I was one of many anglers wandering the isles at The Valley Fishing and Outdoors Show in Carp, Ontario in early April. I enjoy going to shows to check out the latest tackle in anticipation for the upcoming season. What really caught my eye this year were some of the Ontario-made, hand-poured plastic baits available. There was an array of baits in many of the booths. Tubes, worms, shads, craws and many others were available in various colour combinations and sizes.
There are a few benefits to buying from local entrepreneurs. One advantage is the economic benefit to supporting local start ups. It's worth giving some of these small-scale operations your business if you can. After all, many popular baits we use today started as small business ventures. From an angling perspective there are several advantages to buying locally produced, hand-poured plastics. I talked with Peter Savoia, President of Set the Hook Co., about hand poured-plastic baits versus mass-produced ones.
"Hand-poured plastics tend to be better quality and can be more subtle than mass-produced ones," he said. Another benefit to hand-pours is their elaborate and intricate colour combinations that are often not available when plastics are mass-produced. Additionally, local anglers often make some colour patterns for regional bodies of water. In the same way a local guide-tied fly can be the ticket to catching your limit, so too can a locally-designed colour pattern in a plastic bait.
Looking at Savoia's baits, I was impressed by the realistic, natural-coloured patterns. Especially his new STH Drop Shot Minnows. These baits are an excellent example of a quality, high-end bass plastic. If you're looking for a finesse plastic that'll payout big catches on a small investment, pick up some of these STH Drop Shot Minnows. I grabbed a few bags of 3.5, 4 and 5 inch baits and can't wait to try them out this year. The larger ones can also be used for both drop shot rigs and jerkbaits.
Savoia also noted that the benefit of his operation is that he's targeting serious bass anglers. The proof is in the specialty plastics he designs, like jerkbaits, grubs, and salty tubes, as well as those he distributes under his company. Reaction Innovations' Ball Breaker is an example of the latter and is a stellar bait for wacky-rigging. For more information on these baits visit: www.setthehook.ca.
After leaving with some plastics from Savoia, the next booth I spent some time at was operated by Bass Magnet Lures. Their 7- and 9-inch Gator Tubes initially caught my eye. These big tubes would make an excellent plastic bait to have when jigging for pike or muskie. Rig them with the Gator Tube jig heads, which feature a wire-rigged, treble stinger designed for toothy brutes.
Of course, I was soon perusing the other products available. Bass Magnet Lures carries numerous hand-poured plastics in dozens of colours in tubes, worms, and creature baits, but the plastic that got my attention was the Slop Spoon.
for 2006, this bait's tail "makes a great plopping sound like a mini buzz
bait when brought in on the surface," said Mike Nabulsi, who owns the
company and pours the plastics his with wife, Mary.
With my shopping bag of new
baits in hand, I continued to wander the show. Some booths and some had
hand-poured plastics for sale. Interestingly, some were quite expensive,
reaching over ten dollars a bag, but you don't need to spend this much to
get quality hand-pours.