Aug 17th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Aug 17th, 2012 at 12:00 AM
It is not often that a pro bass angler is starting his own fishing lure company while still a competitive angler on tour. Heck, it’s not common for many folks to be starting a business, period! Bassmaster Elite Series pro John Crews decided to break from the pack, think up his own designs and have them realized by creating his own company to produce them, Missile Baits.
|John Crews (Photo Missile Baits)|
Sure, there are a zillion lure manufacturers out there. Some good, some bad and some just plain opportunistic, but Crews had a desire to make things the right way from the start and provide a product that he and his associates could use and be productive with on tour. In turn, these same products are worthy of the recreational angler investing a few bucks into them for their fishing pleasure.
After a few minutes of conversation about why we still use the term phone line when we are speaking on cell phones, Crews opened up about his most recent business venture.
“I started this from scratch,” said Crews. “I was working with SPRO designing some hard baits for them and I had about a two year period where I didn’t have a soft plastics sponsor.
“That time allowed me to try any bait I wanted to use. I had time to pick apart all of the baits. There were many gaps in the various lineups out there. Some baits were good, some were not, and there were a lot of inconsistencies.
“I wanted consistent product that I could use and that the potential customer would be happy with.”
After plenty of research and development, Crews made the move from pro angler to pro angler/lure company president.
“I am not a manufacturing expert,” said Crews. “So I decided to have an outside company do that. I had the molds custom made to my design. I feel the product has turned out great.
“My focus is on the design and promotions of the baits, and of course fishing full-time. Being a pro bass angler is what I’ve done for a job for the last 12 years. That is still my main career. However, I need to be able to focus on both Missile Baits and my pro career to be successful.
“To make that happen, I have two full-time employees. With good people I can go out and fish, promote and design baits successfully.”
Just in case you’re wondering, the company name is Crews’ nickname. His handle is Crews Missile, so he decided to forgo the ego trip of naming the company directly after himself and use a brand name that had a shot at catching the customers’ attention. Pretty savvy for a start up biz.
Another savvy move was to maximize his profit potential by using social media and the internet to initiate his promotion and marketing of the product.
“I decided to not go the route of a huge financial investment into TV and print initially,” said Crews. “Instead, Missile Baits is promoted through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos along with some internet advertising. We are getting good feedback and orders from all of our marketing so far.”
In addition to the use of new media to promote and sell product, Missile Baits now have a big retail partner in Dick’s Sporting Goods.
“We signed a big agreement with Dick’s,” said Crews. “Missile Baits are now in about 200 Dick’s locations. You can go to our website and check out which stores have them.”
The website is www.missilebaits.com. In addition to Dick’s, there are several online and brick-and-mortar retailers carrying their products.
On a personal note, I received a bag of the Missile Baits D-Bombs to try. I receive a ton of various lures from various manufacturers. Some are terrific, some are old standbys, and some are downright awful. The D-Bombs are exceptional. The way they glide through the water truly mimics a natural creature. In addition, they have a ribbed design that allows for easy rigging and terrific hookups. Of course, my local Dick’s is one of the few that don’t carry the baits. Ugh! E-tailers here I come.