The real wonder of the ICAST show is the number of innovative products a stroll down the isles will uncover. Interestingly enough, even the ride on the shuttle bus from the convention center to the hotel can uncover some gems.
On day one as I took the shuttle from the Orlando Convention Center to the Hampton Inn, a fellow two rows back started a conversation. After we exchanged pleasantries he said his name was Bruce McElroy, Vice President for Operations and Sales. Before the bus ride was over he had me convinced I needed to stop by his booth on the following day.
I met up with Bruce the next day at his booth and he told me about a couple of his company’s products. “We really want the folks to see our Swimbait Paint Kit,” said McElroy. “It is made for customizing soft plastic lures so you will have your own personalized design. Your bait will not be like anyone else’s, and then you will catch more fish!”
I watched the process unfold before my eyes as a Spike-It staff member changed ordinary looking white paddle tail baits into gorgeous one of a kind lures. Because they are hand crafted, no two baits will ever be the same and the fish you chase will be looking at different baits all the time.
Anglers can buy a kit that includes 30 plain swimbaits in two different sizes. The kit comes with different colors of paint that can brushed or dipped in to create their own color combinations and their own designs. Once you are done with the painting process eyes are glued on the bait before a coat of clear Plastisol is added to finish it off. The plastisol coating gives the bait a 3-D look, and secures the eyes better than just the glue alone.
McElroy noted that the paint that comes with the Swimbait Kit can be used on any bait to change its appearance. “Clean the oil off of any plastic lure you might want to customize,” said McElroy, “and by dipping or brushing you can gain a completely different looking lure.”
All the available colors can be viewed on the ISpikeIt Website. McElroy reiterated, “Since the customized baits are unlike any on the market, the fish have never seen them before. That is a big deal. I know fishermen think the fish have seen popular baits a thousand times before, so what happens when you paint your own. The fish have not seen the lure before and this will allow you to catch more fish.”
“It does not matter where an angler is in the fishing world,” says McElroy. “Whether you are saltwater fishing or freshwater fishing we have products for you.” He mentioned one interesting product that changes the color of live or cut bait. “We make stains for live and cut bait to change the color of the bait to help encourage a bite. A crappie fisherman can dip a minnow in our stain and change the color of the minnow to help produce a different look, something the fish hasn’t seen.”
Speaking of crappie, Spike-It is a sponsor of Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail. “We sponsor crappie Masters because of our Color-C-Lector tool. It is used to decide which color bait to use under different conditions. It tells the angler what color the fish can see the best. It is used mostly in crappie and walleye fishing.”
McElroy explained that Dr. Loren Hill, an avid bass angler and professor, did work years back at the University of Oklahoma to determine what colors fish could see best under different conditions. “He created a chart to identify which colors anglers should use at different depths in different water conditions.”
“The Color-C-Lector is merely a light meter,” said McElroy, “The chart is where the science is. It will make a big difference in your fishing.”
Hill’s research changed the way millions of anglers fished by giving them information on which color lure to use. The unit instantly analyzes several data sources to reveal the color that fish will see best under the conditions the angler is facing.
With this simply explanation out of the way, McElroy introduced me to Harold Neeley, a pro staffer and long time user of the Color-C-Lector. Neeley described how he used the machine to increase his catch.
Neeley explained that it all starts once fish have been located with his sonar. “The unit has a 50-foot cable. The cable is marked all the way up to 50 foot so you can determine the depth that you are taking a reading from. When I locate fish on my sonar I will drop the color selector probe down to the appropriate depth and take a reading. Then I determine what color of water I am dealing with. The chart on the Color Selector is broken down by stained, clear and muddy conditions.”
Light is a big factor in any fishing day, whether it is a clear day, cloudy day or whatever. If an angler is fishing in muddy water the applicable spectrums on the chart are all at the top and it fades to clearer water conditions at the bottom of the chart. “The upper end is all dark,” said Neeley, “except for the chartreuse which is universally good in any clarity of water. Earlier in the morning you use your darker baits. As the sun rises you gradually make adjustments.” He explained that you don’t go from black to white, but gradually lighten your colors.
“Making adjustments throughout the day is where the Color-C-Lector can really work out for you. Every hour that passes means the light density and angle of the sun ischanging. Anglers have to change with it, because one color will not catch fish all day long because of light conditions.”
Noting the depth of fish on the sonar, anglers can take an hourly reading with the Color-C-Lector and match their baits to the most likely color to be seen by the fish. “There is no guarantee they will bite,” cautions Neeley, “but you can be sure they will see your bait. The Color Selector is a tool to be used. Use it and you will catch fish.“
For more information on the Swimbait Paint Kit, the Color-C-Lector and all the Spike-It products visit their website at http://www.ispikeit.com.