One trend that we're seeing across the industry is the movement toward signature series products. Modern professionals are no longer satisfied to simply design and fish with products. They want the publicity and financial rewards that go with putting their names on them.
Here's a look at three anglers and their products:
Biffle Hardhead — Tommy Biffle
Tommy Biffle won the final 2010 Elite Series event with a prototype bait he and a friend designed. Basically it's a football head jig with a metal ring in it that holds an Owner hook securely to the head but at the same time allows the hook to move freely behind it.
That homemade bait is now the Biffle Hardhead produced by Gene Larew. It's offered in four weights and a wide variety of colors.
I wouldn't have won on Fort Gibson without it," says Biffle. "It gives a jig and craw (Biffle Bug) as much action as a crankbait but lets you fish it like a traditional football head jig with a plastic trailer. You'll be hearing more about it in the future, I'm sure."
Irish Setter Shoes — Kevin VanDam
Irish Setter, a part of the Red Wing Shoes family, is now the home of Irish Setter KVD Axis Fishing Shoes. They're designed for the rigors of standing in a boat all day under less than ideal conditions. They feature quick-dry, breathable air-mesh uppers and an EVA midsole and footbed for underfoot support and cushioning.
I'm really excited about these shoes," says Kevin VanDam, reigning Bassmaster Classic champion. "They are the best on the market as far as I'm concerned, and I've tried a lot of brands and styles over the years.
"Footwear is critical to an angler's success. You can't be at your best when your feet and legs hurt. The pain keeps you from concentrating on the task at hand. That problem is solved with our new Irish Setter KVD Axis shoes. You can stand in them all day long without a problem. They're the real deal, for sure."
McRip 85 Jerkbait & McStick 95 Jerkbait — Mike McClelland
Mike McClelland, long know as one of the great jerkbait anglers on the tour, has designed two new baits that he says will call the big ones in from long distances across the water.
His new Spro McRip 85 is a deep diving model that'll run in the 8-11 foot range depending upon the length of your cast and the diameter of your line. The McStick 95 is a downsized version of his 110 model that works at depths between 3 and 5 feet. The McRip is a suspending bait; the McStick a floater/diver. Both are offered in 8 colors with more on the way.
"This is what we've been working on for some time," says McClelland. "These are baits that'll cover different depths but not lose the quality of their actions and appearance. I think jerkbait anglers around the country will be pleased once they get a chance to fish with them."