Episode 6: “On Deck” with Branden Franklin of Power-Pole

June 3, 2020

Together as an industry—manufacturers, fishing guides, ambassadors, tournament fishermen, recreational anglers—it’s important that we are a voice for our water quality and don’t let it slip as a priority. After 15 years with Power-Pole, Branden Franklin affirms it’s a mindset that must be intentionally passed on to each generation.

About Power-Pole

With the unmatched versatility of Power-Pole, you have a shallow water anchor that deploys silently, holds strong and gives you the best shot at putting more fish in the boat – all at the touch of a button. Power-Pole puts control in the palm of your hand.

About “On Deck”

“On Deck” is a short film series sharing the stories of guides and businesses dealing with COVID-19 and the importance of water quality, presented by Captains For Clean Water. Check out more episodes.

Diving Deeper with Branden Franklin

Senior Manager of Product Support, Power-Pole, Tampa, FL

Q: Tell us about yourself and how you came to love fishing.

A: I’m a fifth generation Floridian from Tampa. I’ve fished Tampa Bay and the West Coast all the way to the Keys for my whole life. Ever since I was little, my family’s always been into fishing. Coincidentally, I wasn’t sure if it was luck or the right place at the right time, but I fell into the fishing industry at an early age and been here ever since. I have two daughters, I’m not sure that they enjoy fishing yet, but they’ll take any chance they can get to get on the boat, play in the livewell, and wash the boat.

Q: Where is your favorite place to fish and what’s your favorite species to target?

A: I’m kind of torn on that. I don’t really have a favorite place to fish, but I love beach fishing for big snook. I have a soft spot in my heart for big snook. I don’t want to single any fish out, but it’s really, really hard to pick one. Big breeder snook stick to the passes and the beaches, and you can sight fish them, you can fish for them at night or fish for them by the boat. There’s just nothing better than seeing a big snook and watching them eat. 

Q: Do you use live bait or big lures? 

A:  I’m mostly artificial. That’s a challenge now with little kids. And so, I’ve dusted off the cast net and gone back to my roots of live bait fishing. 

Q:  What’s your role at Power-Pole and how long have you been with the company?

A: I’ve been with the company a little over 15 years. I started early on when we were in a really small facility. We didn’t have much of an office or production facility, I’d say it looked like a garage. I had a Power-Pole on my boat at the time and I broke the spike so I stopped by and happened to ask if they were hiring. They were behind on orders and pretty much hired me on the spot. I really love my job here and the best way I can summarize it is, I make sure that anybody’s experience with our company is the best that it can be. It involves a lot—it’s customer service, new product testing, the entire warranty aspect of the business, the dealer interactions with the business, everything from pro staff to team. A lot of us wear a lot of hats here. There’s not a lot of people with set titles, we all help each other and make it work. 

Q: What are some of the conservation efforts that Power-Pole is engaged in or passionate about? 

A:  We try to engage in conservation as much as possible and our best approach to that is starting with our employees. We have an inside team called our CAST net team, it stands for Conservation Action Service Team. We put as many employees into as many opportunities as we can whether it’s volunteering, actively speaking on conservation, or just being involved in the community or conservation efforts we know of. As a manufacturer in the industry, it’s really important that we’re a voice and we’re encouraging others. If we’re not influencing people and not doing what we’re involved in all the way through, we’re not doing our roots any kind of justice all. 

Q:  When it comes to conservation, you’ve mentioned the importance of passing the torch to the next generation. In your opinion, what’s the best way to inspire or encourage that passion?

A:  It’s something we’re really passionate about. Power-Pole is actively involved in everything from kids fishing camps to high school fishing leagues, college fishing leagues. It’s investing in the future generation to carry that torch on and to inspire that passion from an early age and an understanding that it’s our duty to protect these resources and be the voice for them. Because if we’re not willing to protect it for generations, there is really no reason to fight for it. 

Q:  What are some of the ways Power-Pole had to adapt during the Covid-19 crisis?

A:  Within a week, we had to completely alter the way we ran our business. Within a week, we shifted a large group of employees to their home offices. We gave employees the option to stay home if they wanted to stay home and allowed them to use PTO if they didn’t want to come back to work. We did everything possible to first protect our employees, while continuing to support all of our customers that were calling in or were wanting to place orders or needed help with their current products. It was a major challenge, but in the long run, it was good for us to do it because one of these essential activities that increased during that time was boating and fishing. 

More people were getting on the water as an escape from all the madness that was happening.We gained a lot of new customers and interest in our products, but more importantly, more people that we can educate about the environment and why it’s so important to protect these resources—so they’ll be around for a long time for all of us to to enjoy. If this didn’t happen some of these people might never have had the opportunity to do stuff like this.

Q:  How did you first learn about Captains For Clean Water and what made you decide to get more involved?  

A:  Since my early days in Power-Pole and tournament fishing, I’ve known Chris Wittman for a long time, he’s a good friend of mine. I was really excited just to know that him and Daniel were spearheading something like this. From day one, I told Chris, any way I can be involved or any way Power-Pole as a company can be involved, don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s something we’re passionate about, it’s our duty as a leader in the industry to do our part and spread the message and help people like Chris and Daniel and Captains For Clean Water get that message out to people everywhere. 

Q:  What’s your favorite item of Captains merchandise? 

A:  I would probably say the camo trucker hat and YETI® water bottle, I have it on my desk full of water every day. 

Q:  Where can people connect with Power-Pole online and find out more about your products?

A:  Any of our social media outlets, our website, and we have an active blog where we share a lot of our collaborations and stories. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and www.power-pole.com. 

Q:  Final Thoughts?  

A:  I encourage everybody, whether you’ve hired a fishing guide in the past or not, or have family members who come to visit you, now is a time more than ever to use those guys as a resource and let them show you what we have to offer in this beautiful state. Fishing guides know this place better than anybody and it’s our turn to help support them in a time when they need it most. 

About “On Deck”

“On Deck” is a short film series sharing the stories of guides and businesses dealing with COVID-19 and the importance of water quality, presented by Captains For Clean Water. Check out more episodes.