When more than 30 bass pros, saltwater and freshwater guides, social media influencers and TV fishing show personalities descended on the company’s ‘Experience Center’ for Shimano’s inaugural ‘Pro Staff Summit’, it was much more than just PowerPoint presentations and product development discussions. It was to instill in them the large role conservation and advocacy plays in the overall Shimano company mission.
“While our event included training on new tackle from all the Shimano brands including G. Loomis and PowerPro, sessions on social media content creation, and company president Dave Pfeiffer discussing how Shimano is much more than just a tackle manufacturer, “said Shimano’s Blaine Anderson, “the big highlight was a team-building event where we all got our hands dirty helping out the South Carolina DNR and CCA-SC with the South Carolina Oyster Recycling and Enhancement program. And for many of those attending, they then were able to experience their first authentic Lowcountry boil followed by an oyster roast provided by Captain Ben Powers, one of our Charleston-area based pro staffers.”
Overall, Summit attendees loaded up more than 500 bags of spent oyster shells that are then replanted to provide a substrate for future oyster growth. “Here in the Charleston area, oysters are in our blood. Seeing this Shimano crew, with members for Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and all across the country, pitching in and show genuine interest in the way oysters improve our water quality and our inshore habitat was pretty special,” said Shimano pro staffer Captain Ben Powers with Reel Time Charters. When not guiding anglers, Powers both harvests oysters for local restaurants and has been extremely involved in oyster reel restoration efforts.
Anderson also noted the lively conversations that happened during breaks, lunches, dinners and an on-the-water afternoon. “It didn’t matter if you were a successful bass pro like Luke Clausen or Chris Johnston, a muskie fishing expert like Jim Saric, an accomplished walleye and smallmouth angler such as ‘Big Jim’ McLaughlin, or a salmon and steelhead guide like Ashely Nicole Lewis,” Anderson said, “all these folks share the same passion and while they may fish for different fresh and saltwater species, they all speak the same language – even if there were some different accents among them.”