Why Two Brothers Walked Away From Six-Figure Jobs To Teach The World How To Fish.

By: Joseph Simonds on December 22, 2015
Found In:

salt strong founders

And then it hit me like a bag of rocks…

Maybe no one else knows the truth either…

It was the day before Thanksgiving, and through the power of Facebook, one of my old friends from high school sent me a private message to meet up for a beer after he saw that I was in town.

After shooting the breeze for a few minutes on how life was going, the conversation moved to talking about work.

My friend Josh asked,

“So this Salt Strong thing is your full-time job… as in you really sold everything and burned all bridges behind to start a fishing apparel company that teaches people how to fish?”

Quite honestly, the question caught me off guard…


Because I figured most of my friends, family, and even our website visitors all knew that Salt Strong was more than just some hobby…

Not to mention, Luke and I have been working on Salt Strong pretty much 7 days a week (we don’t work as many hours on the weekends of course) to get this lifestyle brand off the ground…

And this wasn’t some random old high school friend that just heard about my new adventure, this was a guy that I’ve kept in touch with and he had even actually purchased multiple pieces of Salt Strong apparel from us!

keep calm and fish strong

Here is my good buddy Josh Baker with one of his numerous Salt Strong shirts on

I mean, he was a repeat customer… Josh was up there with the cream of the crop in terms of what an apparel company dreams of during their first year in business…

Yet, he had no idea that this was our full-time job…

Clearly, Luke and I had not done the best job communicating that out to our audience…

And later that night it hit me that perhaps most of our fans, the Salt Strong Fishing Tribe, the 2 million YouTube viewers, and the almost 3 million visitors to our website had no idea about the truth either…

So here is the TRUTH.

Why We Walked Away From Six-Figure Jobs To Fish

salt strong brothers

I will never say that Luke and I were miserable with what we were doing in the financial services industry because that wouldn’t be true.

And I wouldn’t say that our reason for walking away from it all and selling our company was due to not being happy with the money we were making…

Moreover, it wasn’t because we were having a bad year with our old business…

In fact, we’d like to say that we were at the height of our careers. More financial advisors in the country knew of us and were subscribing to us at any time in my 13-year career in the industry…

Heck, I had even just published my second book (that can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble called, “The Authority Advisor”) a mere three months before deciding to say goodbye to an industry that served me incredibly well!

So why did we walk away from it all?

It really all boiled down to a lack of being fulfilled.

In other words:

  • We weren’t waking up every day in love with our jobs
  • We didn’t feel like the financial services industry was our calling
  • And we certainly didn’t see ourselves doing what we were doing our entire lives (regardless of making six figures per year each).

After much discussion with ourselves, my wife, and some close associates and mentors, Luke and I agreed that life was too short to not be 100% happy, and we knew that we would regret it later in life if we didn’t take the leap of faith and follow our dream now…

So what was it we wanted to do?

Well, Luke and I had talked about owning a fishing company ever since college…

We just had no idea how it would look, no idea on how we could make enough money to support ourselves (and my ever growing family), and we didn’t have any idea when the right door would open (if ever)…

But then one day it happened, and it was surprisingly quick.

There was an offer for our company (we weren’t even really trying to sell it), and we knew that this was the chance that we had been dreaming about and talking about for years…

So we agreed on the deal, and Salt Strong was now officially going to be born…

And our ultimate mission with this “American Dream” lifestyle company came down to these three overriding reasons for the existence of Salt Strong…

More importantly, three big PROBLEMS that we knew we could help solve in the fishing industry.

Reason #1 – “The Fishing Circus”

funny fishing gear

Luke and I have been fishing our entire lives.

Consequently, we have spent a small fortune buying fishing gear, fishing tackle, and fishing apparel over the last few decades.

And over the last decade, we have seen the saltwater fishing apparel (and freshwater for that matter) take a turn for the worse…

The only way to describe it is that it seems as if the fishing apparel companies all started trying to outdo each other on who could get the most realistic fish, use the most colors, and put the most graphics on a shirt, hat, etc…

The result 10 years later:

“Most of the new apparel hitting the shelves look like it belongs in a circus, not a fishing boat.”

So when Luke and I finally made the leap of faith to quit our jobs, sell everything we had, move my entire family down to Tampa from Atlanta, and burn all bridges behind, we knew one of the most important aspects to Salt Strong was going to bring a STRONG and SIMPLE brand back to the fishing industry.

In other words, we were dead set on disrupting the saltwater fishing apparel industry by creating the highest quality gear that we would actually wear (and wouldn’t be heckled at the boat ramp and marina for looking like a clown…)

Want to take advantage of unheard “Limited Time Pricing” on the strongest, softest, most breathable, UPF 50+, permanently designed microfiber performance fishing shirts on the Internet?

