The mad scientist

I had a great time at ICAST a couple of weeks ago. It was fun getting to see all the new products and spending time with my sponsors. Most of my time was spent with Floatback Lures and Pinnacle Fishing. The highlight of the week for me was working with Floatback Lures’ inventor Duncan Robertson, aka: the mad scientist. His business partners call him that because he is constantly coming up with new ideas for new products.

Duncan, age 64, is a funny guy that reminds me a lot of Si Robertson from Duck Dynasty. Like Si, Duncan is full of crazy stories, and you never really know what he is going to say next. He is the type of guy that just makes people smile and laugh wherever he goes. We were out to dinner one night, and he was having a hard time reading his menu and was giving our server grief over it. She patiently tried to walk him through the different items of the menu. Picking at her, he said “You are just confusing me even more.  I am going to have to get my glasses out!” Duncan put his glasses on and looked at the server, and loudly and abruptly scooted his seat back. She was starting to wonder what had happened, when he yelled, “Gosh! You’re beautiful! I never knew I was talking to such a beautiful lady!” We all laughed, and it made our server’s day; she smiled the rest of the evening.  

I enjoyed seeing Duncan in action at ICAST. He seemed as thrilled to be there as I had been at my first Bassmaster Classic. Many years of work, and countless prototypes led up to this point. It was something that he had dreamed about for a long time. A surprising thing happened on the morning of the first day of ICAST. Duncan actually broke down and started crying. He was so passionate about his products and wanted the show to be a success that his emotions got the best of him. There wasn’t any shame in his tears, because he knew that his passion has made him successful in life.  

Duncan is a mechanical engineer and salesman who grew up in Scotland and now lives in Durban, South Africa. He played semi-professional soccer in Scotland for many years before moving to South Africa. An avid fly fisherman since he was young, Duncan began to bass fish after hearing about how big and mean the bass were in South Africa. After several fishing trips, he learned that the big South African bass lived in deep, submerged trees. Deep diving crankbaits were the best lures to catch these big bass, but the only problem was that the crankbaits caught the trees, too. Fed up and tired of losing expensive crankbaits, Duncan knew there had to be another way.

The mad scientist put on his thinking cap and set out on a mission to create a deep diving crankbait that could be fished in heavy cover without the worry of getting hung and losing it. After much thought, a hook ejection system came to mind. He started playing around with different ways to make hooks eject from the bodies of the crankbaits. After going through several molds, multiple body types, and a couple years of experimenting, Duncan finally created the FB 10/20, the first deep diving crankbait to employ a hook ejection system. To his surprise, the hook ejection system not only allowed people to retrieve hung lures, but it helped people land more fish. Since the hooks ejected from the crankbait, bass did not have leverage to throw the lure. The lure slid up the line and all that was in the bass’ mouth was hooks.

It’s been three years in the making, and Duncan is thrilled to see his little idea transformed into a fish-catching tool that is helping people land more fish and save money. Now that the production of the FB 10/20 is going smoothly, the mad scientist is taking on the task of implementing the hook ejection system to all kinds of hard baits. A square bill crankbait is next, and topwaters and jerkbaits will follow.

Duncan felt that ICAST was such a success that on the evening it was over, he celebrated in his own special way. We pulled into this gas station, he turned up the radio, got out of the car, and started dancing. People watched him and laughed as he danced. He didn’t care. He was a happy man. It was as if he had just won the Bassmaster Classic…Jack.

Dare to fail. 

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