"Write about someone who made a difference in your life and craft as you were getting started as a plug maker."
I thought about it for a bit, and realized that it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. So. you are now reading this after I started writing 3 days ago. I can't point to a single person, but I can walk you through my early years of lure building and some people that helped or influenced me along the way.
|Some early plug bodies|
In 1998, the internet was just gaining ground and while there were a few websites dedicated to striper fishing, lure building was rarely discussed. Since I was living in Philly, and did not grow up at the Jersey shore, I didn't have any roots in the local fishing community. I didn't have a lot of opportunities to talk lure building with anyone, or have a mentor / apprentice relationship where I could get some direction.
So for the first few months, I just made things up and tried my best to make something that sorta swam. In late 1998 or early 1999, I made friends with guzz on an internet message board. We shared a lot of emails about the lures we were working on. He was the first person that really helped me and we shared lots of emails filled with ideas with each other. He was a better builder than me, but we were both rather hungry for knowledge about lure building. I still stand to my opinion that the internet lure building craze never would have broken out the way it did if it wasn't for guzz. He was the heart and soul of lure building at a critical part of its popularity. I can't say enough nice things about him. In case he is reading this: Hi guzz! We should fish again soon!!
|Early Choopy Darter|
Internet message boards lead me to find out about some other lure builders, most notably Mike Fixter, John Hab's. Fixter's completely blew me away. The pure size of some of his pikes were so entirely different than the way I fished in NJ. They really opened my eyes to the west coast striper fishery. And his needles would later catch a lot of fish for me. Plus Fixter's lures had a really great finish and made me focus on the finish of my lures more. For a long time I thought his lures were pretty much perfect, and you couldn't find a nicer person to talk to.
|Choopy 1 1/2 oz Swimmer Prototype|
Looking back, its hard to believe there was so many builders and lures out there, that I didn't know about. And they were in my backyard! I don't think I knew about Lefty Carr for quite a few years. His influence on NJ lure building is overwhelming. Just check out the Asbury Park Fishing Club's flea market every spring. But that's the beauty of this hobby/business. New builders rise and you can see what makes them tick, and it forces you to think differently about what you are doing. I think R.M. Smith is a good example of that. He turned the world upside down with how well his lures function, and the amazing finishes he gives them. He has definitely made me think dozens of times how he paints a lure, and why I can't do it like he does!
|First edition Choopy 1 1/2 oz Needlefish|