An angler would have fished with at least ONE product from Pure Fishing, Inc. , almost impossible not to when they are the leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio of brands which includes – Abu Garcia®, Berkley®, Fenwick®, Greys, Hardy®, Mitchell®, Penn®, Pflueger®, Sebile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, and Ugly Stik®, to name a few. (Info from Pure Fishing Inc.)
The main office and distributor for Asia is right here in Malaysia. With a staff strength of 22, Pure Fishing Malaysia (PFM) is responsible for distribution around South East Asia as well as China, Taiwan, India and more. The brands under Pure Fishing originate from America & Europe, with some prominent ones being around from as early as the very first world war, shaping the angling world we know of today.
Have you ever wondered, who are behind some of the brands we love under Pure Fishing Malaysia? How is it that tackles, lures, rods and reels from afar could work in our waters, for our species of fish?
Get to know the people behind PFM that is responsible for turning our angling dreams into reality.
Regional Manager, Asia
It is only apt that a brand with so much history is headed by an individual who has experienced the changes that are quickly morphing the seas, rivers and streams we fish in today. More than just having experience in the Sport, Quek is the reason behind the warmth that resonates with most anglers when they think about PFM. The driving force that keeps the company together as they embark on uniting the angling community, regardless of differences.
Quek is originally from an estate in Johore, one which provided him with many opportunities to fish in streams growing up. He was already working in a multi-national company when PFM was looking for someone to head the business in Malaysia, this opportunity as his colleague pointed out was the transition of a hobby into a job, an ideal goal to achieve for most of us.
That idea allowed him to build a team passionate about what they do, though not all of the staff in PFM fish, they need not have to either. It was important for the accountant to love accounting therefore it was no surprise that throughout the years, the company’s growth attracted individuals who were passionate anglers too. Having individuals who are well informed about the local angling scene allows them to develop and bring in products that cater to needs locally; “Bass and Toman are clearly very different”, he explains. The perfect combination for an amazing team, Quek highlights that without his team, the company is nothing and is thankful that Pure Fishing Inc.’s global company culture is a positive and supportive one too.
Shelves and walls of Quek’s office is adorned with photos and memoirs from previous trips, gifts from fellow anglers and a proud showcase of his beautiful family. He got us acquainted by showing us photographs of his wife and four successful children, as he speaks of their accomplishments proudly. Though Quek dabbled in Golf as part of his previous employment, his true enjoyment sparks from the outdoors and the positive effects on relationships that stems from the experience.
Quek tells us how the 80’s was a great era for fishing in Malaysia, a time where fish was abundant. Unfortunately, the years brought with it a decline in fish population, catching them became a challenge as the awareness for Catch & Release (C&R) was lacking, let alone practiced. He notes that recovery would take time but beams with delight as he highlights how the internet savvy generation of today has begun to promote C&R using powerful social media tools. There is hope, and as for the business and sport of fishing, Quek is confident it will remain alive and celebrated for many more years to come.
Tiong Soon Ho
Export Sales Manager (Asia)
Sales require unique skills, not everyone can sell; especially if the challenge is to sell American/European products to the Asian market. Ho was attached to an international company when he came across the Export Manager opening in PFM, coincidentally, he does recreational fishing too.
Over the last 8 years in PFM, his leisure fishing skills and knowledge has broadened however it remains clear that Ho is firm and disciplined in his job. More than fishing, Ho is a passionate sales manager and even more than all that, Ho is a dedicated husband and loving father to 3 lovely children. When not at the office, Ho enjoys spending quality time with his family, travelling, reading and when time permits, the occasional soccer or futsal.
The top three international sales provider for PFM outside Malaysia are Thailand, Indonesia and China. More than the local market, PFM stays up to date with trends across all their markets, for example with Fishing Rods – Vietnam and Thailand prefers 8-10 ft. rods, Malaysia 6 – 7 ft. rods and Indonesia, 5.6 to 6ft. rods. For all countries, the preferred products differ and he has to constantly be above the needs of these consumers too.
He adds that one of his biggest challenge is getting distributors to continue growing the Pure Fishing brands amidst the competitive local market which is expanding rapidly. Part of his job is to ensure that products in PFM are on par, if not surpassing, the requirements of markets in Malaysia and across all countries they cover. Naturally, the numbers are a driving force for Ho, he affirms “numbers come first”, without which, the ripple of its negative effects is detrimental to any company.
Though he sells himself short in recreational fishing, Ho landed one of his best catch even before joining PFM. A 30kg Great Barracuda in Tioman using an Ugly Stik Bigwater Rod, one that was manufactured from the U.S. Ho’s recreational angling target is now set on a Giant Trevally of 20kg’s and above.
