BassWestUSA - September/October, 2009, Page 38

Coming up:

the traditional body, along with those slots for maximum water displacement. Their theory that “if it makes a lot of commotion and moves a lot of water it usually gets bitten,” seems to be holding up to the test, seeing the recent tournament wins. In July a Lake Fork pro-staffer won the 2009 Italian National Title throwing those worms, and pro-staffer Anthony Gagliardi just took second the July Lake Champlain fishing the Baby Creature and the Lake Fork Craw.

Despite all of the product line growth, the company itself has remained a small, made-in-the USA outfit, still on Lake Fork with 15-20 employees. They pride themselves on keeping it small, and having a lot of contact with their customers, says Parker, “we talk with many of our customers every day.” However, the lures have managed to find their way into tackle stores across the country as well as big players like Cabelas and Gander Mountain. Perhaps the biggest advantage of staying small and selling big is that despite the troubling economic times, they are growing and developing new products and partnerships. “If you let it bother you, it can just be paralyzing,” says Parker about the business environment, “but we are just staying commit- ted to designing new and inno- vative products, even

in this economy. We’ve actually developed five new lures in 12 months.” Professional guide and Lake Fork pro-staffer Tom Redington looks to the company for innovations outside of the mainstream. “So many lures are a trend, almost like the fashion industry, and the fish get conditioned.” But he also finds a difference in the people behind the lures, and the fact that the lures are designed by anglers, not far away corporations. “It’s not a bunch of people sitting in a corporate office thinking about how they can market something to a fisherman. It’s actually us.”

The company has expanded beyond soft plastics to include skirted jigs, a line of flutter spoons, a very popular swimbait hook, and a series of European designed line. Pro-staffer Redington goes for the spoons often when fishing Lake Fork. “The spoon is kind of a phenomenon at Lake Fork. But these fall different, really flutter,” he says, adding that he likes the spoon particularly when dealing with suspended fish. “Every sum- mer fish get suspended, and most baits go above or below, and it’s hard getting a bait in front of them.” The swimbait hook in particular is a good example of the observation and innovation going on, and how helpful it is to have an angler as designer. It started the usual way - Park could not find a swimbait hook that he liked. He then set out to design the “ultimate swimbait hook” in four sizes. He began by designing the curve and shank to match the actual bait, rather than just trying to cram a swimbait onto a large hook meant for other things. Then after testing different configurations and sizes of weights, they moved the weight all the way back to the back of the shank - a small innova- tion that makes a big difference, as it is the difference between a realistic horizontal fall and the more com- mon swimbait nosedive. Lake Fork has also been invested in tungsten weights as a lead alternative for healthier fishing environments. Their Tungsten

keePing it real

Beyond tHe SoFt PlaStiC

Look for the hyperstick, a round 5 1/2”

soft plastic stick bait with three swim

slots past the midpoint, and new

slotted weights specially

designed to allow a hook

to go through a worm

vertically. also watch

for those three

new lines

coming soon.

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September/October 2009