“2020 fast-tracked our development unlike any previous year,” says Gillies General Manager Billy Parsons from the company’s base in Australia. “With limited travel to factories, shows or customer meetings, we had a lot of time in the office and that allowed us to pack three to four years of planning into a short space of time.”
Gillies has always been a nimble company, says Parsons. And that made 2020 a lot easier to navigate. Product development accelerated with multiple new models under the Tassie Devil and Bluewater brands. Although these product lines could not be more different, says Parsons, they are both best sellers internationally and brands that Gillies is ‘incredibly’ proud of.
Parsons adds: “With many of the Australian fishing shows that we sponsor unable to go ahead, we created a huge amount of content, including a branding advertisement for Tassie Devil which encompassed what it means to our production family in Hobart, Tasmania. We are super proud of how it presents the brand and the beauty of Tasmania. The Tassie Devil brand continues to grow and is established in 30 countries across the world.
“The flagship new product for 2021 will be the Tassie Devil with a non-lead core. We understood the need many years ago to build our lures like that for certain regions – especially Europe. New moulding machinery, huge amounts of development with some leading engineers and the refinement of compounds has produced a lure that looks and feels exactly like the original.
“The team has also made a real skin that will fit over the core to facilitate patterns and colours that have never been seen before in this style of bait.Our moulding process, combined with this development, will be a game changer which allows us to create any pattern our customers can imagine. We have also developed some larger spoons and spinners that mirror the profile and action of our current models for anglers in Canada, Russia and Europe. The spoons come in 20g, 25g and 30g versions, while the spinners measure 12g and 15g. We have always listened to the needs of international customers and work hard on getting them products specific to their regions.”
In the development of the Bluewater brand, the expansion of hand-made lures and skirts continues to be at the forefront. “The popularity of our 120mm Bullet bait will see another three sizes introduced,” says Parsons, “while we have launched a four-inch version of our skirt in the clearest resin available that has filled a void in the range.”
The big introduction for Bluewater this year will see the popular Bluewater Minnow redesigned and remodelled. Adds Parsons: “We wanted to mould a lure that was capable of creating patterns and colours never seen before, while maintaining the high speed and performance for which they are known. The BM Elite series does just that. Initial testing and feedback from our pro anglers has been exactly what we expected and we are looking forward to getting them into production in April.
“Although we would love to re-engage with all our customers, suppliers and colleagues in 2021, it looks like another year of cancelled shows and limited travel opportunities, so getting our message to all and communicating more will be a focus for the team. Gillies looks back on 2020 as the most challenging year imaginable, but also one of the most rewarding. Our message to our partners is that we look forward to sharing our hard work of 2020 with you all.”