Fishing has always been a part of my life. I grew up fishing from shore with a Zebco 202, a boober, and the best nightcrawlers we could gather. Bream were the staple of our catch and there was no such thing as catch and release in those days. If it bit the hook, it was going to end up in the frying pan.
Vacations were sometimes spent at the beach and fishing always came along. Those trips gravitated me to a love specifically for saltwater fishing. I think it was the uncertainty and anticipation of what you "could" catch.
The first boat we managed to drag to the coast was a 14' aluminum, deep-V boat with a stick steer 25 hp motor. For years our vacation was a week in Panama City, FL fishing for king mackerel out of that boat. It was amazing at all the kings we caught on those trips.
A big part of our success in those early kingfishing days was bait presentation. We were fishing with dead cigar minnows and just daisy-chained a couple of J-hooks together and that was the rigging. We trolled those baits beside the boat and tweeked and re-rigged until they swam perfectly. If we couldn't get them to run right, we'd throw away the cigar minnow and start over. We didn't drop back any crappy baits.
Doing What We Could
As an adult, I was able live closer to the coast with the opportunity to push further and further into the ocean I enjoyed so much. Saltwater trolling has always been my preferred way to fish. I think it was the fact that during those early years, we never had the electronics to bottom fish.
No matter what, I never wavered from my belief that bait presentation was a critical component of offshore success. Practice and perseverance helped me to get increasingly better at pin-rigging ballyhoo, but I always felt there had to be a better way. I used everything that came on the market to help my ballyhoo troll well. Trolling lures also helped to make up any deficiencies in my pin-rigging skill.
Starting in 2018, I decided to see if I could build a better mousetrap. A 3D printer allowed me to build a variety of different prototypes. Three things I believed were critical for a successful design. First, it had to work and optimize the way baits trolled. Ballyhoo and cigar minnows were the target baitfish because that is what I used in my own fishing. Secondly, it had to be easy to use. I had come across things in past that worked ok, but they were difficult
and slow to rig. Lastly, it had to be easy to manufacture. That was important to keep the cost down and provide an affordable solution for anglers.
After building a couple of different prototypes, the next obstacle was an easy way to test the various iterations. Some of the initial designs were a total flop and were easily eliminated. Trailering and launching a boat for a 10 minute trial was not productive. Fortunately my wife let me erect an 8' diameter, 4' deep kiddie pool in the garage. I equipped it with two of the largest trolling motors I could buy to generate the current. It turned out to work amazingly well. I wish I had taken a picture of that setup. Prototypes that passed the "pool" test were then scaled up to a boat test until I was satisfied with the design.
The next challenge was to find a manufacturer. For a variety of reasons, only domestic manufacturers were considered. A little internet research and a few telephone calls later, I had placed my first order for some samples. After few weeks, I can't describe the anticipation/anxiety as I held the box of samples. I wasn't sure what to expect as I opened the box. I also can't describe the excitement/relief as I saw the finished finished product. In all honesty, I have never even considered another manufacturer. They have been great to work with and I am so pleased to work with them.
First One Ever!
I remember distinctly the day we dropped the first TrollTrue lures back in the spread. I knew they would swim well and would catch fish, but there was no substitute for that first ever strike. It was a modest size mahi, but it was the culmination of almost a year's worth of work.
Since then, we have worked hard to get TrollTrue lures in front of anglers. In that process, I have met many interesting people and heard may great stories (we'll save that for another day). Along the way, I think we have helped people better enjoy their time offshore.
If you are happy with how you are rigging dead baits, then TrollTrue is not for you and that's fine. If you are not happy with your baits. Our lures provide an easy and reliable alternative to pin-rigged ballyhoo for anglers looking to just get offshore and catch fish. Anyone can rig ballyhoo and cigar minnows using our lures and rigging method.
I've tried to put as much information as I can on the website to help anglers understand how TrollTrue lures work and can help make you more successful. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just reach out with any questions. I love to talk fishing and TrollTrue lures. The last thing I'll say is if you try TrollTrue lures and decide they aren't for you, just send them back. I want you to be a raving TrollTrue fan for life and get out there and have a great time offshore.