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    The Update

    Peter Vandergrift Joins Wingo Outdoors and Cheeky Fishing

    Peter Vandergrift Joins Wingo Outdoors and Cheeky Fishing

    Peter Vandergrift Joins North Point Brands to Lead Marketing for Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoors

    For Immediate Release (North Adams, MA): North Point Brands, parent entity to Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoors, is adding fishing industry veteran Peter Vandergrift to its growing team. Vandergrift will be assuming the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for both Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoor brands.

    Vandergrift is joining the company after a seven-year run with Costa Sunglasses as Freshwater Community Manager, where he led initiatives around the fly fishing and other freshwater fishing categories in influencer marketing, grassroots events, content development and distribution and conservation. Prior to that, he spent five years with Simms Fishing Products where he held a similar role. 

    “We could not be more excited to add Peter to the North Point Brands team,” said Ted Upton CEO of North Point Brands. “His leadership in the fly-fishing industry, dedication to conservation, and innovative approach to community brand building will be welcomed expertise as Cheeky Fishing and Wingo Outdoors scale to the next level.”

    Vandergrift has a diverse and long history in the fishing industry. He began guiding at 19 in Alaska in the shadow of the proposed Pebble Mine, and went on to guide and outfit in Montana and Northern Wyoming prior to joining Simms. 

    “I am so excited to be joining this talented team at North Point,” commented Vandergrift. “I hope to take what I have learned from two world-class companies in Costa and Simms and develop something truly special with these innovative brands.”

    Conservation and community are the hallmarks of Vandergrift’s work. He has been instrumental in establishing the Kick Plastic movement. He was also recognized for his work with the indigenous fishing communities with the nonprofit Indifly as well as helping Trout Unlimited connect to the next generation of conservationist with the Costa TU 5 Rivers College program. He is also credited with creating strong relationships in the guide and outfitting community with events such as Simms Ice Out and Costa’s Slack Tide Guide Gathering. 

    Amanda Sabin of Costa Sunglasses commented on Vandergrift’s departure, “Although we are sad to see him go, we are proud of the work that he has done and are excited for his new opportunity. He will always be part of our Costa Tribe.” 

    Vandergrift will continue to work from Missoula, Montana where he lives with his wife Raluca, two daughters Zori and Rhea and his bird dog Suzie. 

    Contact information:

    pvandergrift@cheekyfishing.com

    pvandergrift@wingooutdoors.com

    Cell: 406-240-3086

    Trout Research with Friends of the Teton River

    Trout Research with Friends of the Teton River

    Last week, we had the pleasure of joining Friends of the Teton River (FTR) as their Fisheries Team conducted research in the Teton River Watershed! FTR works with the public and government agencies to protect the fish, water, and habitat of the watershed.

    The Teton River Watershed is one of the country's premier trout fisheries, and is one of the last strongholds for native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (pictured above). Unfortunately, fishing pressure, habitat degradation, and introduction of non-native fish like brook, rainbow, and brown trout threaten the survival of Yellowstone Cutties.

    Every five years, FTR conducts a large stock assessment to keep track of fish populations, and ultimately monitor the health of the Yellowstone Cutty population. We were lucky to tag along as the crew hiked into to a remote sampling location, deep in the Teton Mountains.

    We carried heavy packs of gear, including electro-fishing equipment, nets, buckets, data sheets, and of course bear spray in case we ran into one of the furry locals.

    After gearing up in waders complete with Cutthroat Trout Wingo Wading Belts, we set up nets to partition off a 100 meter section of the creek. Then, we proceeded to shock the water in order to collect all the fish in that section.

    The electro-fishing apparatus emits a temporary shock similar to an electric fence that stuns the fish for a few seconds so we can net and collect them in buckets.

    Once all the trout were collected, we measured and documented each fish so scientists could look at trends in fish species, numbers, and size at that location over time. Any fluvial cutthroat (fish that live in the main river, but come up into the creeks to spawn) are tagged, and a fin clip is taken for genetic analysis. This way, FTR can track the movement and spawning success of Yellowstone Cutthroat!

