Sponsor Spotlight: Val Osinski, Gambler

I want to welcome all of the readers here on UltimateBass.com to the first installment of Sponsor Spotlight.  I hope that this series of articles will bring a little bit of light to you about the wonderful sponsors we have here on Ultimate Bass, as well as bring some added exposure to them.  This month’s spotlight is trained precisely on Val Osinski, who is the chief executive of Gambler Lures.  Enjoy!

1.  Personal info
a. Job title and description – Chief Executive – Run the day to day operations of Gambler Lures.
b. Family and location – Single – Pompano Beach Florida
c. Education – Graduate of University of Miami

2. Can you talk about the recent difficulties for Gambler-Bang as it pertains to the recent
hurricanes of 2005?

Luckily those are all behind us this year and it was pretty quiet this year.  Hurricane Wilma basically shut us down for 2 ½ months.  We lost our roof on October 23rd and did not have our whole company together again under one roof until January 12th.  We were without power for 23 days and our company phones for about 45.

3. Can you discuss the merger between Bang and Gambler, and how it effects the
company in the competitive marketplace of the fishing industry.

Gambler and Bang have actually split up into two different companies.  We have developed a mixture of oils and scents into a formula that we call Gambler BITE.  This is poured directly into our baits when they are manufactured.

4.  Does Gambler-Bang have any new products that you are excited about for 2007?

We have quite a few new products that we are excited about.  #1 on the list is the Giggy Head.  The Giggy Head was ranked the #1 finesse jig head on the market by FLW outdoors a couple of months ago.  Clark Wendlandt used it to take third in the FLW Championship.  Along with that head we have three new finesse worms coming out.  Two of them are very unique designs and the third is more of your traditional finesse worm.  We are excited about all three.  Those all should be out relatively quickly.  We have three other products on the drawing board right now that should be ready by spring time.

5.  How has the internet and sites like Ultimate Bass affected the fishing industry?

I think the internet can be a double edged sword.  I’m a big fan of it.  I believe it enables us as a manufacturer to see and hear what customers are saying about our products and our competitors.  I believe sites like Ultimate Bass are great because it allows the angler to discuss what is working.  So many times we listen to what the professionals are saying or read about it in articles in a magazine.  With the internet things happen quicker so new products are found out about more quickly and the overall information exchange is greater and most of the time you get an unbiased answer from a fellow angler versus a paid answer from a pro.  We spend a fair amount of time reading posts and checking to see what people are saying on Ultimate Bass.

6.  Gambler’s Pro Staff has some of the big, up and coming names in the pro ranks  (Chris and Bobby Lane, John Crews, and Jason Quinn).  Can you
discuss a little about your pro staff and what a company is looking for in a
pro staffer?

The main thing we look for are fisherman that can help promote our products.  Our goal is to have fisherman that know the product line and are confident and believe in the products.  From there our pro staff needs to have the relationships in the industry to help spread the word about our new products.  Chris Lane did a great job of that this year with the Cane Toad.  We also are looking for people that can help us with new products and have input into specifically what they want a bait to do.  Our finesse line will be a great example of that.  The new baits are based off a lot of feedback from our pros.

7. With any business, research and development is a major part of staying competitive.
What do you see for the future of baits in the marketplace?  What keys will keep
Gambler prominently in the marketplace?

The future of baits depends a lot on who you are.  For us we have a strong product line but are lacking in the finesse market.  We have never been known for finesse fishing.  We have some great finesse products that we run for Japan that the general public here in the US is not aware of.  We are researching and developing an entire finesse line that will put us on the radar screen for this style of fishing.  We have already designed several innovative products that we are starting to make right now.  I think this will keep us competitive because the finesse style of fishing is gaining in popularity and the way the professional tours line up it is more critical then ever that we have a solid offering.  There are quite a few tournaments next year that until recently we did not have a product that our pro staff could fish.  That is all changed now and we think we have given our pro staff the tools they need which will translate into our customers having the product they need.

The number one thing that will keep us prominently in the marketplace is our customer.  We are always focused on the customer, the individual using the product and our dealer base.   Give them a quality product, that is innovative, that helps them enjoy their time on the water, and treat them right and we feel we will always be successful.

8. Can you talk about some of the tournament success your pro staffers have had during
the 2006 season?

Our staff had a pretty good year.  John Crews started out strong with several top 10’s on the Little Otter.  He qualified for the Classic.  Jason Quinn had a very consistent year and is qualified for the Classic.  Russ Lane qualified for the Classic and had several good finishes on our products.  Chris Lane won the Southern tour opener on the Cane Toad and finished 5th at Lake Champlain on it as well.  He led for the first three days of that tournament.  Clark Wendlandt placed third in the FLW Championship on the Giggy Head and Icesickle worm.  He also used a Swim Blade to catch a couple of key fish.  Chris McCall won a Stren Central Tournament on the Sweebo and took second in another one on the Cane Toad.  Ron Shuffield placed third in the Bassmaster Classic in February on the Cane Toad.  Bobby Lane took second at the Okeechobee Stren on the BB Cricket.  As you can see we had a pretty strong performance this year at the professional level.  We also had numerous regional pro staffers that had exceptional tournaments and won a lot of money on Gambler products.

9.  Can you talk about your own fishing interests, if any?  A favorite lake?  Favorite
technique or bait?  Any treasured fishing memories?

I just got back from my BFL regional tournament on Lake Demopolis and qualified for the All-American next year.  I will also be getting back into the Southern Stren Series for next year.  I had to take a couple years off due to working here, but I believe I should be able to fit those in the schedule next year.  As for my favorite lake – there is an area here in South Florida called Loxahatchee.  It is part of the Everglades and one of my favorite places to fish.  As for baits I love them all but the way we fish shallow in the Everglades I have to lean towards the Cane Toad and our 10” Ribbon Tail worm.

10. And finally, can you discuss Gambler-Bang in regards to size of the company,
number of employees, and the like?

Not big enough yet, we are aggressively growing and coming out with new products to become the leader in our industry.

I want to thank Val for taking the time to answer my questions for the site.  We wish him all the personal and business success in the future that he can handle.  Please remember that our wonderful bass fishing community depends on great sponsors like Gambler to offer something a little different than other sites on the web.  If you have used a Gambler product, please take the time to fill out a product review here on the site.  Our sponsors would appreciate it as well.

Eric Huber is the Editorial Team Leader at UltimateBass.com, and he can be reached at warpath@ultimatebass.com.

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