John writes: “Every company has to start somewhere. And for tackle brands, those beginnings are usually more humble than most. Take GURU, the subject of our latest battle of the brands competition alongside Preston. You may not you remember when the brand was first launched, but I do, and it all started with a delivery of some nondescript and, quite frankly, less than awe-inspiring white buckets. A far cry, I promise you, from where GURU sits today as one of the most popular and distinctive match fishing brands in the country.
“It was around 2009 and I was working at David Hall Publishing (DHP) as Total Coarse Fishing’s Business Development Manager. The editor was Kevin Wilmot, who some of you may know, and it was the heyday of angling publishing. We worked in the same offices as Match Fishing Magazine, Pole Fishing Magazine, Total Carp and Total Sea Fishing. We were used to deliveries of the latest top-end poles, brand new reels and best-in-class seatboxes. All for testing, photo shoots and reviews.
“You can imagine the fight for the kit as it came in, pretty much every day. And there was a definite pecking order, with me somewhere near the bottom. Editors first, followed by deputies, the product guys, the junior writers and, eventually, the business development manager.
“Into this scrum of high-end tackle one day come several white buckets. They are there courtesy of GURU product development manager at the time Alex Bones. Nothing to mark them out as special. Not even a clue as to what was inside. But I clearly remember one thing. They weighed an absolute ton. Guys were intrigued. What had Alex delivered to us? Like I said, I had no idea. We had to wait for the first lid to be opened. And there filling the bucket were… some of the very first method feeders that GURU ever produced.
“Like I said, I was well down the pecking order to try them out. But Kev Wilmot was not your stereotypical domineering editor. He was a true gentleman. And he kindly gave me a couple to try. ‘See if they are any good,’ he told me. ‘And let me know.’ I didn’t take long to report back. Never mind the bland packaging, these method feeders were outstanding.
“From that day GURU has been a firm favourite of mine. I can’t think of one time when its products have let me down. They are functional, well thought-out and ultimately they do what they are meant to do, and that‘s help anglers put more fish in the net. The bait strainer is one of my all-time favourite pieces of kit. You can probably think of many others. If you have a favourite, let us know. We’d be delighted to source it for future competitions. Humble beginning for sure, but GURU has come a long way and we’re delighted to bring you there gear here at TackleSwoop.”