Steve Henderson’s love for fishing is why he does what he does. He is shown here in the shop with Bill Yeargin, President and CEO of Correct Craft, SeaArk’s parent company.
Surrounded by fishing every day.
by Ron Presley
Steve Henderson has been around boats and fishing all of his life. It was inevitable that his early childhood and later his career would include both.
“I started fishing on the Arkansas River from the time I was old enough to walk,” recalled Henderson. “My Dad owned a boat dealership and was an avid bass tournament fisherman so I was introduced to competition from an early age.”
He recalls the tournament that sealed the deal for him and strengthened his desire to tournament fish as a way to satisfy his competitive nature.
“I can remember fishing a father/son tournament when I was about 8 years old,” said Henderson. “Tournament rules allowed weighing any species of fish. We came in second place with a striper and I won some money and a trophy. From that day forward I was hooked.”
The boat dealership provided both employment and fishing opportunities for Henderson. He has progressed steadily in his fishing ambitions and his chosen career in the boat business. He now serves as President of SeaArk Boats.
“I have been in the business all my life,” Henderson said. “I started out washing boats and mowing grass. I graduated to rigging, then parts and accessories, then sales, and finally to manager. Travis Boating Center acquired our dealership in 1999. I managed the Little Rock location for 5 years before going to work for SeaArk in early 2003.”
Henderson credits his love for the sport as the reason for choosing his career path. The boat business, a love for fishing, and a drive to compete have served him well.
“My love for fishing is why I do what I do,” continued Henderson. “What I enjoy most about fishing, in addition to being on the water and enjoying nature, is the fight. When you get that initial hit and the fight begins there is no better feeling. The anticipation of winning the fight and seeing what is on the other end is the ultimate rush.”
Henderson continues to fish bass tournaments at various locations in his home state of Arkansas. And, his job has led him to some fairly exotic destinations to catch bucket list fish in other parts of the world.
“With work I don’t get to fish as much as I would like to,” reported Henderson. “I still fish bass tournament on the Arkansas River and other lakes around the state. Being in the boat business I have been blessed to be able to catch marlin in Cabo San Lucas, salmon in Alaska, redfish in Venice, LA, catfish with our awesome prostaff, and my favorite Peacock Bass in Brazil. I will fish anywhere anytime for anything if given the chance.”
Henderson loves catching catfish and fishes with SeaArk prostaff as much as he can. He caught his personal best 55-pound blue while fishing with Arron Wheatley on Wheeler Lake in Alabama.
“Where I live in Arkansas, they just don’t grow like they do in other areas,” conceded Henderson. “But every opportunity I get to go to places like Wheeler—I jump at the chance.”
SeaArk Boats is known for its support of the catfish community. They regularly provide boats, prize money and other assistance to various tournaments and catfish related causes. Much of this is due to Steve Henderson.
“I love competition,” stated Henderson. “In fact, this is the reason that we started supporting catfish tournaments. Back in the early 2000`s, I started to hear of catfish tournaments. I searched hard to find one to support. It was tough until I ran into a guy named Ken Freeman. Ken had big ideas and we supported him with boats and was able to get Suzuki Engines on board. Catfishing has really grown over the years and now it’s not hard to find a tournament to sponsor. Now I get calls daily.”
Being in the boat business means that Henderson is surrounded by fishing every day when he goes to work.
“I am blessed to wake up every day and build a product that people use with family and friends to make memories enjoying the great outdoors,” stated Henderson. “Catfishing is a big part of our business. Every day is spent building catfish boats, talking to customers, discussing marketing strategies for advertising to the fisherman, considering tournament sponsorships, planning the SeaArk Owner’s Tournament, developing future product, and prostaff interaction.”
With respect to building boats, his business side is always attentive to the economy, current and future.
“The economy is always my biggest focus,” related Henderson. “Currently the economy is good but downturns are always expected about every seven years and we are in our tenth growth year. So, we need to be sure that we are listening to and designing new product that the customer wants if market share shrinks.”
Henderson recognizes conservation as one of the most important issues in the catfishing industry. Additionally, he is pleased to see the formation of the American Catfishing Association (ACA) as a potential unifying link in accomplishing conservation goals and more.
“Conservation and protecting the environment should be the most important thing to all sportsman,” declared Henderson. “We have to preserve and protect for our future and our children’s future. The catfish community has grown enough that it needs a voice to support and promote conservation. I am excited that there are organizations popping up like the ACA to help achieve this.”
“As an individual, I hope people remember me as a good guy that loved God my family and friends. A person that cared deeply about my work-family and our customers and supported both to the fullest. Finally, I hope I had a small impact on the industry I love.”
“The catfishing industry has been great to SeaArk Boats and we plan to continue to support anything that can help it grow and prosper,” concluded Henderson. “That support includes tournament fishing, conservation, or anything that sheds a positive light on the sport.”
“The people in this industry are unique and some of the best folks that I have had the pleasure of meeting and we are proud to be a part of it.”