Q and A With Lateral Line Lures
Jun 26th, 2020 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jun 26th, 2020 at 3:49 PM
Tell me a little bit about you and your company? Dan White- Founder of Lateral Line Lures, LLC, I have engineered and have built the Bender lures from start to finish. Today, I still do most of the work with the exception of the injection and painting. I have a lifelong passion for the outdoors. Fishing, hunting and the outdoors will always be a major part of my life. How did the concept develop into what it is today? It was 30 years in the making… There were 3 definite times in my life while fishing made me aware and once combined it made the realization of the Bender. First time; Willow Flowage in Northern Wisconsin when I was about 15 years old when I realized that you can catch fish if you have the right color or flash. Fast forward about 20 years… Second time; again on the Willow Flowage I was slow trolling for crappies with flat lines and planer boards. We caught 23 crappies that day. Every once in a while a crappie strike would go unnoticed and the crappie would roll in the water. 2 times that afternoon a muskie would be attracted to that rolling action and grabs the crappie. I did not land those muskies but again through experience it brought more awareness. Third time; in 2012 while guiding in SE Alaska, I learned more techniques using herring and cut bait for salmon. One thing that was evident from the start was all the guides would rig and adjust them differently. Once I combined those experiences I formed the lure concept wanting the lure to have 3 main key elements; (1) I wanted it to be adjustable (to create and control the roll and flash), (2) have a flash that attracts predator fish and (3) make the lure so it can be cast or trolled.
After that year the concept came together, but I still didn’t know what to do about it. I went about it like everything else I have ever done in life, just started figuring things out including how to build such a lure. Through trial and error I just started learning about injecting plastics and many other things that I would never have dreamed of. For years this lure concept turned into a passion that I finally turned into a reality. Still at the end of the day I had planned to use them for my own use to catch more fish, and I succeeded!
Did you always have a lifetime love of fishing? I have always had a lifetime love of fishing from my earliest memories of fishing with a cane pole at the Merton millpond. My grandfather lived across the street from the millpond (Merton, WI). I have many fond memories of the millpond and would fish it all the time. Growing up fishing with a cane pole was the simplest form of fishing and all while learning fundamentals. Why? It was the excitement of what I was going to catch, if anything. We always hoped to catch fish but never got discouraged if we didn’t. I think the most enjoyment of fishing there was; just being there. If the fish weren’t biting we would go wading or do our own research along the river or pond shoreline. It was a natural playground for all of us kids growing up together. While growing up we never “targeted” a fish, just caught whatever would bite. Every once in a while I will still stop in Merton and make a few casts for old time sake. What is it about fishing that you love the most? Catching fish has always been the focus but looking back the adventures and time spent on the shores or in a boat with friends and family, past and present have meant the most. Do you have a favorite lake? If I had to pick one favorite body of water I would have to say the Willow Flowage (Northern Wisconsin). It has always been a wild and undeveloped “wilderness” flowage. It has the beauty as well as all the fish that I have grown up catching. I have a lot of great hunting and fishing memories from the Willow Region.
What sets your lures apart from others you would purchase that are mass-produced? We are a small fishing lure business and quality is very important to us. Because of the uniqueness of the lure it is vital to our business that the lures are made well. I personally inspect lures at every stage of the build. I have also thrown out lures at every stage of the build because I do not want one bad one out there. Good lures = Good Brand
What would you tell someone who might be on the fence about trying your lures? The concept of the Bender… Visualize a school of bait fish. Predator fish follow these schools around waiting for the moment one of those fish becomes an easy target. When one of those bait fish swim outside the school it just became the target for a predator fish. The Bender philosophy is that it triggers a predatory response because it imitates a dead or dying fish that is outside of the school. Predators are opportunists and will always go after the easy kill.
What are your goals when it comes to this business? When it comes to goals LLL basic sales goals are if we can double sales from the 1st to the 2nd year and so on. The thing that I have learned about any type of new products or business is you can fail if you over-prepare or under-prepare. As a company we will always try and find that medium.
What is the most rewarding part for you as a business owner? The most rewarding part of being a “fishing lure business owner” is when people send pictures or post videos of their fish catches they caught with the Bender.
What is the single most thing you would like people to know about you or the product you sell? The angler creates the action of the lure by bending it. The more you bend it the faster it will roll and the faster it will sink. The Bender is an “adjustable geometry fishing lure” and the lure can be used for casting or trolling. The lure is designed to create flash and the action imitates a dead or dying fish. I recommend to anglers when they first use a Bender is to bend it (at the top 1/3 of the lure) and make some short casts or Figure 8’s with it. If you are trolling with it get the boat to trolling speed and put it in the water at boat side so you can see if it is adjusted to your liking. Once the angler gets accustom to using the lure they can work the lure with some really cool action. My favorite way to use the Bender is cast out and let it settle, then wind and then pause it, repeat. When paused it flutters down like a dead fish would, this is when a lot of the strikes happen. If the angler has a problem with the lure coming up to the surface quickly it needs to be bent a little more and note your pole angle as it may need to be closer to the top of the water. At first people need a little patience with it. Once you create the bend and action desired you can fish with it as fast as any bucktail. It is a truly a fun and exciting lure to fish with!