    The number of fish in just a small section of this creek was astounding. We collected over 40 trout in 100 meters. Most of the fish were invasive brook trout. Although they are pretty fish, and can be fun to catch, it is clear that invasive brook trout are competing with native Yellowstone Cutthroat for important habitat. This information will help FTR strategize future plans to help protect Yellowstone Cutthroat!

    Friends of the Teton River (FTR) is a nationally recognized leader in science and community-based watershed protection and restoration in the Teton River watershed.  To get involved and learn more about FTR’s work, click here.

     

     

    Netting Fish While Fishing Alone

    Netting Fish While Fishing Alone

    Fishing alone can be a bit more challenging. It seems like we hook into our biggest fish when nobody else is around to help with the net. We all know the familiar feeling of excitement that quickly turns into panic as we try not to lose that trophy fish at the net! Here are some of our strategies we wanted to share while landing fish alone...

    Play the fish until it is tired, but not exhausted. Attempting to land a fish that is still too "green" usually ends with broken tippet and failure. At the same time, be careful not to prolong the fight so the fish has the best chance of survival post release. Besides, the longer the fight, the longer the fish has to throw the hook or break the line! 

    Set yourself up for success. Find a pocket of calm water to land the fish in. It is safer for you, and easier to net a fish that is not swimming in the current. Also, there will be less water resistance on the net, so you can scoop the fish more swiftly. 

    Positioning is key. Lead the fish headfirst into the net. Since fish can't swim backwards, they have fewer options to escape. Use the full leverage of your reach and the rod to bring the fish as close as possible. 

    Stay calm! Seeing that trophy fish up close sometimes makes our minds go blank with excitement. The best anglers can balance their excitement with composure. Have fun celebrating when the fish is in the net!

     

     

     

    Behind the Lens of our Photography

    Behind the Lens of our Photography

    We thought it would be fun to give an inside look at some of the product photography we do at Wingo. For in-house photography, our Associate Business Manager Zach is usually behind the lens.

    If we are fishing after work, we will grab some Wingo gear that compliments our outing. For example, for the photo above, we expected to catch brown trout, so we brought along a Yellowstone Lanyard to match. We were lucky that the fish, weather, and lighting cooperated that time. 

    Most of the time, it is hard to find the perfect combination of those conditions. Or in the case of the rainbow trout above, we flat out forgot to bring rainbow trout themed Wingo gear to the river. 

    One thing we can always count on to remember are the cold ones and our Fish Skin Coozies. Sometimes the lighting may be too bright, the fish may not cooperate, or we forgot to bring the product to shoot, but we can always rely on relaxing with a cold one at the end of the day!

    When the Fishing is Slow, Take a Breather

    When the Fishing is Slow, Take a Breather

    It’s easy to get spoiled by good fishing after doing it for a while. As most of us spend more time on the water, we get better at fishing, and become accustomed to catching more fish. After a day of slow fishing, sometimes we catch ourselves dejected, or in a bad mood. However, when this feeling of entitlement to catch fish arises, it is important to pause, and remember why we started fishing in the first place.

    Our frame of reference becomes skewed. The first summer I learned to fish as a young kid, I remember coming home elated after spending all day on the water and catching a fish. One day I came home for dinner and told my mom I caught a record of four fish that day! I couldn’t of felt more proud. 

    That was twenty years ago, and I have come a long way from those four fish. At the beginning of spring, I took my buddy out for his first time on a river float. We targeted post-spawn pike, which should have guaranteed some nice fish. As luck (or skill) would have it, we did not see a single pike that day.

    We pulled the canoe on to the bank to break for lunch. During this breather we realized that it seemed like nature bloomed overnight. After a long winter, we were suddenly surrounded by luscious trees, chirping birds, and all sorts of wildlife coming out to play after hibernation.

    Instead of feeling dejected, I remembered those hot summer days as a four-year-old, working hard to catch a single fish. We decided to put away the rods and just paddle along the river to enjoy our surroundings instead. After simply re-adjusting our expectations, our frustrating morning turned into a great day out on the water.

    Wingo Outdoors was born out of our appreciation for the outdoors. Our fish themed products represent more than just the fish we catch, because they remind us why we love to fish. Whether you are out on the water having a fish-filled day, or just relaxing and sipping on a few cold ones out of Fish Skin Coozies like we did that afternoon, it is easy to simply get outside and enjoy the outdoors.