Then click here to get premium quality fishing shirts at an incredibly low price.

Reason #2 – “Teaching The World How To Fish”

teaching the world to fish

Problem number two that Luke and I were willing to risk our entire life savings on was based on that fact that there were way too many new fishing apparel companies popping up, but none of them were providing one critical piece of the puzzle…

How to actually catch the fish on the back of the shirt they were trying to sell you.

Heck, it’s not that hard to find a good designer and slap a good looking fish on the back of a performance shirt and try to sell it…

But it takes a truly special apparel company to actually teach you how to catch the fish on the back of your shirt.

And isn’t that what fishing is really all about… trying to catch fish…

Moreover, Luke and I feel that one of the biggest threats to the future of fishing is the fact that there is not enough teaching and education on fishing.

Let’s face it, if the next generation isn’t into fishing because their parents didn’t pass the love of fishing on to them, then eventually there will be no more anglers to keep improving and growing the fishing community.

So our goal at Salt Strong is to help you look amazing both on and off the water… especially when you come back to the dock after a day on the water with a ton of great fish for dinner and/or some awesome pictures from the eventful day on the water.

More importantly, we wanted a fishing apparel company that really stood for something.

And our mission is that Salt Strong stands for:

  • Supports fishing
  • Supports fishing conservation and respecting the fish
  • Supports passing the love and fishing down to the next generation

Oh by the way, how many fish has your other fishing apparel company helped you catch???

Reason #3 – “God’s Whisper”

fisher of men

God instructed Jesus to become a “fisher of men” and make “disciples” of fishermen

Regardless of your religious beliefs (we don’t judge), we know that without a doubt God has called us to build Salt Strong.

Through some pretty vivid dreams, visions, and almost miraculous doors that had to open for us to start and grow this dream company, we know that God has his hand in this.

And we are not afraid to publically admit it.

In fact, we are so certain that this is what we are called to do that Luke and I sold everything, left our nice paying jobs when we had more momentum than ever, and have risked our entire life savings to build Salt Strong.

Which begs the question…

How Does Salt Strong Make Money?

what is salt strong

The second most frequently asked question that Luke and I get when meeting new people or seeing old friends is…

“So how does Salt Strong make money… and are you guys able to pay your bills?”

The second part of that question usually comes from my parents, my in-laws, and other closely related friends and family…

And we can’t blame them… there were a few moments when Luke and I didn’t know ourselves how we were going to make enough money to support ourselves and our families this past year…

For instance, during the first quarter of Salt Strong’s existence, it looked like we were going to make our money from ads on our site (due to the wild amount of traffic on our site).

But we quickly realized three things:

  1. Anglers like you hate the obnoxious ads that are on many of the fishing sites today, you hate having to wait 30 seconds for an ad to play, and you hate the intrusive pop-up’s and banner ads that usually don’t even have anything to do with fishing
  2. On the other hand, anglers like you want to get behind good brands they believe in, they enjoy owning high-end gear, and there was a huge group of anglers that agreed there was a need for strong and simple fishing apparel
  3. Finally, Luke and I quickly agreed that we would rather build a business around fellow anglers that we enjoy working with instead of big corporations paying us ad money that we would have no real relationship with

So today, Salt Strong makes money the following two ways:

  • The sale of Salt Strong apparel and other Salt Strong gear on our Shop page (we have a unique 30-day Challenge where you can put our apparel to the test however you see fit for a full 30 days and return it with no questions asked if you aren’t 100% satisfied).
  • From our loyal Private Memberships for Inshore Anglers (we have paid memberships that guarantee you’ll catch more redfish, snook, and trout in less time or you get 100% of your money back). You can find out more here.

How Can You Be Part Of Salt Strong?

  1. Buy some Salt Strong apparel in our new online store
    1. From free Salt Strong decals
    2. To our top of the line microfiber fishing shirts
  2. Follow us:
    1. Like our public Facebook page
    2. Join our private Facebook group known as the Salt Strong Fishing Tribe
    3. Subscribe to us on YouTube

Want to take advantage of unheard “Limited Time Pricing” on the strongest, softest, most breathable, UPF 50+, permanently designed microfiber performance fishing shirts on the Internet?

Then click here to get premium quality fishing shirts at an incredibly low price.

What Does Salt Strong Mean?

To proudly wear the Salt Strong logo means:

  • You support fishing
  • You support fishing conservation and having the backs of your fellow anglers
  • You support passing on your knowledge and your love of fishing down to the next generation

Here is Luke and I briefly discussing what being “Salt Strong” means to us.