When asked about the future of angling, Ho can’t help but notice that the industry has too many competitors which will continue to grow in the next five years. Like most of the staff in PFM, Ho too wishes for a solution that could curb overfishing, citing Japan’s regulations as an example we could possibly learn from. As for the angling community, Ho hopes for their supporters to come together regardless of their brand choice under the PFM umbrella and embrace this amazing sport as a community that shares positively.
A hope that we too feel strongly for.
Ong Boon Cheng
Ong, an avid angler himself, has a healthy obsession with his job. In many ways, he needs to be, with a role that requires him to study market trends and products under the PFM brolly well in advance. Though he has only been in PFM for 3 years, Ong has been fishing for more than 20. A proud husband and father of two kids, it is clear that fishing remains Ong’s first true love. One cannot miss the uplift in his voice when Ong begins to tell of his angling adventures out at sea or battling the explosive local Snakeheads.
His best catch was a 26.5kg Dogtooth Tuna caught in Maldives on a Fenwick Tornado rod and the Abu Soron STX60 reel spooled with Spiderwire Stealth 50lbs line, he claims it was 15 minutes of pure adrenaline. For Ong, a bad trip can only arise from bad planning, equipment failure and silly mistakes therefore it is important to have gear specified for every situation – be it finesse fishing, heavy cover, jigging, popping, etcetera. Different situations needed to be adapted to with gears suitable for it, he shared.
When not indulging in angling, Ong gets busy with everything associated with it- a boat enthusiast and owner of a few, Ong enjoys the wild outdoors with travelling and shopping thrown in. At the office, it is compulsory to start his day with a cup of coffee before drowning himself in product research and market trends. A fan of the Abu Garcia Fantasista range, Ong also takes pride in mastering what he said is the toughest bait cast reel within the Abu Garcia brand, the Morrum.
As an individual that adores the sport and wishes he had more time to indulge in his job, Ong feels strongly towards having a positive fishing regulation within Malaysia; one that keeps the fish population, anglers and future of angling alive and in-check. As a product specialist, Ong encourages new anglers to continuously research products and learn various methods in the sport to discover what his/her strengths and preference are in the sport.
Most do not associate women with the sport of fishing, let alone the business of it. Tessy is not just PFM’s marketing executive, she happens to be an angler too. Prior to joining Pure Fishing Malaysia, Tessy has been fishing for more than 5 years with her husband (then partner) Victor who introduced her to the sport. It did not go very well the fist time according to Tessy as as she caught zilch whilst bottom fishing – a method she does not prefer either. Since joining PFM more than a year ago, Tessy’s achievement and skill in the sport has grown tremendously. Today like most anglers, Tessy is a fan of jigging.
After countless species caught, Tessy picked her recent Queenfish catch in Port Dickson as her best yet as it broke a long dry spell fishing in PD’s trying deep sea for her. In reminiscing the best, thoughts of the worst would naturally surface; her trip to Pattaya had their best jigs fail as majority was bait fishing instead, a definite preference for the fish. Aside from fishing, Tessy enjoys reading and has immense love for animals, Cats especially!
At work, Tessy manages all the social media platforms of brands under PFM, she replies to all your enquiries , market their latest products online as well as print ads, manages and builds relationships with the PFM’s grassroot community as well. Tessy’s exciting job is governed by regulations under the Pure Fishing brand internationally to keep to its global standard. She loves that there is always something new on social media to look forward to at work, keeping her coming back despite facing the challenge most women in angling do; being taken seriously as an angler by the male anglers.
If you were not aware that PFM has a reel servicing department… well now you are. Investing in reels from some the best angling brands in the world requires a strong support to reap its rewards and have it last for generations to come. One of the two behind ensuring that for PFM is Seritaran, better known as Seri.
With a friendly smile, Seri does more than just service reels, he takes you on an adventure that unravels the secrets within your reels, giving you an in depth understanding to working with and caring for it. With 16 years of reel servicing experience, you would be surprised to know this was not his initial plan.
Growing up he played soccer for Cempaka F.C. in year 1998 and the sport remains his hobby today. Young Seri dreamt of moving to Australia and in order to avoid complications in achieving this dream, Seri declined several opportunities to settle down. Though the dream has passed, Seri now focuses on caring for his mother; we cannot help but admire his dedication which comes through even his job.
Joining PFM, Seri started out as a warehouse supervisor and was later transferred to the servicing department. Without prior experience, Seri took to the reel manuals, studying them religiously alongside hands-on practice; today, a regular service takes him 10-15 minutes only!
Over the years, he recalls with a look of fear in his eyes, the toughest reel he has had to service, “the Abu Garcia 6500, 2-speed”, he said shaking his head. From an initial issue of noise only, the complications kept arising, one after the other was solved. It took Seri a whopping 4-hours to complete the service, a record yet to be broken! His eyes soon lit up and with a confident tone exclaims that the PENN International stands as the easiest reel to service, “just 4 screws!”, he said delightfully.
