Fish On: How Scotty Manufacturing conquered the world of fishing

Fish On: How Scotty Manufacturing conquered the world of fishing - Douglas Apr/May 2024
Scotty’s 17 injection moulding machines produce everything from fishing downriggers to firefighting equipment.

Pretty much every vessel — motor or sail — on Vancouver Island has a Scotty downrigger, rod holder or other piece of marine hardware from this 70-year-old firm. 

In 1952, Blayney and Almeda Scott started a small company in Victoria with the intent of pioneering the use of that new, space-age material, plastic, to fabricate fishing lures and other marine products. From this humble beginning, Scotty Manufacturing evolved to produce thousands of products under the Scotty trademark, focusing on fishing, marine, outdoor and firefighting industries worldwide. 

With strong roots in commercial fishing, Scotty saw a market for this new, lightweight and waterproof material. Sport fishing was the perfect fit. Scott Plastics produced its first fishing and boating catalogue in 1963 to showcase the revolutionary new products being manufactured for the industry. The business was a bootstrap early on, with some of its early moulding machines made from surplus airplane parts.

In 1973 Scotty created its first downrigger. It was light, portable and built to withstand northwest waves and weather.

In 1990 the company’s now-famous electric downrigger was launched, and quickly evolved into a user-friendly, must-have fishing accessory.

In 1999, Scotty launched a line of firefighting equipment, now grown to more than 60 products, from nozzles to water-carrying backpacks.

A new 90,000-square-foot facility was built near YYJ in 2000. The cavernous space is equipped with a state-of-the-art machine shop, 17 injection moulding machines and staffed by 100 employees. The factory gave Scotty the ability to expand its product line and dramatically increase production.

The moulding floor runs 24 hours a day, six days a week. Raw plastic comes in the front door, finished product goes out the back. Once an item has been fabricated, it’s assembled and packaged in house, then shipped to Island dealers and around the world.