Catfish Conference 2016 was a gathering of catfish enthusiasts from all walks of life. A walk through the crowed aisles would provide a confrontation with a tournament pro at one time and an everyday angler at another. The aisles were full of friendly people sharing their passion for catfishing.
There were catfish guides, tournament directors and fishing families showing their support for the catfishing way of life. Seminars were providing information on how to rig for them, where to look for them and how to take care of them once they were caught. If that sounds like the perfect scenario for venders wanting to show their wares, it was.
The hall was lined with vendors representing all aspects of catfishing equipment and paraphernalia. Poles, baits, boats, hooks, reels, you name it, and Catfish Conference 2016 had it.
Justin Adams and his wife Erin manned one of those booths. Justin is a fisherman. “I fish for other species,” revealed Adams. “I am big into crappie and I am big into walleye, but catfishing is my passion. This is all I think about, this is all I do.”
Justin and Lisa attended Catfish Conference to show off the line of PowerHouse Anchors that Justin originated. Like so many quality products built for the boating and fishing community, PowerHouse Anchors are the result of a fishing experience and a desire to improve fishing success.
“This all started in Nebraska,” explained Adams. “We did a tournament on Calamus Lake in Burwell, NE. The lake is notorious for huge swells and chop when the winds are blowing. With 20 mph winds you are talking 4-foot chops. The winds got up that day. That lake sets on a NW angle and we just got pounded. We had some box store anchors that were not very heavy and did not do the job. We couldn’t anchor we couldn’t drift. Our tournament fishing day was ruined.”
Adams did not want to experience that day on the water again. “The idea started out as a do-it-yourself project,” revealed Adams. “The one I made was a little rough compared to what we have now, but I took the idea to my boss and said, this is what I need. The product came out great and the price was right. That’s how the PowerHouse anchors came to be.”
“The anchors are square for the purpose of providing more cleats to anchor your boat,” explained Adams. “We have 8 cleats on each anchor, unlike a navy anchor that has only two cleats. Our cleats are laser cut, so they are smooth and don’t have any flaws that would prevent digging in.”
Adams was displaying the company’s 14-inch steel box anchors. “Our 14 inch models are 14 inches x 14 inches. They are powder coated black. You can’t knock the finish off these with a hammer. They weigh 23 pounds and come with a 2-foot chain.”
PowerHouse Anchors are also customizable, like painting them any color the consumer might want. “We can do other special things with our anchors too,” suggested Adams. “The large flat sides allow plenty of space for decals or you could have your name or number cut out to permanently identify them. That comes at a small extra charge, but worth it to some people. The 14’s are running $75.”
The 12-inch model is made for 15-foot boats or less. The 14-inch anchors work with 15- to 19-foot boats. The 15-inch anchors are made for boats that are 20 foot and longer. The only downfall, according to Adams, is that they don’t work well around rocks or in significantly heavy current.
The newest model includes an improvement related to the ability to unstick the anchor if it gets wedged badly in the bottom. “Instead of the chain being welded on top as on the original models, we will be welding it on the bottom inside surface,” explained Adams. “We will add a hole at the top were the chain used to be. Now people can use zip ties to position the anchor chain where they can pull backwards, break the zip tie and get their anchor back in case it gets snagged.”
“The conference has made this product what it is, better,” said Adams. “With that said we are committed to attending next year and have a new river style anchor for the consumers to see.”
“As a new brand we were happy to be at the Catfish Conference,” indicated Adams. “We could not have acquired any better publicity than we did. We were able to answer questions directly with the many potential customers that stopped by the booth. We are happy with that.”
“The best part about the conference for me was the community of catfisherman and all the passion for the sport in one place,” concluded Adams. “I came to the conference just to share the passion. It was great, I would love to be there again.”
Epilogue: During the week following the conference it became known that one of the catfish community teams had suffered a terrible loss. Thieves had broken into a storage area and stole fishing equipment from their boat. Many vendors from the show and other attendees responded with replacement equipment. Adams joined them in helping the team replace their lost equipment. “When we heard of the loss of gear, we sent them a new prototype PowerHouse Anchor.”