Get to know: Savage Gear Product Manager Mike Bennett

Mike joined the Okuma team in 2009 as has since joined the ranks as one of the top big bait fisherman around.  Also known as Big Bait Bennett and TheHawgFather, Mike likes to get out and do just that, throw big baits.  We had a chance to sit down with Mike and get a little of his story.


Okuma– Have you been fishing your whole life, and what got you started?

Mike– I got started at a young age thanks to my dad who used to take me fishing almost every weekend. Living in Colorado at the time, we started off trout fishing with bait, lures and then flies and from there branched out slowly to bass fishing and offshore saltwater as I got older.

Mike with nice Brown

Okuma– Clearly your dad was a big influence on you.

Mike–   Thank god for his patience with me not only while on the lake but every night he came home and I pelted him with a hundred fishing questions.

Mike with a 48 lb Stiped Bass

Okuma– How did you get started in the fishing industry?

Mike–  My first job in the fishing industry came at age 18 when I got a job at a local tackle shop that closed about a year after I started. I then moved into a chain of Southern California tackle shops and the fishing bug has stayed with me ever since. Fast forward to when I was 31 years old and I got hired at Okuma Fishing Tackle as a Customer Service Rep.

Sushi time

Okuma- Sitting in the customer service department, you got the opportunity to talk fishing with fisherman from all around the country.  Generally over the phone, you got to learn key techniques and pick up tips from the folks that would call in, and eventually put that to use.  Did the time in Customer Service help you move forward?

Mike– My fishing knowledge let me grow with the company and soon I was promoted to product department assistant. I was working in the product department when Okuma took on distribution rights for Savage Gear in North America and Canada.

Mike overseeing Bluegill production

Okuma– Savage Gear was primarily known as a Pike/Muskie brand when we took the distribution on in the US. 

Mike– Savage Gear being a European company had little that matched up to our fisheries and we spent a year rolling out a USA program. Since then we have fine-tuned the program and grew Savage Gear USA to the company you see today.


Okuma– Savage Gear has some incredibly realistic and lifelike baits like the Suicide Duck.  Is this new technology?

Mike– The process we use to develop a new bait today is still the same we started with. We start with a 3D scan of what we are trying to mimic and from there adjust the body/segments to get the swimming action we are looking to achieve. After some trial and error and plenty of testing we release the baits in the USA and abroad.

Suicide Ducks

Okuma– Speaking of testing, that has to be pretty cool, and lead you into some pretty unique fishing opportunities.  Do you still get out and fish regularly? 

Mike– For sure. I still fish a lot in both freshwater and saltwater with big swimbait fishing for largemouth bass/ musky and striped bass being my favorite.

Mike along the beach in Mexico doing some “Testing”

Okuma– Obviously, we are based in SoCal, but if you had to choose a destination where you had to live out your fishing dreams for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Mike– I have fished some of the best off the road spots in the USA in both saltwater and freshwater and have to say for its diversity in fisheries and the access for normal anglers that Florida gets my nod as a top destination any time of the year.

Mike with a nice Marco Island Tripletail


Mike is a great guy and very personable.  If you get the chance to sit down and chat with him, he might just take you to one of his secret spots and put you on some big fish.