Merwin: Thoughts from a Lure Buyer

So I'd like to introduce you guys to my pal Tony the Lure Man. That happy-looking young fellow in the photo is Tony Witte, whose job it is to buy fishing lures for Cabela's. All those great-looking lures you see in the catalogs at one time or another first had to pass muster with Tony. We were bass fishing together down Florida way a while back, where I tried picking the padlock on all those wonderful trade secrets he most certainly knows.

Tony is a very nice guy and, when it comes to corporate operations, also extremely circumspect. I'd ask him some penetrating journalist-type question. He'd grin at me and shake his head, not saying a word. But he did finally tell me a couple of things that I thought were interesting ...

First, he said, fishermen are intensely brand-loyal when it comes to fishing lures. This makes sense. If you caught fish on a Rapala last year, for example, this year you are probably going to be buying more Rapalas. This is also probably why such well-known brands as Mepps, Rapala, Daredevle, and so on have enjoyed such longevity.

Another thing is that future trends in hardbait designs will tend to be more and more realistic. A shad-imitating crankbait, for example, will evolve over the next few years to look more and more like a shad. Fishermen love realistic-looking lures since, by simple logic, the more a lure looks like a baitfish the better it should work. That is how fishermen think. It is not necessarily how fish think, however.

Funny how that works....