In 2000, after leading another major rod component company for 10 years, Bob Batson took a leap of faith and started a fishing rod blank and component company that would reflect his own mission and values. Bob and Connie Batson’s first employees were their son Bill Batson and nephew Karry Batson. Bob set out on his mission drawing on his experience, integrity, and network of worldwide manufacturing partners, and in a few short years transformed Batson Enterprises from a humble home-based business into the most trusted rod component supplier in America. Batson’s continued growth hasn’t stopped since.
How did you first come up with the idea?
In Bob Batson’s younger days, he was a Paniolo (cowboy) in upcountry Maui. He and his family lived a very simple rural Hawaiian life, living off the land, what they could barter for locally, and what they could harvest from the sea. Out of necessity and artistic drive, he started building his own fishing rods. Bob’s craftmanship quickly became in demand by the island’s angling community so he opened a custom rod shop called Phantom Custom Rods. His custom rods gained a reputation as some of the very best in the islands. They gained further notoriety when featured on the show “Fishing Tales” and were also featured in the book “Fishing Hawaii Style”. Many of Bob’s classic rod builds are permanently displayed in the Batson Family Custom Rod Collection (estimated to be the largest and most diverse custom rod collection in the world) located at the Batson Enterprises home office.
In 1990, Bob and his family left Hawaii to fill a lead role at a prominent rod and component company in California. Eight years later he facilitated the relocation of the company and eight willing families from California to Sequim, Washington. The Batson Family thrived in the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and in 2000 Bob set his sights on supplying fishing rod component his way.
In 2003 tragedy struck the Batson Family and the sportfishing industry lost an icon. Bob Batson died suddenly from a massive heart attack resulting in Connie, Bill, and Karry Batson taking their own leap of faith and pouring their hearts and souls into continuing Bob Batson’s mission. In 2021 Bob was inducted into the Custom Rod Builders Guild as a Legacy Legend.
What is your strength now?
Today Batson Enterprises is a premiere supplier of quality rod blanks and components to the fishing rod industry. Our focus is simple but requires great effort. We provide top quality product that allows rod builders, big and small, to be successful in their craft.
The pandemic has challenged the sport fishing industry as much as any other. Batson Enterprises has leveraged its expertise and partnerships both domestic and foreign to amass its largest inventory in the company’s history, allowing our customer to keep building rods when our competitors have been crippled by stock and logistics issues.
How do we manage to stand out from our competitors?
Batson stands alone in its commitment to providing a trifecta of quality product, backed up by old-fashioned knowledgeable service, at a competitive price. There are a lot of discount or “factory direct” blanks and components on the market that are hastily designed and produced, which can end up costing builders their brand reputation and future sales.
Batson provides quality and delivery that rod companies and distributors can and do count on. The number of long-time Batson accounts is a testament to personal attention we give customers, and the combination of performance and value we provide. Batson does not cut cost from our products or team members, and it’s reflected from start to finish, from product conception and engineering, all the way through quality control and fulfillment. We mean it when we state that: The Best Fishing Rods Start Here.
Do you share strong values with your company?
As a family owned and operated company, the Batsons have cultivated a team which operates under family values and look out for one another. Batson believes that retaining high-quality long-term team members is best for people and the bottom line. While the Batson Team is made up of a diverse group of characters, each member shares the solid values and ethics Bob Batson ingrained in the company’s culture from the beginning.
Do you have any projects or products that you are proud of and that have made you famous?
Batson is probably best known for our Rainshadow rod blank brand. To date, there have been over 1 million Rainshadow rod blanks sold worldwide. This milestone is a source of pride for the Batson Team. However, an even greater achievement is the fact that most of those blanks are still serving serious anglers around the world. Batson doesn’t see many rod blanks come back, and when they do, there’s usually an accidental breakage story that comes with. Rainshadow blanks perform at a high level without sacrificing durability.
Another legendary brand in the Batson arsenal is the Alps line of rod components. Batson’s enduring partnership with Alps has yielded some of the finest componentry a builder can put on a fishing rod. The Alps factory is based in Taiwan, produces machined aluminum parts and precision-formed guides at a quality level that has proved unattainable by our competition. The Alps brand has become consistent with quality fishing rods the world over.
What may have become our most recognizable brand, Team Rainshadow, doesn’t represent any one group of products, but rather symbolizes the people that make us great. Team Rainshadow is made up of our staff, pro staff anglers, pro staff rod builders, and friends of Batson everywhere that enjoy fishing rods created for the way they fish, and are out on the water doing what they love. As long as the Team Rainshadow crew keeps building and fishing, we’ll keep the family growing.
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