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
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.
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
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).
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.