven itself as the biggest to the United State’s bass fishing market. Kistler thinks that there is potential for Mexico to claim the title as the number one buyer of the USA’s bass fishing products.
Kistler has been exporting rods to Mexico for the past four years. Trey Kistler has found that the fishermen of Mexico to be very serious about their fishing equipment. "When I got my first email from Mexico, it was from a guy who wanted to be a distributor, I laughed. I thought there was no way it was real. I told him to send cash or wire the money. He sent an order for 50 rods, paid for them, and then he requested 24 more rods a month later. I went down six or nine months later and saw how popular the sport was becoming".
Fishing has become so popular in Mexico, that they now have Triton, Ranger, Legend, and Nitro dealers. Kistler was not aware that they had dealerships in Mexico.
Not only do the fishermen of Mexico hunger for the best equipment and boats, but they are eager to learn the latest techniques. They were sure to learn from the four guys who were there to share their knowledge of the sport. "They have Bassmaster Magazine, the TV shows, and the websites" said Kistler. "It shows the power of the internet. They can order Basstrix online, just like someone in the United States."
Kistler’s distributor has an instructional television program, but the 200 that came to the seminar that Kistler sponsored, were eager to see the American fishermen and ask them all of their questions. "They were like a kid in the candy store" said Kistler.
Scott Martin’s seminar was on football head jig fishing and Kennedy talked about big swimbaits. Both anglers fielded questions from the audience.
In addition to spreading the word about Kistler Rods, the trip allowed the Kistler team to test some of their new product line. Kistler has developed the "Cuchillo Special", a double extra-heavy rod.
Kistler noted that most Mexican anglers preferred short rods in the six to six and a half foot range. He has been trying to convince the south of the border anglers that a seven or seven and a half extra heavy rod will allow them to land the six to nine pound bass that often overpower them, when using the shorter rods.
Also, Kistler seeks out opportunities to increase awareness of his brand. "They’ve been unbelievably loyal to us because we were the first U.S. rod company to come down there and sponsor teams. They fish as teams only, not as individuals. Of the top 20 anglers in Mexico, eight of them are on our pro staff."
Trey believes that the Mexican tournament scene will develop as it has in Japan. Kistler also sponsors a fisherman who guides on Falcon. He says "that the guide speaks English well and is available to help any American who wants to fish inside Mexico without any problem".
Kistler is quite pleased about the way that the Mexican government has begun to change its approach to fisheries management. They have realized that if they catch and release the bass that they can make more money having people catch and release the bass that were once caught and then eaten.
Kistler ended with a statement that would excite any bass angler, "Falcon and Amistad are only a glimpse of what is available."