Ben Fleischacker went into the professional world early, but could never break away from the rural lifestyle; from fixing fences to branding and fieldwork, it has always been a part of his life. Growing up in a small community, the values of a strong work ethic and accountability were instilled in Fleischacker at a young age. Today, those same values carry into his lifestyle at SCHEELS.
“Work ethic is a prerequisite to work here as the expectations are very high. Since we operate privately and are an employee-owned company, all of our decisions are based on our own money,” says Fleischacker. “We run a lean workforce… if something needs to get done, we never say ‘that’s someone else’s job’– if you need it done you figure it out.”
Fleischacker believes the vast access to public waters, as well as cost-efficiency, makes the activity of fishing so popular amongst smaller communities and rural areas. “With fishing, a person can spend $100 and have enough fishing equipment and tackle to go out and catch about any fish,” says Fleischacker. “A boat is not needed in most situations although it sure is a game-changer.”
There are a lot of different qualities to consider when purchasing a new rod and reel at SCHEELS. For Fleischacker, it’s all about making the right investment. “When I first started fishing, I used whatever gifts I received or what I could afford after saving money,” says Fleischacker. “Like most people just getting into it, I did not have the best quality gear. Eventually, I made the leap and started buying higher-end rods and reels, and have not looked back since. The enjoyment I get from using quality gear is something that is hard to explain but quickly experienced.”
When it comes to fishing products and industry trends, SCHEELS is a very nimble company and their buying team is digging into the business on a daily basis. They strive to have the best products on the shelves, along with all of the hot brands and bait. From catfish to walleye to bass to fly fishing for trout, SCHEELS is actively chasing products to help support their customers’ passions. However, it’s not just rods and reels that are important for a great fishing experience–there are some must-have fishing products to ensure you have not only a fun fishing experience, but a safe one as well. “Having a first-aid kit is a simple but universal answer,” says Fleischacker. “It’s not a matter of if but when you will have to remove a hook out of your body!”
Other must-haves include life jackets as well as multi- tools. “Multi-tools are something I like to always have on me or in my tackle box,” says Fleischacker. “I can use pliers for removing hooks, files to sharpen hooks, and the tools have come in handy when making quick repairs or tightening screws on equipment.”
As a SCHEELS fishing expert, Fleischacker wants customers to understand the importance of purchasing high-quality fishing products beyond rods and reels.
“Our fishing department teams are constantly on the water and can speak to what they personally use or what they wish they would have had to make their lives easier,” says Fleischacker. “Typically when we sell something to our customers, there are always complimentary ‘things and stuff’ that will give our customers another edge at being successful.”
For avid fishermen and women, Fleischacker believes shopping at SCHEELS offers a unique customer service experience you won’t find elsewhere. “We have the brands, the assortment, and the experts to give our customers the best retail experience available today,” says Fleischacker. “Our fishing teams are end-users, meaning they are actively fishing throughout the year. In addition, our internal training programs are second to none and we do everything possible to ensure our employees know the ins and outs of new products and techniques.”
SCHEELS is all about passion, and for Fleischacker, passion means devotion, obsession, focus, determination, and sacrifice. “My passions in life are a combination of those five words,” says Fleischacker. “I have a passion for conservation, but without devotion, obsession, focus, determination, and sacrifice, I will not move the needle in the right direction. Even with something like putting in a new fence, without a solid plan to make it straight and tight, it will look like garbage and continually worsen over the years. However, by giving it ‘passion’, the fence can be used for decades.”
For fishing enthusiasts reading this, Fleischacker has some fun memories as well as tips for you to have the best fishing experience possible! “Have some fun and seek out a mentor! My best fishing memories were always shared with another person,” he says. “I will never forget when my grandpa caught a five- pound largemouth off of a beetle spin. It was the biggest bass he ever caught and we were fishing a small farm pond. My fondest saltwater fishing memory was when I watched my dad catch a sailfish that put on a show for us with tail dancing and jumps. Pictures help remind me of those days, but I still have the memories etched in my mind.”
As far as fishing tips and advice, Fleischacker understands that fishing can be challenging at times, even for the best anglers. “There are plenty of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams that have public access and plenty of fish in them. Panfish and bass are some of the easier fish to target when starting out due to their aggressive behavior for most of the year,” he says. “Don’t overlook catfish as well. They can be great to eat and put up a good fight. Find out what your local public waters have for fish species and then do your research on how to catch that fish. Finding a mentor will expedite the learning curve, so do not be afraid to ask one of our SCHEELS Experts to help.”
Fishing and a love for the outdoors is something that SCHEELS Fishing Expert Ben Fleischacker has loved since his childhood. Fleischacker grew up in Nebraska, helping out in his grandfather’s vet clinic, and together they enjoyed catfishing and bullhead fishing in the Little Blue. Fleischacker’s obsession with fishing grew, and over the years he has fished in many different states, countries, and bodies of water.
Visit the SCHEELS location in Fargo at 1551 45th St S, Fargo, ND 58103 to work with Fleischacker and the rest of the fishing experts.