‘Crews Missile’ takes aim at the Classic

Within five minutes of meeting him, you get that John Crews’ nickname isn’t an idle play on his name. The Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Salem, Va., aka “Crews Missile,” points his energy at his intended target and moves fast.

“Hope you didn’t mind, I was multitasking while we talked,” he said at the end of a recent interview punctuated by background whispers of paper and thumps of something more solid.

It’s his nature to juggle, he said, and he works with that trait. “I feel like I function better, get more done, if I have a lot of stuff going on in my life,” he said.

That’s never been truer than now. Since the first of the year, he has launched a lure business, celebrated the birth of his second child and packed and prepped for the Feb. 24-26 Bassmaster Classic and new Elite season that will begin in March.

Everything’s important, but his family is always top priority, he said. That fact was underlined when Sonja and John Crews welcomed Ivy Larson Crews on Jan 26. Weighing in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, she is little sister to 4-year-old Myah.

Just weeks before Ivy’s arrival, Crews announced his start-up company. Naturally named Missile Baits, the initial offering was five models of soft plastic lures he designed. The company was a long-planned venture, he said, and the product is now in stores across the country and selling.

When he’s back on tour, he will leave daily business matters in the hands of employees. But even when immersed in the Classic and Elite Series competitions, he will be looking through the eyes of a lure inventor. The tournament trail is where many of his inspirations for baits come from, said Crews, who has designed crankbaits for his sponsor SPRO.

“I also had ideas for soft plastics, but I didn’t have an avenue for them,” he said. “Ever since I started fishing professionally, I’ve been trying to figure out what this career would lead to. A couple years ago it hit me that this [lure business] is what I want to do to utilize the career I’ve had for the past 12 years.

“I don’t have any plans to stop fishing anytime soon,” he added. “I think there’s opportunity to fish and have a company.”

The first test of his statement will be his sixth appearance in the Bassmaster Classic. It will also be the first time away from his newborn.

A weeks-old baby should not travel, Crews and his wife decided, so he will make the trip to Shreveport-Bossier City, La., without his wife and children. He’ll set out next week to arrive in time for the Feb. 17-19 practice period, then get back home almost two weeks later.

A high-pressure, work-heavy time like the Classic goes by fast. Crews likely will be one step ahead of everything.