From energy, expertise and experience to innovation, ingenuity and insight, Harry Simmons knows what it takes to be the best. He has listened to the best, learned from the best and worked with the best. Now he's bringing the best of the best to Victory Hooks, where he fits like a Palomar knot fits a swim jig.
If Harry were to write his own biography, he'd call it "God, country and bass fishing."
He's a man of faith, a 20-year veteran of the United States Air Force, a family man, an accomplished angler and an extraordinary salesman and innovator who has spent the past 35 years both home and abroad accumulating an extensive knowledge of the fishing tackle industry and in particular, fishing hooks.
Harry's passion for fishing grew from his youth in southern California where his dad occasionally worked on Sundays as a substitute deck hand on a party fishing boat. Sometimes, Harry was allowed to tag along, and his love for the sport continued to grow when his family moved to the Midwest. He entered the Air Force at the age of 19 and found himself in locations from Vietnam to Anchorage, Alaska, where he continued to take advantage of any opportunity to wet a line.
After retiring from the Air Force, Harry dabbled in tackle manufacturing and sold jigs and spinnerbaits that he created. From there, he moved into sales for Shorty's Hooks in Missouri, a bulk distributor that handled Mustad, Eagle Claw, VMC and Gamagatsu hooks. That led to a position with Mustad where for 15 years Harry put his knowledge and experience together with input from bass fishing's top anglers to improve old hook designs and develop new ones.
Over the years, Harry built relationships with some of the sport's icons, including legendary anglers Hank Parker, Virgil Ward, Kevin VanDam, Guido Hibdon, Woo Daves, Tommy Martin and Denny Brauer, to name a few. He's listened to their needs, as well as those of lesser known anglers, and helped address them through product development. He knows the business side of fishing, as well, and brings both a lifetime of knowledge and a specialized skill for organization from his military days as a parts specialist.
There's little, if anything, Harry doesn't know about fishing hooks, and that includes their origins and history.
"I remember my mom telling me years ago when I was a young teenager, 'You need to forget this fishing idea because you'll never make a living at that,'" recalls Harry, who has won two fully rigged bass boats as a competitive angler. "I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time with the right skill sets that allowed me to get into the tackle industry."
Now it's all coming together at Victory Hooks.
"There's been a lot of thought and a lot of design go into these new hooks," says Harry. "Some of the hooks I helped create back in the 90s are still very good hooks, but some of them just aren't strong enough for today's braids and telephone pole rods and all the combinations we see today.
"We've worked these hooks in such a manner that these hooks are strong, they still fit basically the same molds and we've changed a few angles -- very few angles -- to create better hook-up ratios and at the same time adding a lot of strength to what we've got out there.
"I honestly believe this company is going to grow to be one of the biggest hook manufacturers in the world."
The biggest, and the best.