December 19th, 2005

Field Testers
By James Castwell

It's always fun for me when I have some real information. Some real facts. The 'skinny.' The 'straight poop.' In other words, the truth. As I have very little of that, much of what I write here is just opinion and thoughts and questions. But, this time; this time I have nailed it. When on a normal, regular, innocent, nothing special phone conversation with one of our sponsors I simply happened to mention something about testing his products. That I wouldn't know anything about them, I just fish some, and not that often enough.

Now you may think I get into a lot of that 'testing stuff.' The actual facts are this. No. Look, these guys who make all this stuff not only know what the heck they are doing but are not about to depend upon or trust my judgement or opinion for much of anything. Period. And I like it that way.

Oh, sometimes one may want me to 'be seen' using one of his products but that's about the extent of it. On the rare occasion I have actually had a maker involve me with the development of a product such as sending me a reel, rod or vise which they think is 'market ready' or almost, for my opinion. And that is what they get in return. I use the item, often having to write a bit about it, my choice by the way, or getting to keep it if I want to. Surprisingly, I mostly send things back even though they would rather I keep them and be seen with them. Good grief, I can be seen with just so many 'widgets,' if you know what I mean.

I have made a few recommendations over the years and some have even been listened to and I guess a couple acted upon, but don't hold me to that too tightly. Some guys think that these companies send out a whole lot of 'goodies' to have tested and reported on, and to a lot of people too. For the most part that just doesn't happen that way. Partly for economic reasons and that the information they receive may not have any value whatsoever. Now, do not confuse all of this with what they call a 'Pro Staff.' That is a totally different thing all together. All sorts of reciprocal goings-on involved there. Nope, when a manufacturer makes something he wants information he can trust. He wants it right now, and occasionally he wants it from a 'name' in the field. And that is how they do it. It is true that they want and highly value the reaction and suggestions of the real customers but that is handled after the product is launched.

Anyhow, this particular outfit has a group of twelve that it sends product to. Some are big-name but mostly not and some you have never heard of and won't. With the combined information from a 'known source' the opinions can be correlated and relevant decisions developed. The group is well known by and trusted by the manufacturer and the information carries relevant weight, good or bad. The group will usually consist of a wide assortment of guys and talents and judgement methods and opinions. It takes all of this to bring you the very best they can.

And now you know not only the rest of the story...but the truth, at least as I see it today. ~ JC

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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