Salt Strong Core Beliefs

“We Believe”

Here are our Core Beliefs at Salt Strong:

  • We believe in Family
  • We believe that we can bring families closer together through fishing
  • We believe that America needs more Tackle Boxes and Less Xboxes
  • We believe in always saying, “Please”, “Thank You”, “Sir”, and “Ma’m”
  • We believe than any fishing apparel company can slap a good looking fish on the back of a shirt… but it takes a special fishing brand to help you catch the fish on the back of your shirt…
  • We believe that all anglers are created equal
  • We believe that it is our duty to teach the next generation how to fish
  • We believe that kids today will remember their best fishing experiences 50 years from now
  • We believe in sharing fishing tips instead of keeping them secret
  • We believe that Strong Anglers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexes, and differences
  • We believe that Strong Anglers don’t mock other angler’s, don’t belittle other anglers, and don’t start fights with other anglers… we’re in this together.
  • We believe that a passionate Tribe of anglers can accomplish anything together
  • We believe that fishing is under attack and we must do everything in our power to ensure future generations can enjoy fishing like we did
  • We believe that it is our duty as anglers to respect and protect our fisheries
  • We believe that the two most powerful things to heal people are prayer and salt water… in that order.
  • We believe that too much of the new fishing apparel today looks more like it belongs in a circus than on the water
  • We believe that fishing apparel needs to go back to the days of being bold but simple
  • We believe that fishing apparel needs to last long… like it did in the old days
  • We believe we can change that…
  • We believe that “Pa-POW!” is a word
  • We believe in listening to, loving, and respecting our customers
  • We believe in ALWAYS telling the truth and being transparent
  • We believe that America is the best country in the world
  • We believe that anglers can unite to make America a better place
  • We believe that “Merry Christmas” is what you should say during “Christmas”
  • We believe that if you don’t stand for something then you stand for nothing
  • We believe that we need to give back to the military, the disabled, those suffering from cancer, and those that don’t have the same liberties we have
  • We believe that we can make huge impacts in people’s lives and in family’s lives through fishing
  • We believe that there is no better legacy to leave behind than passing on the love of fishing to the next generation
  • We believe that God has called us to start Salt Strong
  • We believe that we can change the world through fishing
  • We believe it so much that we quit our jobs and sold everything to make it happen.


Luke and I can’t thank you enough for all of the support and for helping make Salt Strong what it is today.

We literally can’t do this without anglers like you, and we hope you have enjoyed our story on why we created Salt Strong.

Finally, we can’t wait to see how big this gets, how many people we can impact, and how we can all join together as anglers and make the world a better place.

P.S. – If you think your friends or networks would like to see this post, please Tag them or Share this with them. It would mean a lot to me.


Want to take advantage of unheard “Limited Time Pricing” on the strongest, softest, most breathable, UPF 50+, permanently designed microfiber performance fishing shirts on the Internet?

Then click here to get premium quality fishing shirts at an incredibly low price.

Leave a Reply

15 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
Luke SimondsDmytroJoe SimondsTony LawrenceChris Wenstrom Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Notify of

Have you guys considered shipping stuff internationally? In the country where I live all of the fishing apparel is surely of the “looks more like it belongs in a circus than on the water” category, and the hi-tec UV-protection clothing found in regular outdoor stores is priced like it’s made of pure gold. I’d rather order some from your store, but you seem to only ship within the US currently.

Luke Simonds

There are many added complexities to shipping internationally, and we have not yet had time to build a system to handle it. Thanks for showing interest in our apparel. Tight Lines!


Yeah, that’s understandably not an easy topic. Well, hope you grow and develop enough so that you can do that eventually. Wish you all the best, you’re doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, I will probably look into the package forwarding services of companies like Shipito and Meest which accept domestic US shipments and then re-pack and deliver them (in a cheap way, by sea) anywhere in the world. That might work.

Luke Simonds

Awesome! Thanks for understanding and for your support.

Tony Lawrence

I’m so proud to be a part of the Salt Strong Tribe!! I thank you for stating your beliefs and I am right there with you!!! The time I spent on the water fishing with my son has so much to do with the man he is today!!! Keep on Strong!!!!

Chris Wenstrom

•We believe that the two most powerful things to heal people are prayer and salt water… in that order.

–That pretty much sums it up. You guys are awesome. I believe in and support everything that you guys are doing. I have learned so much more than I ever expected from SaltStrong, especially being a lifelong Florida angler. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, and taking this leap of Faith required a tremendous amount of trust in God. I love reading this article more and more each time, and felt the need to drop you guys a line this time to simply say thank you. I think all the members here can agree that you guys have had a major impact in our lives, and it clearly shows. We are like walking billboards for you guys!!!

