No more Chevy in the FLW. Yep, it's old news, but for Mercury pro Jimmy Houston it is still something that hit him hard. After a 30-year sponsor relationship, to have Chevy pull out of the fishing biz, well, it's a tough one to swallow. Never fear, this legendary pro angler and television show host came through with sponsors to fill the void.
Houston is also moving forward with plans to attempt to draft larger non-endemic corporations into competitive angling. Oh yeah, and keep fishing the FLW Tour even though he is in the 70-plus club now.
It's the Fastlane for Houston.
"I was contacted a while back by Expressway Dodge a while ago," said Houston. "It is a large auto group that has Dodge, Chevy, Ford, a lot of different brands. When I was sponsored by Chevy I couldn't go to all of their dealerships to make appearances. Now that my 30-year relationship is over with Chevy, I can.
"I'm running a new Ram truck with that 5.7 Hemi in it. I love it. I was a bit worried thinking it wasn't going to measure up, but it is a great truck. I was blown away by how good this Ram really is. Frankly, most of the new trucks out there are good vehicles.
"I'm not sponsored at the corporate level with Ram like I was with Chevy. It is sort of half regional, half national. Will be doing television commercials, appearances, etc. for Expressway. I am very happy with the relationship. They are great people."
Jimmy Wants the Sport Fishing Industry to Keep Moving Forward on Positive Footing.
"I could've not gotten involved with another vehicle sponsorship," said Houston. "But I feel I need to stay involved. If I can work and keep Ram involved in the sport and open the door for opportunities for up-and-coming pros to get a Ram deal, then it is all worth it.
"I'm doing the same by sharing ideas at a high corporate level with other companies, too. I recently had a meeting at Shell with some of their upper marketing people. I shared concepts that would get their companies more involved with our sport.
"I believe we just need to get in front of the right people and the opportunities can be there for all of us."
Passion Keeps the Dream Alive for Jimmy.
"There is no doubt in my mind, passion for the sport keeps me going," said Houston. "I still love competitive bass fishing. Starting the FLW season off on Toho gets me pretty excited. I prefer Okeechobee, but Toho is good, too.
"It is the passion that I believe allows all of us to get up on lousy days and still go fishing. It is that same passion that I believe keeps people purchasing products from certain companies, too.
"For example, Ranger Boats. Now that Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops own it, people who want to purchase a Ranger know that the company is now part of an organization who is passionate about fishing and the outdoors. That is a big deal.
"Now I just need to turn this passion into a win on the FLW Tour."