The Berkley story is deeply rooted in the idea of the American Dream. It is about humble beginnings and unexpected success. It's about hard work, struggle, and tough times. And it's about building partnerships to accomplish goals. Still, the story of Berkley is much more than the story of Berkley Bedell. It's also the story of dedicated co-workers and loyal customers, who were equally willing to take risks.
It all began in Spirit Lake, Iowa, in June of 1937, when 16-year old Berkley Bedell took $50.00 from his paper route earnings to start a business selling his hand-tied flies to fishing tackle shops and vacationing anglers. In his upstairs bedroom, with hair clipped from the family dog, Stubby, and feathers from the backyard chickens, young Berkley crafted flies to entice local bluegill and bass from their underwater cover. The Berkley Fly Co. was founded.
By the time Berk graduated from high school in 1939, he was employing several area girls who made flies, silkworm gut, and cable wire leaders in their homes. The business soon outgrew Berk's parent's basement and living room. He expanded to the second floor of the local grocery store, using a tub filled with ice and a fan for air conditioning.
After attending the state university and serving in the Army Air Corps, Berk returned to Spirit Lake in 1945 to start Berkley and Company. The business focus was on its cable wire leaders. One evening, while reading Popular Science, Berk learned about a Connecticut company that was producing nylon-covered cable for sailboat rigging. After visiting their plant, he began to work on nylon-coated wire for use in fishing leaders. Soon, the Steelon? leader was introduced and production began in Spirit Lake. Shortly after this, the distinctive Berkley heart logo was designed with the slogan "nylon leader with a heart of stainless steel."
Berk next became interested in extruding nylon monofilament fishing line. At that time, all nylon came from DuPont. After receiving a license from DuPont, Berk returned to Spirit Lake to begin work developing equipment to produce nylon. The initial extrusion equipment consisted of reclaimed washing machine wringers, bicycle wheels, and other homespun materials. Soon Berkley was marketing private brand mono as well as Dew Flex monofilament. Ongoing experimentation would soon yield the company's breakthrough innovation - Trilene.
In 1959, Berkley introduced Trilene at about the same time DuPont introduced Stren. To help introduce the new line, Berk sent out thousands of sample spools of line and asked store owners to have their best fisherman try it on a spinning reel. Fishermen loved the line and it began the successful launch of Berkley Trilene.
The next four decades were a time of great growth for the company. In the 1960's Berkley entered into the rod business, which lead to international expansion in the 1970's. Soft plastic baits made an appearance in the 1980's. The 1990's through today have seen significant technology improvements in all of the Berkley products. From the beginning, Berkley has committed significant resources to research and development - a continuing strategy that has resulted in countless product innovations, including Berkley Trilene, the Lightning Rod, PowerBait, FireLine, and more recently Gulp!? and Gulp! Alive.
The Wildhunter Brand
Wildhunter is a brand that was set up over 20 years ago. Wildhunter has been supplying the Fishing, Hunting and Outdoor sports communities for over two decades and we are still growing. We have Five Main departments that we have a large selection of products in.
Fishing Tackle and Fishing Equipment
We began our trade supplying fishing tackle and fishing equipment to anglers in the midlands of Ireland. We have fishing supplies for Pike Fishing, Trout Fishing, Sea Angling, Coarse fishing and whatever other type of fishing you might need fishing tackle for. We take pride in our large selection of fishing gear and we are constantly building it every day.
Hunting & Outdoor Sports
Our selection of Shotguns and rifles is second to none in Ireland. We have a very large showroom in our shop in Athlone. We have a huge selection of Centre Fire Ammo, Rimfire, Cartridges, Lead Pellets and more. We also carry the accessories and hunting equipment needed like Shooting Sticks, Thermal & Night Vision Devices, Ammo Bags and Belts, Hunting clothing and more
Camping and The Outdoors
Our camping department is also one of our growth sectors. We have a choice of multiple camping tents for one persons to family sized tents. Camping gas cookers, Sleeping bags, paracords, Camping furniture are all available whether you are an experienced camper or not
Airsoft & Archery
We have some serious Airsoft Pistols and Rifles and other airsoft guns for customers to see in store or on our website. Gas powered pellets guns and spring pellet guns are becoming increasingly more popular in Ireland with multiple Airsoft communities and Bow and Archery groups always on the rise
WatersportsWatersports has been our latest venture in Wildhunter. We have for a long time been supplying life jackets and other essentials for anglers but most recently we have began supplying Floating Towables, Kayaks, Wetsuits and Stand Up Paddles Boards. This is our new sector and will continue to grow!
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