The best crankbaits in life are free

Michael Engelmeyer
Zach caught a fish he'll never forget with a promotional lure from Toyota.

Zach Engelmeyer is a highly imaginative, very expressive 8-year-old whose mother is a former Miss Missouri, and whose father, a professional photographer, takes all the cool photos you see featured in Mossy Oak Camo and other outdoor brand advertising campaigns.

Collectively, it’s a family that lives and loves the outdoors. So much so, that in early 2013, the whole family drove three hours from their Southwest Missouri home to Tulsa, Oklahoma to enjoy the Bassmaster Classic together as fans of the sport. 

While Zach’s bass-obsessed older brother, Sammy shopped for lures at the Classic Outdoor Expo like the ones KVD uses, the younger Zach was thrilled to carry home a free Cotton Cordell Big O  squarebill with a Toyota logo stamped on it that pro staffer Darold Gleason of Toledo Bend gave him when the family visited the Toyota Bonus Bucks booth.

A little more than a year later, Zach’s free fishing lure paid big dividends – more than 7-pounds worth in fact. Still wearing safety glasses following a BB gun hunt, Zach insisted on using the free treble-hooked token he’d hauled home from Tulsa to take a shot at the big bass in a 7-acre lake on the family’s hunting land north of Stockton, MO.

“I was really reluctant to hand an 8-year-old a lure with six hook points on it, but that’s the one he insisted on using,” admitted his dad, Michael.

Using a spinning reel, the youngster hooked, fought, and landed the lunker all by himself while dad watched and held the tiny aluminum boat in position. “He’s still walking on cloud 9,” says his dad.

Safe to say, he’s also learned early, that indeed, the best things in life are free. Including crankbaits.

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