BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 27

KB – My best work comes in the early morning hours when I’m still asleep. I have my drawing pad and pencils next to my bed and it never fails. I’ll wake up with an idea and draw it out on paper.

BW – What makes a cus- tom bait better than a mass- produced bait? KB – Custom baits are better because of the finish. That’s what people expect from a custom lure and that’s what they get. They also get a bait that’s been de- signed to run correctly.

BW – Is this what makes custom baits more expen- sive than mass-produced baits? KB – Absolutely. People don’t know the effort that goes into taking a block of wood, carving it out with detail and then finishing the bait in a quality manner. Add top-qual- ity hooks and hardware and you have a bait that’s going to cost a lot more than a bait from a large manufacturer. People look at a bait that costs 20-dollars and have a hard time spending that kind of money. The crazy thing is serious anglers back in the late 60s and early 70s were paying up to 50-dollars for an original Big-O.

BW – What are your hopes and dreams? KB – My biggest hope is I want the bait makers of the U.S. to reclaim their glory. I think the U.S. has come a long way in the recent years and they need the same adoration from the anglers that they give the Japanese. I see a bit of a swing happening and there are so many U.S. makers that deserve their own glory. My dream is to produce the lures that our customers de- serve. The company started out as a repair and repaint company – I never set out to have 15 lures on a website. I don’t know where it’s headed but I know where I’d like it to go. I want to develop the next generation of lures and do it here in the United States. I want to make baits that have detail, the best finishes and work like the baits of the old days.

BW – What does the future hold for CLU? KB – In terms of the future, we’re in the branding stages right now. We’ve got our own packaging and we’re developing a line of apparel. We’re also working hard on the website to in- corporate more video of the lures we make so customers can see the action of the baits before they buy them. And, of course, we will continue to develop the next generation of hardbaits – which will all be made of wood.

For those of you who go to check out the CLU website, you’ll notice that there isn’t a color chart. That’s because each bait that Kelly paints is custom. There are a couple standard colors for certain baits, like the IKON, but he wants to paint your lures the way you want them. To contact Kelly go to


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