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Interview with Ontario's S.E.M Outdoors
When we talked to Chris Harper, Dave C, and Tyler Harper, they all said the same thing...they love Mega Jigs from SEM Outdoors. So, I checked out their products on their site and immediately became impressed with their lineup of products. Owner Steve Eric-Markovic took some time to answer a few of my questions.
GFN: Let me start with your history. How did you get into the lure making industry?
It all started a few years ago with my partner Mike and I making tube jigs for big Lake Erie smallmouth that were super strong but not too bulky and would fit into a tube without slicing it on the inside. At about the same time we also wanted flipping jigs with the worlds sharpest hook “Trokar” but everyone we talked to said they were too expensive and what they made was “good enough”….. We didn’t want good enough, we wanted the best. So we decided we would just start making what we wanted. We did and word got out…. We made jigs for a few avid anglers and a few tournament guys with them all saying the same thing… “why aren’t you guys selling these in tackle shops??” The following year we decided we would brand and make them available. I think this is a pretty common story in our industry.
GFN: What is the most rewarding part of doing what you do?
Knowing we are giving anglers the best possible products with the best components available at a reasonable price. We hear it from our customers all the time and we really appreciate it.
GFN: What is the most challenging?
Trying to explain to anglers that we spend money in the components and not the packaging because in the end it’s the product that gets bit and the packaging ends up in the garbage.
GFN: So many of the Ontario anglers I talk to rave about your swim jigs, what is it about your swim jigs that are earning such high praise?
Swim jigs have been around for a long time but only recently catching on up here. Our signature swim jig is based on a Trokar hook that’s crazy sharp and strong. Pair that with our custom silicone skirt and 3D eyes and the difference is obvious.
GFN: How do you make decisions about what hooks to use for your jigs? What is your current favorite hook?
It’s all about application. The best hook for the job. Flipping and swim jigs get a Trokar cause that’s the best…period. Tube jigs and football heads get either a Mustad or Gamakatsu...this is a personal preference thing for most.
GFN: I notice that you don't go crazy on skirt colors of your Trokar jigs, which I appreciate. Is there a reason you limit your colors? Will you take us through your different colors and when you choose to use each color?
As a tournament angler myself I find a core set of colors is all I throw…. If I need to add color into my jig its usually done by way of the trailer or chunk. That being said, we will be adding some more colors as requested by anglers.
GFN: What goes into your selection of trailer baits for your skirted Trokar jigs?
This is all personal preference. We don’t make plastic trailer baits. There are a lot of great plastics out there.
GFN: What products are in development that we can expect from S.E.M Outdoors in the next couple of years?
We have our Trokar underspins and Trokar spinnerbaits in the field currently. Should be available very soon. Some additional colors on skirts are in the works.
GFN: There are a lot of young anglers out there looking for sponsor companies. What are you looking for in the fishermen and fisherwomen you consider for sponsorship?
We just look for avid anglers that truly love the sport…. Clean and respectable presence on and off the stage, social media, etc.
GFN: Thank you so much Steve for doing this interview. I have many reviews of these jigs and they have all been outstanding. Make sure to visit the SEM Outdoors site as well as follow them on social media to learn about all of their products.