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in the market and how do you overcome them? The biggest challenge that I face in the market is the Bender is not only new; it’s in a category of its own. Selling this lure to fishermen metaphorically is like trying to sell a carpenter a better hammer. Once a fisherman gets confidence in their same old lures it is hard to sell them anything new. I occasionally watch Major League Fishing (Pro Bass fishing tournaments) and the Pros only use around 7 different types of lures. For example, they can basically go anywhere in North America and catch bass with those lures. Same goes with the carpenter. He can build any house with his basic tools as long as he has the skill set. That all being said… If you are a bass fisherman you will handily catch bass with the Bender! The Bender is designed to be used by novice or skilled fishermen alike, though our target market is experienced fishermen within the Bass, Musky, Northern Pike, Walleye, Salmon and Crappie markets. If you have the skill set to catch your targeted fish with “other” lures you will easily catch those fish with Benders as well, or even more! Hopefully some Pros will hear about the Benders and start using them!
Tell me about the process to craft your lures, how does it differ in craftsmanship compared to competitors? I do not like junky lures = no confidence = no fish! As an avid fisherman myself, I have spent an extensive amount of time researching and understanding what fish react to. In turn, I realize that fishermen want two things in a lure: (1) Quality (2) It catches fish! I have engineered those things and more into the Bender. Initially all the lures were built “in house”. We now have a mini supply chain of vendors that we work with to complete the builds. There is a step by step process involved starting with the inserts and wireforms. Once inserts are completed they get sent off to the injection molding company that uses our production molds and plastisol. After they are injected they come back to Wisconsin where I inspect, sort and bag to send off for paint. Our painter applies the eyes and paints them to our specifications. Once this step is complete they are returned to us where we attach split rings and hooks. After that we package them and apply stickers , they are now ready to ship.
Why do you think people will come back to your lures after one use? It comes down to this; it catches fish! I have put the Bender up to some very strict comparison testing. It has done very well. Actually extremely well in some cases, and have easily beat some very popular lures! I cannot sell statistics to people but I do know how well the lure works.
Why type of staying power do you have when it comes to the market? As a business we are comfortable with staying power within the industry as we have some added “twists” to previous makes and models. In the future, we will be debuting other designs that are now in the testing phase. Once our business is more established within the industry we will be adding new lures to our product line on a scheduled basis. Keeping in mind , the slow and steady Tortoise wins the race.
Paint me your idea of the perfect day fishing on your favorite lake, what does that look like? Over the past 5 years I have caught hundreds of fish with the Bender so I have had many great days on the water. The perfect day on the water I guess would be at a remote lake or flowage with my muskie fishing partners. We would be staying at a resort on the body of water, like we have done many times. We would be in my brand new boat (with cameras set up and rolling) we would all catch at least one decent muskie throughout the day, then to top it off; one of us would land a +50”er using a Bender (hopefully me)!
Anything else you would like to add? The Bender comes in three sizes, 3, 5 and 7-inch, in a variety of proven colors and patterns.
Our lures are not mass-produced overseas. They are made in the USA. They are of high quality and are very durable.
Some are hesitant to try our lures because of its uniqueness. They are not used to seeing hooks on the side of the lure. A lot of fishing lures could be classified as being unusual at first. Until fishermen start catching fish with them they will in turn will be accepted by the general public. There are so many lures on the market; In-line spinners, spoons, flies, buzz baits, crank baits, clothespin spinners, twitch baits, umbrella rigs, all sorts of topwater baits, crawler harnesses and tons of minnow/shad body baits and creatures. The reason I mention some of these lure types is that some of these lures are very odd, yet extremely effective at catching fish! The Bender looks odd at first glance yet very effective at catching fish!
Currently our primary sales focus is online at Laterallinelures.com or Benderlures.com.
We welcome retailers and they can request information about the Bender from Lateral Line Lures, LLC at [email protected]
While writing the business plan I came across a quote by Benjamin Franklin “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” those words really resonated with me. It also gives our business a “motto”.
This lure is designed from a salt water trolling method (using herring as bait). A lot of freshwater fishermen are not familiar with this method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=SQb7EIw-zGw&feature=emb_title
After High School (Waukesha North HS) I followed my dreams and became a Hunting and Fishing guide in the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states; The Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
I am also a licensed Nautical Captain. Owned sportfishing charter boat/Lake Michigan. Guided Hunting and fishing; Idaho, Alaska, Canada.
This is what is on the back side of the lure package:
The BENDER® is a high quality adjustable soft plastic fishing lure. It mimics the action of a dead or dying fish, making it the perfect target for predator fish. You simply bend it to create the action and the fish will sense the vibration created in the water. Its side mounted Mustad hooks are designed to create the rolling action. They are available in many proven fishing catching colors! The BENDER® MUST be used with a quality swivel. ®Tie on a Bender Available for purchase at Benderlures.com