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Predatek - Maximum Efishency

Kevin opts out
In 1995, Kevin exercised an option to sell out, leaving the future of the company in the hands of Frank Gaukroger and Rob Smith. This was an amicable, though regretable, arrangement and the three founders have a continuing friendship.

Exports up
Editorial exposure and advertisements in Australian fishing magazines attracted the attention of foreign companies looking for something different. It helped that Australia was becoming recognised as a breeding ground for good lure designs. There is a lot of talent in Oz.

Although we felt we sensed the realisation of our original dreams when the first small export shipment left for Sri Lanka in 1994, it was only in 1996 that we started to seriously explore overseas sales.

Scandinavia calls
Northen PikeOne day in 1996 our fax machine rolled out a simple message which began with the words "This is a faxing from Norway....". It was from Mr Terje Anderrson, enquiring if we'd be interested. We were, and Terje is now our longest standing export customer and has honoured us by changing the name of his business to Viper Import. Of special interest to his customers is our Viper model. It is very successful trolling for trout and salmon in Scandinavian lakes, and for the great northern pike.

Fingers burned in 1997
Interest from near neighbour Indonesia came in the form of faxes from a company with diverse interests in forestry products, clothing and fishing tackle. We came to know these people on a business and personal level and they made two trips to visit us in Australia and look over the factory. We began exporting lures for sale in Indonesia and Singapore soon after.

Using cheap labour rates as leverage, our Indonesian connection proposed a joint venture to relocate the factory to Samarang in Java - we to spend some months there training workers. We gave this serious consideration but decided against compromising our Australian-made heritage, and relinquishing so much control for a business we'd built from scratch. This was and is...our baby.

We also had serious concerns about preserving our reputation for quality. A lot of cheap, imported copy-cat product had begun entering Australia and were determined to maintain our position at the quality end of the market. After all, that was what got us to where we were.

Declining the move to Indonesia revealed the true colours of our friends and the relationship went off the boil. It ended when we were dudded for payment on an export shipment. Lesson learned? Put that one down to experience. (Subsequent political developments in Indonesia have further vindicated the decision to remain 100% Australian).

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Hinchinbrook Island in tropical N Qld. Another testing ground for Predatek lures. Our 'McSea' colour was suggested by friend Vic McCristal who tested it in these waters. Vic, author, lure expert and doyen of Australian fishing writers, is now retired.

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