It's been a pretty crazy offseason so far. The bad news is, I've done virtually no prep work for the upcoming season.
I'm hoping to have my boat here by Jan. 15, then leave for the start of the 2020 season by Jan. 20 or 23, at the latest. It's going to come down to the wire.
The good news is, I have several new major sponsors, and that's why I'm waiting on all my new equipment and gear to get here. So I do have an excuse!
I'm really pleased with the way things have gone following my first Elite Series season. Power-Pole is still my title sponsor, I have three new major sponsors, and I'm working toward a fourth. I can only talk about two of the three new sponsors right now, though.
In the black
I'm going to be running Mercury 250 ProXS in 2019. It's a big change for Chris and I. Evinrude has been a great partner for a long time, and we've been with BRP for many, many years, going all the way back to when my dad was sponsored by OMC for tournaments here in Canada. OMC and then BRP are really all we've ever known.
Decisions like this are always difficult. BRP has been a company that's been so good to us over the years, and we took a lot of time to contemplate what we wanted to do. At the end of the day we had to make a business decision. We're really excited about the new Mercury motors. So in that aspect — switching to a different product — that wasn't an issue for us. It was more the people that made the decision so tough. We'd gotten to know the BRP people extremely well. They treated us great going all the way back over many decades.
But Michelle Kilburn, who's the Competitive Angler Manager at Mercury, used to run the tournament series back here in Canada that my dad used to fish. Michelle and my dad had a relationship back then through the tournament scene, so it all kind of came full circle for us dealing with Mercury and Michelle again.
I can't wait to get the new motor and run it on my Ranger and get a feel for it. There's definitely going to be some differences. First for me is the huge bonus that the 250 ProXS is a four-stroke, so I don't need to hassle with adding oil anymore — not only adding it to the tank, but carrying large quantities across the border can be such a problem. I'll also have to break the motor in, which I didn't need to do with the Evinrudes I ran. So there are some differences that I'll get familiar with. But they're good differences. And we're definitely going to get to know a lot of new people. We'll make a lot of new friends and contacts, and that's always exciting.
We just couldn't be more excited to join Mercury and begin this next phase of our careers.
Signed with SPRO
The other new sponsor I'm excited to talk about is SPRO. We love throwing jerkbaits, we love froggin', and I think there's the potential to maybe help SPRO with a few baits of our own, and maybe have some input on making some smallmouth baits for them — especially because I tie a lot of hair jigs and SPRO has a really strong line of hair jigs.
The company name is short for "Sports Professionals," and everybody there is really into designing and making baits that work really well. There are a bunch of good pros with SPRO right now and it should be really good for us. I'm super excited.
Waiting on the charge
The reason my Ranger was a little late in getting rigged is because I'm getting the new Power-Pole Charge installed. The Charge is a game changer in power management. It's super exciting, because it allows you to manage your power while you're in your boat. You can tell the battery charger which specific battery to charge, you can pull power from a certain battery if it's surging. And the best part is that it charges your batteries through your alternator as you're running. It's a pretty incredible product.
And this is really cool: Power-Pole is working on a product called the Vision. It's a tablet that allows you manage all your charging and all your marine accessories, plus run your typical Android apps, all on one device. So if you think about that, you can look at one screen and control your jackplate, trim tabs, charge levels, bilge pump, livewell, lights and more.
Nobody out there has the technology that Power-Pole has with the Charge and the Vision. They're definitely things of the future, not only for bass boats, but for any boats. I'm going to be using Lithium Pro batteries this year, so I'll have the absolute top products in electric power on my boat. I can't wait.
Asking a favor
I've talked a lot about new products in this column, and you can probably tell how excited I am. But these are new products for us, so Chris and I would love to connect with other folks out there who are using them. That would really help us get a feel for the community and build new relationships. So please reach out to us on our social media and get the conversation going. Tell us what you think about Mercury or SPRO or Lithium Pro or Power-Pole. Send us some photos of your Power-Poles in action. All that good stuff. It's going to be a great year.
Facebook: Cory Johnston Fishing