ORLANDO, Fla. — Grant Koppers stood on stage with his team at LiveTarget Lures videoing his surroundings. It had to be rather cool as he captured many of his peers in the fishing industry.
Koppers took the time to record those at the Best of Show ceremony Wednesday night at ICAST 2019, where LiveTarget picked up three more awards.
“We’re making a tradition out of this,” he said, adding he was recording because his past times accepting the honor has been “like a total blur to me.”
LiveTarget, which has been winning Best of Show awards for its lifelike soft and hard baits since when he began the business, introduced a new way to make lures at this ICAST. They call the process Injected Core Technology (ICT), and Koppers believes it’s a game changer.
“ICT is not just a new product, it’s a new technique in construction, in manufacturing,” he said. “It’s kind of where we were with hard baits, crankbaits and deep divers. We used to make them out of opaque plastic and then transitioned to clear plastic.
“This process is kind of where we’re at with soft plastics — making that mechanical shape that gives the lure its signature action, making it clear. It’s not just soft or hard, it’s like its own genre of lures.”
LiveTarget used ICT to win Best of Show in Freshwater with its Erratic Shiner and in saltwater soft and hard lures in a Slow-Roll Shiner and Flutter Sardine.
While the products are just being introduced, Koppers said the vision behind it is about as old as his company that began in 2007. The team has taken years to really map out an entire product line.
“When we came into the industry, we didn’t come from manufacturing,” he said. “We’ve had to learn a lot about it, and as time has gone one, we’ve had to learn a lot about technology. Trying to get on the front end of that technology is key.”
Kopper said the competition within the industry is the best it has ever been, and that has really inspired his team.
“Everybody works really hard,” he said. “This is an especially special year — the competion was very steep. There’s a lot of good products out there. I think it’s at its highest level.
“You almost want to sort of convey a message back to the market, let them realize how hard all these lure companies are working. They’re all at the top of their game. Everybody is working very hard. It’s very exciting.”