Lew's and Wally Marshall partner to develop next generation crappie tackle

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (March 15, 2011) - Lew's announces it has entered into an exclusive marketing agreement with famed crappie angler Wally Marshall to develop together the next generation of Wally Marshall™ Signature Series and Mr. Crappie® rods, reels, pre-mount combos and fishing line products. Lew's officials say the partnership is a logical fit for the legendary American fishing brand that is focused on a return to prominence.

"This latest move is taking us back to our original roots of how Lew's began more than 60 years ago," said Lew's President Gary Remensnyder. "Lew Childre started out selling bamboo poles for panfish anglers, and that eventually led to his design and introduction of the famous Bream Buster poles that were favorites of panfish anglers for years to come. Then Wally came along in the 1980s with his unique vision for the crappie market, and he's been the crappie authority ever since. Bringing his brands and product development expertise together with ours under the same umbrella makes perfect sense."

Lew's and Marshall have more in common than just an interest in crappie products, and that is Lynn Reeves, a fishing industry veteran who acquired Lew's nearly two years ago. For many years previously, Reeves was a top manager at a leading fishing tackle cataloger/retailer, and that's when, in 1996, he contacted Marshall about designing a series of crappie rods.

It wasn't long after that the Wally Marshall Signature Series crappie rods hit the market and were a hit with crappie anglers everywhere. Within a couple more years, Marshall launched his Mr. Crappie brand of rods, reels, line and accessories. Since then, while most freshwater products have remained focused on bass, Marshall's crappie brands have continued to grow and prosper as a result of his promotional efforts, from the successes he had using them along the crappie tournament trail, and through the exposures provided by the national cataloger/retailer. Marshall has indeed become "Mr. Crappie."

"Hey, this has been a dream come true for me," said Marshall. "And now I feel like a kid all over again to have this opportunity to work alongside Lynn once more on the Wally Marshall and Mr. Crappie brands that we launched together 15 years ago. He is a master at developing rods and reels per angler input, and it's amazing what he has done with Lew's products in just little more than the year that he's owned the company. I'm thrilled to be working him, Gary and the rest of the Lew's team. I can assure you that crappie anglers of all ages and skill levels are going to like what they see coming in this next generation of Wally Marshall and Mr. Crappie products."

Reeves says he has had already begun work on the Wally Marshall Signature Series rods and reports the first models will be in the hands of the popular Texas-based crappie pro soon for testing. "Wally's signature rods will be marketed under the Lew's label, and built with the same attention to quality and innovation by which Lew Childre founded this tradition-rich brand so long ago. It's a pleasure to be working with Wally again on the specs and actions for his rods and various other crappie fishing items. The end result will be the right products at the right prices."

While some of the new Wally Marshall Signature Series and Mr. Crappie products will be announced and available yet this season, the full lineup is slated for 2012 and will be revealed at the annual ICAST fishing tackle trade show to be held this summer in Las Vegas.