Your products are the best, your customer service is tops, and your dedication to your brand had made Salt Strong what it is today.

Thank You Thank You Thank You for everything. God Bless and tight lines!

Anthony Koegler

I stumbled across your website looking for tips for saltwater fishing as well. I grew up fresh water fishing, so this seems like a totally different world, learning the tides and what’s in season. I appreciate the tips and videos that yall share. I look forward to trying out your techniques and hopefully getting on the tournament board! I’ll definitely support yall and find it very inspiring that you were able to answer your calling. If I could quit my job and dedicate to fishing I would! Thanks again for everything guys! Hope your lines are always tight!

Luke Simonds

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment! Yes, saltwater fishing can often seem like a different world compared to fresh water. But you’ll soon realize that they have many similarities too… I now use many of my favorite saltwater lures for bass fishing in lakes and I’ve caught many snook, redfish, and seatrout on my favorite bass lures.

We’re thankful to have your support. Fish On!


I stumbled across you guys while looking for fishing tips on youtube while i am deployed to antarctica for work and have to say that your story is amazing and inspiring and God is doing great things with yall! Keep up the good work and tight lines!

indra fardian
indra fardian

its nice to do or work for living that is include something that you like, im jealous with you guys lol…. keep it up with the great work salt strong, im learning a lot about saltwater fishing from u guys

James Scarborough

Thanks for sharing your story. I’m a big fan of what you’re doing and want to see you succeed beyond your wildest expectations. You deserve it.

I’m looking forward to your forum. If you haven’t already decided on software, take a look at this Gizmodo article. It’s pretty good.

I’m going to pay for an annual Insider Plus membership to help you raise the money to pay for the forum development.


Great job. We live in Bradenton, would love to catch up with you on the water.


I am standing with you in your beliefs and your success in this venture. How do you see this business furthering God’s kingdom?

James Scarborough

Merry Christmas and best wishes for your continued success.

Susan Simonds

Gotta love these guys!


I kind of now what you mean about the fulfillment aspect or careers. A few years ago I sold a sheet metal company to go to seminary. I must admit that there has been times of doubt and have even considered quitting school to enter the fishing industry on one side or the other. It has been scary and exciting all at the same time. Being a high school drop out I have proven that one doesn’t need a high education to make money if that is the end goal, but I also learned that money does not and cannot buy happiness and true joy. The latter being the most important. Sometimes I think others that are able to just fish are living my dream, but then God shows me that my dream will be far less fulfilling than His calling. I believe that if infact you are answering Gods calling you will find a tremendous amount of joy and no amount of money can buy that. I wish the both of you all of the best. God Bless and keep the honor and glory where it belongs. Charles,

James Sheehan

What brand and model boat is that in the background?

Luke Simonds

Hey Capt. Jim, that is the boat we’ve had in our family since 1996… it’s a 21ft Release made in ’96. It originally was their standard grey hull, but we overhauled it about 7 years ago and painted the hull black with a white deck.

It has been an amazing boat for us for many years, and there will surely be many more great memories made on it for years to come.

Fish On!

James Sheehan

The boat looks great! Who did the hardtop? I love the grab handles on it.


Hey guys,
I followed you and bought marketing content from you on the financial marketing side. I used to live in the area you all fish in and did a lot of fishing myself growing up in Port Charlotte. I now live in Louisiana..and yes great fishing, but not the same as down where you are. I still really enjoy all the content/info you share and will be trying out your gear in the future.—Good luck!

Luke Simonds

Hey Derrick, great to hear from you! Thanks for the continued support.

Be sure to enjoy those monster reds in marshes over there… I get jealous every time I see those huge copper reds exploding on flies and topwater lures.

Fish On!

Jack Connor

Ok guys I know the real reason you started SS and it is simple. You’d rather fish or talk about fishing than work. When you love what you do you never work a day. And best of all you don’t have to shave.I swapped out conference tables for boats in 2010. I was putting friends in the ground at an alarming pace and many of them had conversations with me about how we would fish and live if ever given the chance. Far too many of them never had the chance to fulfill that dream. So now I live on a 40 foot trawler , have two skiffs for fishing and exploring, still work some in the Bay area, but never ever wonder what I will do next. It’s right there.

Luke Simonds

Hey Jack, thanks for the continued support. How awesome to see that you’re living on a trawler and have two skiffs just waiting to be used at all times… living the dream!!!

Susan Simonds

Living the dream Jack, living the dream!