by Tim Huffman
Industry Pioneer…Buck Simmons
“Buck Simmons recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Crappie Masters and was inducted to the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. Buck has designed, improved and made cutting-edge fishing poles for many decades. His BGJP pole, Buck’s Graphite Jig Pole, forever changed crappie fishing. He has made our fishing more efficient, enjoyable, and has always supported crappie magazines and tournaments. If you have held a long pole for crappie or bluegill fishing, it was developed by, or at least influenced by, Buck Simmons.” …Tim Huffman
Wilson “Buck” Simmons, long-time owner of BnM Pole Company, started working after school in the summer when he was 12 years old. He went to Mississippi State and spent two years in Turkey while serving in the Army, then returned to work.
The BnM story? Simmons says, “It started as the Broom and Mop Company. We had broken broom handles we couldn’t use, and somebody suggested we attach them to bamboo poles for bream fishing. We retailed them for $1.50, and that was a lot of money back then. In about 1957, we started making jointed poles. Our next pole was our first fiberglass called the Little Jewel for bream. Next came the Cadillac that was a fiberglass telescopic for crappie. That pole was a big seller because at that time it was the lightest pole available.
“Jigging was getting really big in Arkansas, and those fishermen wanted something lighter they could fish with all day long. We made one stiffer than a fly rod and with eyes. Once the word got out, we started selling them. We called it our Buck’s Graphite Jigging Pole.”
Business strength? “From day one, we had inventory. Some companies don’t. I always took pride in that.”
Other comments about your career? “I really had fun. I traveled with business friends. I got to fish a lot especially when travelling. Fishing at home was usually work because I was trying to improve the poles.”
Any advice? “It’s simple. Live by the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Buck was born in 1937. His fishing hero is a friend named Cotton. American heroes are Ronald Regan and John Wayne. His favorite food is fried chicken. Sport team, Mississippi State basketball. Favorite hobbies include his dogs, goats and horses. Pet peeve: liars. Biggest crappie, several over three pounds.
How would you like to be remembered? “As being the man who developed the best product that improved the way people catch crappie.”
*Profile from Tim Huffman’s book, Limiting Out for Crappie. Kindle ebook; or paperback available from Amazon.