The menu is pretty complete. About 20 standard items, proven tasty, and any number of combinations. Most popular is No. 19 - mossy green crawdad. No. 1 is good, too - pumpkin pepper. So's No. 4 - shad imitation.
All the meals are made from the same basic ingredient - plastic . . . soft, rubbery and bite-size, about as large as your thumb. The secret is in the coloring. And the blend of sparkle - reds, golds, silvers - mixed in the batter.It's the color, and the sparkle, and the food-like feel of the lure that make Big Boy's Baits appealing to fish.
That, and says Jerry Hansen, a partner in the business along with Bret Christensen, "All have been tested and proven to catch fish."
The two men took over the company about four years ago. Christensen was involved in making the original tube lures, Hansen in using them. So, when the company was about to sink, the two bit.
Now, says Hansen, "We're making tube lures and sending them all over the world. Japan is one of our biggest markets. We make a special lure for that market. My guess is we'll ship out more than a million lures this year."
As the two men point out, the shape and size of the lures is no secret in the industry. What is a secret are the colors. The two spend considerable time in coming up with precisely the right shades and sparkle combination.
Lake testing the lure is, of course, what tells them when it's right.
Christensen says coloration in a lure is everything. Sometimes a customer will ask for a specific color, or will send along a sample, "and we match it. Sometimes we'll come up with a color we think will work."
The biggest seller is what they call No. 19, or a mossy green crawdad color. Other colors, like red/green crawdad, green pumpkin, purple/black flake and pearl with blue flake are other choice colors.
A tube lure is, as the name implies, shaped like a tube. It is closed at one end and is sliced into small strips on the open end to look like tiny legs. A lead-headed jig fits nicely inside the tube. The "skirt" helps conceal the hook. The lure is made to fit the jig, with no distortion and enough room to stay soft and "food-like."
Fished properly, says Hansen, "it'll catch fish."
The right way to fish the tube lure, he adds, is to cast into a likely looking spot, let it sink, and then move it every so slowly along the bottom. When a fish tries to move or taste the lure, bang - catch of the day.
Recently the two put a new item on the menu - the "Hurricane Worm."
It, too, will be plastic. And, it will come in a number of appealing colors.
What sets this plastic worm apart from other plastic worms is that it floats. It won't sink. Special air pockets keep the worm off the bottom and visible to fish.
Often, lake bottoms fill with heavy grasses and keeping a lure visible to fish is not always easy. Some do it by putting a marshmallow on the hook, and others hang the lure off a bobber.
A sinker behind the hook and worm will take the line to the bottom. The air pocket will keep the worm up and off the grassy beds where fish can see it and bite.
Hansen said that in the beginning the two planned on making no more than 13 of the tube lures.
"Then it went up to 16 and pretty soon 18 and now we're up to 20 and have added the Hurricane Worm.
"We'll keep adding to our line just as long as we've got confidence in what we're throwing will catch fish," he added.