Local family business caters to fishermen

 Anchor Wizard makes anchoring easier

EVART -- Whether sport fishing or just trolling the local rivers for the catch of the day, the frequent lowering and raising of the anchor while moving from spot to spot can be a pain, especially in cooler weather.

The Anchor Wizard was developed to make the fishing experience more enjoyable by using a pulley system to raise and lower the anchor.

It is the invention of Evart resident Bruce VanScoyoc, who has owned and operated Hicks Lake Grinding in Evart since 1996.

According to his son, Kameron, the idea was born out of the need for his father to keep his hands out of the water while fishing in the colder months.

"When we were younger, we would go fishing in the winter for steelhead up in the Manistee River," Kameron VanScoyoc said. "Dad would have to pull the anchor in with his hands, and he got tired of getting cold hands while fishing. He came in here one day and said he was going to develop a better system. And he did."

After about six months of trial and error, Bruce VanScoyoc developed the tiller mount system for lowering and raising an anchor, and in 2005, Anchor Wizard was created.

"I was making them and welding them together for guys I knew, and then they started ordering more," Bruce VanScoyoc said. "I remember thinking 'Do I really want to take this on?' My dad told me since it works so well, I should go for it. Now here I am."

Anchor Wizard is a family business. After dealing with some health issues, in 2012, Bruce VanScoyoc's sons, Kameron and Keevin, stepped up to help with the business. They have since developed a smaller unit specifically for kayak fishing.

"Kayak fishing is becoming a big business and a lot of people are devoting their time to it, so I decided to focus on the Kayak Anchor Wizard," Kameron VanScoyoc said. "It just made more sense for our company just to get us into the market. The larger units are more costly, so the market is smaller for them."

Bruce VanScoyoc started out by taking the anchor units to sports shows around the country, where he would sometimes sell as many as 50 or 60 units in a weekend.

The Anchor Wizard is now available in 67 specialty sports shops around the country, as well as locations in Canada, Germany and Australia.

They are currently working on plans to get their products into some of the retail sporting goods chains, such as Dunahm's Sports, Dick's Sporting Goods and Cabela's.

"I would really like to get in Dunham's because it's local," Bruce VanScoyoc said.

Kameron VanScoyoc said their greatest marketing tool is word of mouth.

"When people get a hold of one of them, they just start talking about it, and that's been great for us," he said.

They also sponsor club events providing products to give away and offer discount codes during the winter months, and they continue to frequent sports shows to display their products, he said.

"Anchor Wizard wouldn't be what it is today without my boys," Bruce VanScoyoc said. "They are really into it and they make it happen. It is exciting and overwhelming at the same time."

You can find all the Anchor Wizard products online at anchorwizard.com.

To contact Anchor Wizard, call (888) 808-8999, or visit anchorwizard.com.