Angler’s Mail was surprised to hear the news as most major trade transfers happen late in a year, not early.
No announcement has yet been made on which tackle firm highly-respected angler Alan will join.
Shimano’s sales and marketing director Pete Chandler said: ‘Alan has been a great ambassador for the company over the years with results that are second-to-none, culminating in the unbelievable feat of five World Championship titles – four of which have been during his time with the company.’
South Yorkshire legend Alan commented: ‘I joined Shimano back in 1996, shortly after I won my first individual World Title, so I can only thank them for the many years of support that they have given me since.
‘After Mustad, they were my first main sponsor and with their backing it allowed me to fully commit to my fishing which was a massive benefit and helped me to get to where I am today.
I’m very grateful for everything that the company has done for me and to be involved in the design and development of some fantastic products over the years has been a real pleasure,’ added Alan.
Shimano took the opportunity to thank Alan for all of his hard work and commitment in promoting the brand and wish him the best of luck going forwards.