Lures to catch fish
Fishing the Midwest
It’s been said more than a lot of times that “fishing lures aren’t made to catch fish, they’re made to catch fishermen.” When I was first getting into the fishing business I thought that was a pretty accurate concept. I learned quickly that lures that didn’t catch fish didn’t stay on the market very long. Fishing lure manufacturers truly want anglers to catch fish on the baits that those manufacturers make. If you catch fish on a particular bait, chances are you’ll buy more of them. There’s an unbelievable amount of thought, time, effort, and money that goes into getting a new lure into the hands of anglers. First, there needs to be an idea for a new lure. Then, a fishing tackle manufacturer needs to determine if there’s a need for that lure. Manufacturing, packaging, and marketing needs to be figured out. Then, and most importantly, there needs to be a person that can create that lure. John Crane is one of those people. I’ve known and fished with J.C. many times in the past twenty plus years, for everything from bass to walleyes to panfish. From a boat and through the ice. I and many, many other anglers have caught many, many fish on lures designed by J.C.
When I first started fishing with J.C., I found out very quickly that he was an outstanding fisherman. Not just good: Outstanding! Not long after, I noticed that he was constantly looking very closely at baits. He watched how they performed in the water. He examined them after a fish was caught. I didn’t know J.C. very well then and didn’t understand why he examined lures so closely. I learned that he was always looking for a way to make an already good lure even better.
A while back, and keep in mind that I said “a while”, J.C. started working on a new bait. He wanted to create a lure that was productive both through the ice and in open water. There were baits like this on the market, but J.C. thought he could “make a better mousetrap” or in this case, “a better fish-catcher.”
J.C. lives in northern Minnesota and fishes through the ice a lot. He’d been using glide-style baits with lots of success. But the baits that he was using had plastic fins that broke every now and then, rendering them useless. Fins sometimes broke when a fish with the bait in its mouth was flopping on the ice. J.C. also pounded the bottom with these baits to attract walleyes and perch, and when the baits were pounded on rocks, again, sometimes the fins broke. Not a lot, but enough to make J.C. think there must be a better way. He was determined to find that better way.
J.C. tried a lot of different things. He worked on lure shape, material, hooks, anything that he thought might work better, he tried. By his own admission, he failed a lot. That’s the way it works when anyone is designing something new. Finally, he hit on some combinations that were game-changers. He learned that Zinc Alloy is an outstanding material for a lure of this design. It’s durable, has a fish attracting sound when it’s pounded on the bottom, and it’s friendly to the environment. Best of all, the fish liked it.
He also discovered that it worked best to make the fin part of the body. Instead of a plastic fin and a lead body, this bait is a one-piece bait. Again, much more durable.
J.C. determined that an oversized red treble hook attracted more biters and resulted in a better hooking ratio. A little detail that creates bigger catches.
The final result of J.C.’s efforts is arriving for the first time in fishing tackle stores right now. It’s called a Tikka Mino. I don’t know what Tikka is, but I’m confident that if J.C. approved it, it’s a fish-catcher. And that’s the deal, a lure, if it’s going to be in a lure manufacturers line very long, has to do more than catch fishermen. It has to catch fish.
Now, remember a bit earlier when I said that “a while back” J.C. started working on this new lure? “A while back” was 9 years ago.