Walleye First Tournament Series Part 19, Marianne Huskey

Category: article

 May 8th, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified May 8th, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Walleye pro Marianne Huskey                                              Image: OutdoorsFIRST  

Author’s Note:  The status of the walleye tournament world will be explored throughout this series.  Industry leaders, observers, participants (past and present), sponsors, professional and amateur anglers, host communities, marine and tackle manufacturers, and tournament organizers will share their wisdom and insights.

    Part 19 is about a professional walleye angler who accepted a much larger role with her lure sponsor.  “She has been an awesome brand steward, and the entire line received strong placement with major retailers,” said Doug Jenner, VP of product management and sales for Big Game International, the parent company of Matzuo lures.

    ” has been very, very good for the industry,” he said, citing a long-term relationship with Matzuo as a pro staffer, spokesperson and integrally involved in product development.  “She was instrumental in colors for her signature series of Kinchou minnows, creation of two revolutionary bottom bouncers and the Matzuo Rip & Roll hooks with barrel-swivels for zero line twist.  Also new are the Kinchow shad and larger minnows for pike and muskies,” Jenner said.

    From her perspective, Marianne said, “It is refreshing to work with a company seven days a week and know they’re happy with their ROI.  Hard work pays off!  It’s not just about tournaments; it’s the promotional side that makes a difference.”  She swings the bat for Matzuo with some significant credentials.  She’s a licensed Coast Guard captain, fishing guide, AIM Angler of the Year and comfortable on all bodies of water.

    The Matzuo bond started simply enough.  She was in line waiting for coffee at the 2012 ICAST show in Vegas.  The slow-moving line gave her time for small talk. The guy with the Matzuo badge mentioned a new crankbait being introduced.  “A new crank to me is like a new pair of shoes for some gals,” she said.


Marianne’s Matzuo wrapped Lund

Awhile later she was in the booth, saw the flared gills, colors and sizes and asked  if they caught fish.  They did, and at the next tournament, a Can-Am, she finished second.  “I ran them the rest of 2012, learned they catch fish and are easy to tune.  I kept in touch, and signed as a Matzuo pro staffer in December that year,” she said.  In 2013, her new line of Kinchou minnows was introduced, and is now in stores.  They’re available at most retailers, with the biggest selection of colors at fishusa.com
    Reasons for her promotional success and the movement of Kinchou minnows off the shelves could be related to her work ethic.  Marianne is busy!  In the first three months this year, she did 50 individual seminars.  She was at a boat/outdoor/fishing show every weekend, most as the keynote speaker.  Last year she did 15 open-water instructional classes, and has more than that already booked.  She’s fished local tournaments with other gals who signed up and won days on the water, and has been aiming at grassroots anglers who want to learn.  “They then go out and buy the gear,” she emphasized, “There are a lot of new people entering the fishing world without the background.”

    Her seminars include Lowrance Electronics where she teaches the basics of reading and understanding broadband sonar.  She has received great feedback on her power point demonstration.  She teaches “shore-trolling” with Off-Shore mini-boards in rivers.  “Not everyone has a boat, and this is something families can do with kids.  Most people buy boards after a seminar.  There are a lot more uses for boards than people even think about, like trout and crappies,” she said.

    “Walleye beginners need to learn about bottom bouncers; they need information on trolling with Off-Shore tadpoles to get crankbaits to desired depths without lead core,” she said.  Her seminars cover these topics, plus many more.  Her time spent with those asking questions about outboards, boats, trolling motors and related gear helps steer them in the right direction.

    She is booking open-water classes, which are 8-hour in-boat seminars on Green Bay.  These are similar to guide trips, but the customers choose the topics.  Last year a husband/wife with a new boat hired her, brought along a video camera and a long list of questions.  “They had no trolling rods or reels; no lures; no rod holders; nothing.  The next day they spent $4,000 on the same rods and reels we used.  I saw them the next week at the ramp, and they were so pumped because they went out on their own and caught a limit of walleyes,” she said.

    Marianne is also working closely with guide Scott Allen (Allen’s Guide Service) on a two and one-half day on-shore and on-water seminar.  With as many as 40 in the class (more pros/guides will be available as numbers climb), lodging and meals will be provided. 

    In 2014, Marianne will be building a library of “how-to” videos for all Matzuo products.  She is impressed with the Matzuo hooks, including the Sickle and bass hooks.  The Kinchou family will be a big part of the library.  She will do more in-store seminars with buyers and those who sell to the public.  She will be at local, regional and national sales meetings.  She will continue promotions on billboards, website, TV, marketing signage, and pointed out, “I was part of 10,000,000 impressions in January alone.”

    Recently, in one week, Marianne dealt with a New York angler about trolling, a Florida woman who was starting a fishing club, did a radio show in Montana, and kept up her frantic pace on the show circuit.  Doug Jenner said, “Marianne is much more than a typical pro staff member.  We value her commitment.”

    She works closely with these marketing and promotional partners:  Matzuo, Lowrance, Lund, Mercury, Frabill, Plano, Off-Shore tackle, Optima batteries, Abu Garcia, Fenwick, Cisco Fishing systems, Mr. Outboards Watersports marine and Costa.  Her website is mariannehuskey.com.

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