Entrepreneur spirit

DETROIT — The collapse of the auto industry here in 2008 was devastating to the economy. Jobs were lost and lives changed. Brian Metry found himself among the masses without work. But like many here, the Motor City area resident tapped into his resilience to find a way to survive.

Credit bass fishing for launching his career rebound. Most recently, credit his fourth-place finish at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open for providing that comeback with a much-needed lift. Now in his sixth tournament season, Metry posted his best finish yet after weighing 62 pounds, 5 ounces, at the Northern Open held out of the Detroit River.

Metry didn’t work on an assembly line. He worked outside as a landscaping and snow removal contractor for Chrysler. One by one, he lost lucrative contracts until the factories went idle. And when that happened he, too, was out of work.

The pain ran deep. Metry, then 38 years old, had started his landscaping company at the age of 15.

Fishing soothed the pain while clearing the mind to make way for his new life. Metry’s nickname is the “Fishing Junkie.” He’ll cast for anything in the fish-rich waters of Lake Huron, where he owns a cabin. The intrigue of bass tournament fishing moved him to buy a bass boat in 2006. Doing so laid the foundation for his new career.

“I started catching really big bass and it took off from there,” he recalls. “I just fell in love with it.”

Metry’s entrepreneur spirit kicked in, and Jack-It Products was born. In 2011, he added a lure lineup as the centerpiece of the new business.

“I’m an entrepreneur. I’d always come up with an idea for something and it wouldn’t be there,” he continued. “I love fishing so much so I decided to start a lure company.”

Metry didn’t attempt to create a new lure in an industry where such innovations take years of research and field-testing. Instead, he chose to simply make an appealing product more affordable.

“The Japanese make the very best hard baits, but they can be very expensive for some anglers,” he said. “So what I wanted to do is offer a quality lure at half the price but with the same features.”

The results of working with a Japanese lure designer produced the Jerk Money 120. It retails for $11.99. The Deep Runner 800 is available for the same price. The crankbait runs between the 20- to 24-foot depth range. Also available is a lipless crankbait and a frog.

“Japanese baits are very effective and there is a market for them,” he said. “But they can hit some guys hard in the wallet. It costs a lot of money to fish these days and I’m one who can certainly relate to that.”

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