July 25, 2011
King Shad Designer Strikes Out on His Own
By John Merwin
The guy in the photo is ABT Lures founder Allen Borden, shown at the recent ICAST fishing-industry trade show. The lure he’s holding is a four-sectioned hard-body swimbait called “Banshee.” It’s a good lure, but for veteran lure-designer Borden, it’s an even bigger bet.
I got the story behind the story through a quick interview. Borden was a California roofing contractor for 21 years. Also a fisherman, he had ideas for new lures as so many fishermen do. About 10 years ago, he started fooling around with carving and then molding hard-plastic baits. Eventually he made some jointed hard-bodied swimmers that he showed at ICAST in 2003.
Strike King, one of the major lure brands, picked up both the lure and Borden shortly thereafter. For the next 7 years, Borden was a Strike King lure designer creating such well-known jointed hardbaits as the King Shad.
Now he’s back on his own, which, as he explained, can be a little scary. Making simple molds and casting two-part resins in a basement workshop can be relatively inexpensive. Production lure-making, though, requires production molds that cost many thousands of dollars and a deep understanding of plastic injection-molding in the first place. Add distribution and marketing costs, and you’ve pretty much bet the farm on your lure idea.
Borden’s Banshee is a beautifully-made bait. The natural-looking colors are excellent. The segment hinges are nice and close; there’s no wasted air space at the joints. I’ve played with these briefly on the water, and the swimming action is superb.
But will they be a commercial success in a world of me-too swimbaits? Borden said he’s competing partly on price. A 4.5-inch Banshee sells for $11 to $12, which is a few bucks less than comparable baits from other brands. That will undoubtedly help.
You’ll be able to see this lure, among others, in live action underwater here very soon. Joe Cermele is hard at work right now shooting underwater video tests of a variety of lures, including this one. So keep an eye out.
Meanwhile, about your own great lure idea...want to bet your life-savings on it?