The provincial government is setting up Black Fox Fishing with $50,000 in Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation funding so the Batchewana First Nation-based company can crank out its compact ice-fishing rod holder and hook setter – known as The Trigger – more effectively in the future.
Black Fox Fishing owner Brendan Syrette and vice-president Mike Babcock were joined by Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano and NOHFC representatives in Batchewana First Nation Friday to make the announcement.
“This means that we can bring in some more equipment, something a little more heavier duty that can actually withstand productivity,” Syrette told reporters after giving Romano a demonstration of The Trigger. “It really opens the doors for development here at Black Fox Fishing, that’s the biggest thing.”
“Production is something we’ve always been challenged with from day one - we didn’t realize that the product was going to be in such a high demand.”
Black Fox Fishing has sold roughly 12,000 units of The Trigger since Syrette opened up shop in June 2017, primarily through word of mouth.
Syrette and company produced about 4,000 units for the 2018-2019 ice fishing season, but he’d like to up productivity in order to have 10,000 to 15,000 units good to go for next season.
The provincial funding will enable Syrette to acquire printers, drill presses and the means to build better jig tables - in addition to hiring three full-time employees.
Romano stressed the importance of creating jobs and diversifying the economy locally.
“We want to see more of this, we want to see more entrepreneurs come forward with great ideas and promote job growth for our region - and great products that are going to make things for people that are maybe going to make their lives easier, more exciting and more fun,” Romano told SooToday.
A portion of the funding will also enable Black Fox Fishing to trademark The Trigger, which is available in nearly 50 Canadian Tire outlets and a number of other shops.
“That’s how a product is – if it’s a good product, it’s going to go on its own,” said Syrette.
Black Fox Fishing has a new product in the works, but Syrette was tight-lipped with reporters.
“It’s better and more fun, that’s all I can say,” he chuckled.