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TackleTour finds out what makes "Albackore" unique in an interview with Jeff Jost

Date: 6/28/06
Manufacturer: Albackore
Interview: Jeff Jost
Title Albackore Founder
Reviewer: Zander



Jeff Jost (left) owner and key driver behind Albackore's unique brand and product line

Introduction: TackleTour had 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 Jeff. Please tell us about yourself and your role at Albackore? 


Jost: 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 successful company.

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?

Jeff enjoys what he does in the office and in the field. Here he jokes around and shows off the "mother" of all backlashes

Jost: The Albackore 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 & hobby industries. 

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?    

Now that's a lot of Albackore bags... A common sight on West Coast long range charters

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 recommendations.

Zander: Do you make use of a Pro Staff? How are they involved in the product design and testing if at all? 

Jeff awards a proud angler a brand new "Altunative" bag for his mammoth catch

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 products.

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 range. 

Zander: So, does that mean we Can we expect to see more freshwater tackle storage solutions in the future? 

Jost: Most 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 soon.

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. 

Jeff holds up a nice Halibut caught while field testing his latest creations

Jost: Our company 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?  

Jost: 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 at ICAST? 

Jost: This season 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?

A very 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.

Zander: Thank you 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, modular products. 

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
...stay tuned










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