Though Seri has been in PFM for 16 years, he has only started fishing a few months ago (2016). A deep sea trip in Kuala Terengganu landed him his first juvenile Grouper with an Abu Garcia Hornet Stinger rod and a PENN Conflict 3000 reel.
Naturally, PENN & Abu Garcia reels, PFM’s best selling brands, are the most he has serviced to date. Though Seri may not be living his initial dream in Australia, his presence and role in PFM is something we all appreciate – without a working reel, an angler’s gear is incomplete and without proper care from a professional, an angler’s reel may not live through generations, carrying with it the stories of amazing adventures. Seri’s role keeps all our angling dreams (and investments) alive.
Kay Fairuz (Kay Red / Toman King)
Abu Garcia Fan & one of Pure Fishing Malaysia’s Grassroots
The most active, kind & probably even the biggest Abu Garcia fan we have ever met is Kay Red. One of the many grassroots members of PFM, a man that most local anglers recognise as Toman (Snakehead) King, crowned from his achievement of landing 100 Snakeheads above 3kg’s in years 2014 & 2015 thus far.
Kay’s love for Abu Garcia is credited to his father who was a fan of the brand himself. Growing up and seeing his father in action, it was only natural that the first ever reel he bought was an Abu Garcia too. His angling journey began out at sea and and since being introduced to social media by his friends, Kay’s interest in the sport began to grow from various Facebook groups on angling – he tried out various techniques and began mastering each one before moving on to the next.
Upon catching his first Snakehead however, Kay was hooked from the explosive take. Sleepless nights with Snakehead thoughts saw him trying various methods, with one faithful Abu gear in his arsenal, Kay kept casting and landing Snakeheads. By April 2014, he landed a total of 60. With suggestions from his friends to land 100 above 3kg Snakeheads by end of year, Kay achieved the target before embarking on the AMCT in October 2014. His best catch stands at 14kg , a Snakehead from Royal Belum. Kay’s preferred gear is the Abu Garcia Revo MGX reel and the Abu Garcia Hornet Stinger MGS rod.
Kay suggests four most important factors to note when wanting to catch a Snakehead. Firstly, to know the whereabouts of the species and conditions they prefer. Next, being prepared for those conditions; taking out the light gears for a heavy cover game would mean one is not prepared to battle it out with a giant when they should be. Also, to not over-think, focus on the species you are after and proceed to achieve that mission without getting distracted by other species or situation that surrounds you. Lastly, blend with your surroundings to reduce your chances of getting detected by the fish.
Aside from Fishing, Kay is a horse vet and rider for the Putrajaya Corporation. Horses however remains Kay’s first love. Alongside the sport of fishing, Kay also enjoys the equestrian sport of Tent Pegging.
Kay fishes with only Abu Garcia gears since he started out, his loyalty is stemmed from the knowledge and trust that Abu Garcia is part of a company whose angling brands make history and is able to last a lifetime. Like many anglers today, Kay hopes that the younger generation not only gain awareness but work towards sustainable fishing, which could aid recovery of fish species around Malaysia, ensuring the sport continues on.
Fishing is an excuse to go outdoors with friends and family, to have fun. It is not always about the fish. It is the preparation for that day, the journey, having fun with friends and family; it is alright if they don’t catch anything, have fun and come back happy” -Quek, Regional Manager, Pure Fishing Asia
There you have it, the people behind the brands that stand the test of time. When we visit the PFM office, we hear stories of how Abu Garcia reels were brought in by the British during the world war and is used by young anglers today as a result of it being passed down through generations. If the reels could tell a story, could you imagine what they would say?
Without a doubt, when YouTube videos of major angling trips are done deep sea, a PENN reel almost always can be seen, the sound of it’s clicker ignites adrenaline and flicker of its gold, unmissable.
America’s toughest, most sensitive rods, the Ugly Stik will bend forever. Breaking them is itself a challenge. So much so, today, most rod makers use Ugly Stik as a benchmark for their rods, but there can only be one- the original, for a lifetime.
When videos of youth fishing pops up, they win their battles with Disney inspired rods that come from Shakespeare, when the youth are considered, they’re paving the way for young anglers to carry the passion over to the future. Shakespeare thought about and catered to that.
When we think of the marine environment whilst using plastic lures to fish, Berkley fishing creates biodegradable ones. When the environment is considered, our earth is cared for thus the generations to come can enjoy nature as we have, catching more fish and releasing them safely. Berkley lures got that covered.
Pure Fishing Malaysia has with it brands that moulded the sport of fishing and today, every product has been adapted to fit to the needs of young, innovative, creative & adventurous anglers. We are proud to be a part of the PFM community, because we started and will continue to fish with them.
Thank you Pure Fishing Malaysia, for taking the time to speak to us, giving us an insight to further discover and learn that the brands we love are in the hands of people that care for them most.