Jost (left) owner and key driver behind Albackore's unique brand and
the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Jost, the key individual behind
"Albackore," and pick his brain on tackle storage and what sets his brand
apart from other tackle storage companies. We have always found Albackore's
products to be among the most well thought out tackle management products on
the market and it was very interesting to find out more about how these
products actually make it from the drawing board to the store shelf.
Zander: First of all I appreciate the time
tell us about yourself and your role at Albackore?
My primary responsibilities at
Albackore include global marketing & sales, research & development, and
field tester. As the lead designer, I do not take full responsibility for
the success of our products. We utilize a close-knit team of professional
and recreational anglers that contribute significantly to the design and
functionality of our product line. As the marketing manager, I track down
novel approaches to introduce the Albackore brand to consumers and
retailers. We also employ a fantastic team of people, including my wife,
Naomi, who manages the day-to-day business needs necessary to maintain this
Zander: Sounds like you wear many hats here at Albackore.
Let's first talk about the competition. There are a lot of tackle storage
solutions out there, what do you think makes Albackore’s offerings unique
and/or different from the competition?
enjoys what he does in the office and in the field. Here he jokes
around and shows off the "mother" of all backlashes
product line is designed for maximum functionality with the fisherman in
mind. Many of our products serve dual functions; can be used standalone, or
integrated with our flagship product, the Albackore Backpacks. Secondly, we
use the highest grade materials and workmanship which results in a product
that will last many years. We’ve received unsolicited testimonials from
people that purchased our original backpack years ago and are still using it
to this day. Although our original design continues to work well, we have
made significant improvements over the years to add more functionality and
ensure greater flexibility. Lastly, our products have become organizational
solutions in many other industries besides fishing. Customers have
recognized our product’s versatility and it can be found in use at ski
shops, in the medical field, movie industry and also the arts, crafts &
Zander: Let's take it one step further. How is Albackore as a
company positioned in terms of the competition? Do you try and address a
unique target angler or the mass market?
Jost: Albackore faces many obstacles competing against larger
and more prominent companies. Without the resources that large companies
have, we must be selective and always forward thinking in our design and
direction. Most of our products are designed to address explicit problems,
so in one sense we do target a specific angler. On the other hand, our
products can often be used in more than one scenario, which additional has
mass market appeal. Albackore will always address the needs of the angler
first. Our first product was a result of this - I could not locate a fishing
tackle system that addressed transportation ease and storage flexibility,
thus the Albackore Backpack was born. Now, several years later we still seek
out the angler’s requirements and design products that fulfill those needs.
Zander: We have always been curious about your well thought
out products. Can you tell us more about the design process for your tackle
storage solutions, who is involved and how does a product make it from
conception to mass production?
that's a lot of Albackore bags... A common sight on West Coast long
Jost: The design process as mentioned before is based on the
needs of the industry. Initially, ideas surface from one or more problems or
situations. The problems and ideas typically flow in from avid anglers
desperate for a solution or from our Pro Team members. We receive a
multitude of ideas every month. Unfortunately, many of the ideas are too
complex or lack mass appeal. If the issues are brought to our attention
multiple times, we begin developing the solutions using various methods
finally resulting in a prototype. The prototype is used in the real world,
and if it functions properly, I will do all of the detailed design on my
computer and send it off to our factory for our first set of samples. We
provide those samples to our Pro Team members for testing the functionality
and ease of use. Meanwhile, we begin probing the marketplace including our
retailers and distributors to determine the level of interest and consumer
demand. Once we receive a green light from several sources, the product is
made available to the stores. The design doesn’t stop there though. We
continually look to refine all of our products based on angler feedback and
Zander: Do you make use of a Pro Staff? How are they involved
in the product design and testing if at all?
awards a proud angler a brand new "Altunative" bag for his mammoth
Jost: Yes, we do. I am very proud to have such esteemed
individuals on our Pro Team. We have experts like radio & television
personality Ronnie Kovach and Steve Carson who is ranked among the "Top 30
anglers in the West" by Western Outdoors magazine. We have professional bass
angler and drop shot innovator Don Iovino along with other top pros in the
bass tournament field. Finally, we round out the team with avid recreational
fishermen and pro-am anglers all over the world. All of these talented
individuals contribute a significant level of input into the design of our
Zander: Is it fair to say most of your solutions are geared
towards saltwater applications?
Jost: Yes and No. Our original product, the Albackore 3 and 5
backpacks were designed as storage solutions for either
application. However, our brand ‘Albackore’ leads many to think that our
products are strictly for saltwater use. Our early marketing ads actually
showed a person geared up for freshwater fishing in the Sierra mountain
Zander: So, does that
Can we expect to see more freshwater tackle storage
solutions in the future?
definitely. We already have several items in the market for freshwater
fishing. These not only include the Albackore Tackle Backpack and Altunative
Bag, but also the Tackle Binder, Micro Bag, Creel Bag, and Waist Pack. And
we’re continuing to integrate even more freshwater solutions into our
product lineup and you’ll begin seeing more and more of them on the market
Zander: Besides tackle storage you also sell innovative
products like the Line Clip or Drop Shot Stopper. Is this the future for
Albackore? …more and more unique niche solutions.
holds up a nice Halibut caught while field testing his latest
will continue to search out, develop, market and distribute products that
make sense to our consumers. It’s all about satisfying the needs of
consumers with functional solutions. The one thing that we will not do is
lose focus of our goal: to provide the finest quality, functional products
while offering the very best value.
Zander: Tell us about your new line of Catmando gourmet
baits? Have they been successful and is there more bait on the way?
As you may or
may not know, the Catamando Gourmet Catfish Bait recipes were developed by
Ronson Smothers. Ronson Smothers holds the current lake record at Irvine
Lake for a blue catfish weighing 89.65 pounds and the former California
state record for a blue catfish. Besides the unique ingredients, what makes
Catmando different is that, although it is made of real meat products, it
does not require any refrigeration. Ronson decided to market his catfish
bait and we saw an opportunity that was symbiotic in the sense that he was
seeking a mechanism to distribute his product. We had a distribution and
marketing mechanism in place and the rest is history. The Catmando line is
already sold in many local retail stores; it is just now garnering serious
interest from the larger chain stores.
Zander: Allright you know I have to ask... So what can we
expect to see from Albackore this season, any hints on what you will release
you can expect to see a couple of new products added to the Albackore
line. Although our new Surf ‘n Creel Bag will be announced at ICAST, it was
revealed to consumers just a few weeks ago and is already on the best
sellers list. Zander:
...and new for ICAST?
nice day on the water...
For a real peek at some of the new products that will be
introduced later this year, you’ll have to stop by our ICAST booth.
Zander: I had a
feeling you would say that, guess I will be seeing you in 30 days.
for your time, in closing is there anything else you would like to say to
Tackle Tour readers?
First and foremost, we would like to thank our loyal
customers and followers for their undying support of our products. They have
a keen eye for a quality, functional product and we will continue to design
products that meet or exceed their expectations. Keep a watch out for new
and exciting products as we continue to lead the industry into the future
with more of Albackore Sportfishing Gear’s innovative, multi-functional,
TackleTour would like to thank Jeff Jost for the opportunity to find out
more about Albackore, and what makes their products so different from the
traditional tackle storage solutions out there. Looks like we will have to
complete this interview at ICAST