What’s In A Name?
Aug 4th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 4th, 2011 at 11:57 AM
J. J. Keller and The Reel Shot are names that have become synonymous in the professional walleye fishing scene, and also recently within the Bassmaster Elite Series. The Reel Shot and the J. J. Keller Fishing Team are committed to not only supporting the sport of fishing, but to also competing among the top anglers in the world.
The J. J. Keller Fishing Team is comprised of James and Brian Keller, John Schneider, and as of recently, Travis Manson who fishes the Bassmaster Elite Series (and is the first Bassmaster Pro from Wisconsin.) With this strong presence in both the walleye and bass arenas, the Team is doing their part to further the sport of competitive angling.
President of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., James Keller talks about fishing with his son, Brian. “Our father-son fishing duo started when Brian was my 1st mate for six years on my Lake Michigan Charter Boat. I have been a Charter Captain since 1983 and have completely enjoyed the time we have spent on the water together.”
“When Brian turned 18 in 1998, he got his first Ranger walleye rig. Since then we have been fishing team walleye tournaments such as the Mercury Nationals, MWC and MWS,” Keller notes. “In 2006 Brian started fishing as a Pro with the PWT where he really developed a passion for competitive walleye angling. Brian has been exposed to many different types of fishing throughout his life; I can’t say I’m surprised that he is now pursuing it professionally.”
“As we both became more involved in professional walleye angling, we both agreed that for competitive walleye angling to continue to have a strong hold in the fishing industry, something new was going to have to come to fruition. When the idea for the AIM Pro Walleye Series arose, we decided to invest in the circuit. We were two of the original 77 AIM Owners, when the company was founded in 2008. We started fishing the AIM Tournament series in 2009,” Keller continues. “I started fishing the Pro/Am events with AIM and have thoroughly enjoyed AIM’s C-R-R (Catch-Record-Release) format. I have gone full circle: walleyes and muskies since the 70’s, then salmon and lake trout since 1983, and then back to walleyes on the professional level! In case you are wondering I am 63,” he laughs.
“We felt the positive impact the AIM series would have within the community was well worth the investment,” Keller continues. “The C-R-R format allows for the local anglers to go out immediately following an event and still catch fish. Plus, the impact by having a professional competitive fishing series is very important to the local economy, and it’s something we wanted to be a part of.”
Brian was working as a Technology Manager at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. for 10 years when he decided to leave and pursue his dream of owning and operating a sporting goods store. This is how The Reel Shot was then born. The Reel Shot opened January 2011 in Oshkosh Wisconsin with a beautiful 6,000 square foot show room providing fully-equipped sport fishing and archery pro shops. There is also an 11,000-gallon demonstration fish tank where anglers can try out new baits or enjoy seminars from local fishing experts and pros. It was only natural to make The Reel Shot the home of the J. J. Keller Fishing Team.
At the close of each AIM Pro Walleye Series tournament, as a good faith gesture, the J. J. Keller Foundation donates money to non-profit organizations in the communities which have hosted the events. The Foundation provides grants to local 501 C(3) organizations – such as youth outdoor education and fishing activities. The J. J. Keller Foundation has funded hundreds of projects and programs, both small and large in and around northeastern Wisconsin, which have positively impacted the lives of many people. Often these donations allowed organizations to offer programs that would otherwise have gone unfunded. The Foundation’s legacy of giving will continue for many years due to the generosity of Jack and Ethel Keller, the parents of James. Both of Jim’s parents are gone, but he and Brian are continuing their legacy of philanthropy.
“Competitive walleye excitement is making a comeback!” Keller exclaims. “While the future of our heritage is very important to us and our children, the bottom line is we feel our participation is a way for us to help continue and promote our natural resources, build community within the fishing industry and enjoy creation at the same time.”
The J. J. Keller Fishing Team is also funding the AIM Angler of the Year award, which is a $10,000 cash prize. “The Angler of the Year award is one of the most coveted achievements in a competitive angler’s sights,” Keller explains. “Why not make the hunt more intense with monetary motivation? That’s exactly why we donated to that cause and will continue to support a tremendous organization like Anglers Insight Marketing.”
There are many vital supporting partners to the AIM Pro Walleye Series. The company was started by anglers for anglers with the hopes of growing the sport of fishing. Without like-minded supporters such as The Reel Shot and the J. J. Keller Fishing Team, the continued success of competitive angling would not be possible. Investing today in tomorrow’s opportunities is absolutely essential for the next generation’s outdoor heritage.
Please note: The Reel Shot www.thereelshot.com, J. J. Keller & Associates www.jjkeller.com, The J. J. Keller Fishing Team www.jjkellerfishingteam.com, and The J.J. Keller Foundation www.jjkellerfoundation.org are all separate entities and more information can be found at their respective websites.)