A consultancy based job or whatever you want to call it is not going to last forever in the fishing tackle industry, and I have been "let go" by Shimano UK. It would be unprofessional of me to go into the various ins and outs here, but my services are no longer required. Suffice to say I am sad to report that I will not be doing any more work with them. I guess in some respects I have failed to do what I tried my best to do for them, and I must accept this as a failure on my part.
I got to work with some good people who work for a really good company, and nothing changes how much I like most of their gear which I have been able to get hold of and fish with. Shimano spinning reels are just awesome products, I managed to find a few of their spinning rods which I reckoned work well for how many of us tend to lure fish, and I continue to be in love with that outstanding Sufix 832 braid (Shimano UK does Rapala, PowerPro, Storm, Sufix etc.). I remain convinced for example that the Shimano Aero Spin 4000 is perhaps the best value for money lure fishing reel around. Aside from one really good Rapala surface lure in particular, I can't pretend that I found loads of Rapala or Storm lures which worked for how and where I fish though. I wish I could have found some, but I believe in being honest and talking about the gear which I think does work well. I met some of the Rapala people and I got to learn some fascinating stuff about the biggest lure company in the world, but at the end of the day, why on earth should these people need to listen to somebody like me who is asking for different stuff to what they are already successfully producing?
The lure fishing market here in the UK and Ireland continues to fascinate me, and what has happened doesn't change my outlook one bit. It is exciting times, and for the most part it is being driven by smaller companies with their ears to the ground who are small enough to take the odd gamble and help develop "trends" if you like. I do believe though there are two bigger companies here in the UK who could do so much more than they already do in the saltwater lure fishing market especially - Shimano and Daiwa. These two excellent companies are known around the world for the quality and innovation of their fishing tackle, and I suppose that in part I simply failed in my quest to try and "help" Shimano get more into the sort of lure fishing that I tend to talk about a lot on this blog and also in my Sea Angler features.
Many anglers are aware that Shimano Japan and Daiwa Japan are two highly respected global companies which are at the forefront of modern fishing tackle design. Many anglers are also aware that companies like this have whole ranges of lure fishing tackle especially that would be as good as perfect for how we are increasingly going about our lure fishing here in the UK, Ireland, and parts of Europe. One could look at this and wonder why on earth we aren't getting access to some of this Japanese gear in our physical and online shops, but sadly it simply isn't as easy as picking up the phone and ordering loads of this stuff in. I wish it was, but it isn't.
Fishing tackle related consultancy stuff aside, a part of what fascinates me about these consultancy sorts of jobs is somebody like me learning more about how these companies work. I work on my own and I sort of make it up as I go along, and whilst it's easy for me to want to charge ahead and give whatever a good go, it is of course very different for larger companies. Working with Shimano has taught me plenty more about the fishing tackle industry, and whatever has happened, I am extremely grateful to them for the opportunities they gave me. I am man enough to accept that this bloke called Henry Gilbey and what I can offer was not quite right for Shimano UK at the end of the day. They are some good people who work in a fantastic industry and I am but a cog in a wheel that is of course disposable. I would like to wish the new MD of Shimano UK the best of luck in his new role. He is a thoroughly nice bloke at the helm of a good bunch of people.