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It was May 2012. An avid angler was planning a family trip to Colombia. He was wondering if he could add the opportunity to catch a peacock bass to the travel itinerary. To prepare, he decided to drive over to Bass Pro Shops Miami to find lures to catch peacocks. While walking through the fishing section, a store employee came up to the angler and asked if he needed help. He said he was just looking. The employee jokingly said, "I bet I could make you spend a lot of money here." He introduced himself as Chris Hunter.

The angler did not know Hunter was a local stick and fishing guide with quite the catching reputation, but he soon realized he was talking to a guy with a lot of fishing knowledge and experience. They walked the aisles and Hunter showed him which lures he used, what colors worked and when, all while sharing his techniques. Hunter never told the angler to buy anything, but of course he ended up buying several lures.

During their "walk and talk”, the angler mentioned he was traveling to Colombia and would be doing some fishing. Hunter made a request- "If you see any peacock bass hats, pick one up for me." When he returned to Bass Pro Shops after the trip Hunter asked about the fishing. The angler said the fishing was poor and he didn't see any fishing hats with peacock bass. Hunter responded, "It's a shame there don't seem to be any good peacock bass fishing hats anywhere." That comment gave birth to 444Sportswear.

Turns out the angler was an artist and photographer with experience manufacturing garments in Miami and Honduras. After much thought, he decided to create a logo and do a painting of a peacock bass underwater for printing on a shirt. He added a rifle scope sight to the image that "targeted" the peacock. He made a couple dozen hats embroidered with the logo entitled

"Peacock Hunter"- a tribute to Chris. With hats and T-shirts in hand he returned to the Bass Pro Shop.

You see, three years had passed, and the angler had no idea what the reaction would be, or if he would be remembered. He found Hunter in the terminal tackle section, walked up to him and said "I think I finally found what you were looking for." He took the hat out of the bag and handed it to him. Hunter was completely surprised. He loved the artwork and was extremely humbled by the fact that his name was incorporated into the design. With Bass Pro and Hunter's help, the reception by the public was overwhelmingly

positive. Thus began John Helm’s friendship with Captain Chris Hunter, the Peacock Hunter brand, and Fish Hunter Designs. John put these designs under his 444Sportswear and began his fishing apparel brand concept is to provide products that show the fishing mindset of the “Passionate Hunter”- a fisherman who wears his fishing passion literally on his sleeve.

John Helm, the founder of 444Sportswear, grew up and still lives in Somerset, NJ. He created 444 Sportswear and its line of sublimated fishing apparel after meeting Chris Hunter at Bass Pro Shops in Doral, FL A family cabin in Stokes State Forest, NJ gave him a lot of opportunity to develop his passion for fishing all while fishing with his dad. He has fly fished the Snake River in Idaho and makes an annual Steelhead trip on the

Salmon River in Pulaski, NY. Living in Jersey allows him to enjoy fishing for Stripers and Fluke in Raritan Bay and surf fishing the beaches of Point Pleasant and Island Beach State Park. As you might guess, his favorite fishing for Peacock Bass, Largemouth and Snook with his friend Chris Hunter. 444 Sportswear incorporated in 2016 and maintains an office and distribution in Somerset, NJ, distribution in Doral, FL and manufacturing in Central America. John does all the design and oversees production at partner facilities in Guatemala.

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