Designing new baits

It’s amazing how many different lures there are in the tackle market. These fish don’t even have a chance anymore. Ha-ha. With so many different baits, many fisherman wonder how companies keep coming out with new products every year. Thinking of new original ideas in the fishing world can be difficult, and in many cases impossible, because most everything has been thought of. However, some of the best products are just variations of existing products. The Alabama rig is a great example of this. It is just a smaller castable version of an umbrella rig that has been around for decades. Think of these products as innovations, not inventions.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of helping my new soft bait sponsor, Kalin’s, design several new baits for their new product line for 2014. Kalin’s has been around for many years and has always been known for a huge selection of bass and panfish grubs. A few years ago, they bought Sizmic (the first company to create buzz toads) and added Sizmic toads to the Kalin’s product line. Wanting to make an even bigger push toward the bass market, they recently have designed a stickbait, swimbait, and a cross between a grub and a swimbait to be added to the Kalin’s product line. These new baits will be available in a few weeks in time for the Classic.

When I signed on with Kalin’s, they asked me if I would help them design some new flipping baits. They knew that flipping was one of my favorite techniques and wanted my input on the new baits that I would be using. Other than a jig, my two favorite flipping baits are a beaver and a craw. Since these baits are favored by a majority of fisherman, I am always thinking of ways to change or alter mine so that I am not fishing with exact same baits as everybody else.

When I went to Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago to visit Kalin’s, I sat down with four other hard core bass anglers to work on new flipping baits for Kalin’s. We brainstormed and sketched out new designs for several hours. This was very productive as we all had some very interesting ideas, and we were able to analyze the key features of every successful flipping bait that makes bass bite. In detail, we discussed things like the bait’s action, rate of fall, style, size, sound, smell, and rigging options. Having multiple ideas from several different fishermen was essential, but being able to collaborate and make decisions together as a team was the most important aspect of our design session. I was surprised at how fast we narrowed down the options and decided on the designs that we wanted to move forward with.

Currently, they are working on transforming the preliminary design sketches into scaled digital drawings that can be sent to the mold company. From there, the first mold will be made to produce the first prototype baits. These baits will be put to the test as I will be using these prototypes during the first several Elite Series events. Along with other Kalin’s pro-staffers, I will give feedback that will be used to fine-tune the digital drawings, until we get the mold perfect. This process will take several months, but it will be well worth it because the end product will be two new bass catching baits that will be different from everything else on the market.

Dare to fail.

Brandon Card's column "A Real Card" appears weekly on You can also find him on his website, Facebook, and Twitter