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 Pure Fishing
  • Sleek design conveys desired brand message and          accentuates Pure Fishing’s innovation

  • Style and function were honed by months of                 research, studies, and focus group testing

  • Successfully cast Pure Fishing as a brand                          synonymous with new technology and innovation

  • Thorough research and highly detailed prototypes       lead to solid design decisions

Where they were

Pure Fishing had developed an innovative mechanism to help less experienced anglers. They wanted to use this innovation to position their brand as the technical leader in the industry. 

Where we took them

The Mitchell 308Xe is a smart, sharp-looking reel that is still selling out ten years later, and Pure Fishing has become known for innovation and advanced technology.


In the early 2000s, Pure Fishing surveyed the fishing reel marketplace and found that there was no industry leader who was really advancing the technology of the fishing world. Seeing an opportunity, they began to develop new mechanisms that would distinguish their brand. The first to emerge was the NeverFail™ Bail Spring System, a clever way to combat line twist when the user wound the reel too tight. The mechanism worked brilliantly, but Pure Fishing was unsure if the market actually wanted it and if it would be enough to position them as an industry leader. So they came to us to find out if and how they should present their new design to the world.


The first step was performing a competitive analysis. We wanted to find out what was on the shelves and how the individual components of a reel—handle, knobs, rotor, materials, etc.—contributed to its overall perception. We analyzed eight reels and documented the impressions of each component. Concurrently we preformed ergonomic studies where we observed what made for a comfortable and natural feel. We did powder tests with anglers to learn how different people handle the reel and rod when they cast. These tests along with human factors research helped us put concrete numbers on the desirable ergonomic traits.

Engineering Meets Styling

With a solid understanding of what makes a quality reel, we began sketching concepts for the aesthetic of the new product. Our competitive analysis had revealed some opportunities to improve the look of Pure Fishing’s Mitchell line of reels (e.g. the body could do with some slimming down, and the edges could be sharpened). We applied these insights to generate a number of sleek concepts that conveyed precision machining and highlighted the new bail system. Pure Fishing reviewed our concepts and after a few iterations, we had two distinct looks that they wanted to pursue.


The next step was to get the reel thing (haha!) in front of real anglers. We built two high-quality prototypes and organized a focus group study. We assembled a group of anglers and asked them questions about their typical fishing experience, their spinning reel purchase history, and how they feel about various brands. We then presented the prototypes to the group, letting them examine the new designs and try out the NeverFail system. Through Q&A and worksheets, they gave us some great info on their impressions on the look and feel of the concepts. After the focus groups, we performed web surveys to gather even more feedback.


The Reel Deal

We made one final CAD model of a design that combined the best features from both concepts as identified in the focus group and surveys. Pure Fishing was extremely pleased with the new look and happy to learn that the NeverFail system would be a hit. Once the product moved into the production stage, we worked with their manufacturers to make sure they maintained the look everyone loved. Finally, from this sea of research, concepts, and fish guts, the Mitchell 308Xe emerged, gleaming with innovation, precision, and a fierce look with a look that says do your worst, line twist! Over ten years later, the 308Xe is still hugely popular, and Pure Fishing has become synonymous with innovation and advanced technology thanks to the reel’s successful launch..


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