By Brent Frazee
OK, it’s time to call this meeting of the Shoppers Addiction Club to order.
I’ll go first. My name is Brent Frazee and I have a problem. When it comes to fishing lures, I am an addict.
I always bite. Dangle any shiny, new, “best lure ever” in front of me, and I’ll take the bait…every time.
I’m the sucker that’s an easy sell. All I have to do is hear the words “this lure is so deadly, it has been banned in five states,” and I’m placing an order.
I can’t go down the aisle of a big-box tackle store without stopping to look at one of those videos featuring Jimmy Houston, Kevin VanDam or Hank Parker hawking the newest bait you just can’t do without. Within seconds, I’m tossing a few of them into my shopping cart.
Even when I’m in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem is real. As I peruse Facebook, videos of new revolutionary lures pop up and I’m reaching for my wallet.
Problems arise when my wife reviews the previous month’s credit-card bill.
“What is this $157 you spent at Bass Pro Shops?” she’ll ask.
“Uh, just some new lures that I really need,” I’ll answer sheepishly.
She will just shake her head and walk away. She’s heard it before.
Our garage looks like a mom and pop tackle shop. Tubs of lures piled to the ceiling, fishing rods everywhere, spools of line, spinnerbaits and crankbaits scattered on tables—it’s a wonder we can fit two vehicles in there.
This is where my fishing lures go to die. I’ll use them for a while after I get them and I’ll catch fish—nowhere near as many as advertised, but some. Then when the bite dies down, I’ll put them in storage and I’ll go on to the next best thing.
Every once in a while, I’ll go through some of my old tubs and it’s like Christmas all over again. I’ll find crankbaits I forgot I even owned, and I’ll move them into the rotation of the lures I am using and I’ll start catching fish on them, and I’ll feel like I’m saving money. But it’s never long before I’m buying new stuff.
I guess it began in the 1990s when those infomercials on the most “revolutionary” lures of their time were being aired on late night television.
I was fascinated by Roland Martin hawking the Helicopter Lure, an odd topwater lure that looked like a cross between a small boat prop and a plastic toy. Pretty silly, I thought. Then I saw a giant bass rise to the surface and absolutely crush that bait and heard Roland talk about the many assets it had, and I had to have one.
The same thing happened when Alex Langer talked about the Flying Lure, a plastic bait that would glide backward when the retrieve was paused.
And who could forget the Banjo Minnow, advertised as being able to “outfish any lure in existence’” today.? I viewed the infomercial and I called the number on the television screen. Soon, I was the proud owner of a 110-piece set, which included Banjo Minnows of three sizes and seven colors.
Like comedian W.C. Fields used to say, “There is a sucker born every minute.”
You would think I would have learned. But no, I keep falling for marketers’ best casts.
I have a history of fishing residing in the plastic tubs in my garage and basement—all of the way from antique plugs such as the Plunker and Darter, to old reliables such as the electric-blue plastic worm, to modern-day baits such as the Whopper Plopper and the Wiggle Wart.
When I go fishing with a friend, I often bring along two large tackle boxes filled with lures. More than one fishing buddy has asked me,” How long are we going to stay out, a couple days?”
Then, I proceed to use only two or three of those baits—my confidence baits—al day, and I wonder why I brought so much with me.
So am I going to change? Well, probably not. I’m like a cat that is attracted to shiny objects. I can sit there looking entirely uninterested, but eventually I’m going to pounce. Mention the word “sale,” and I’m all over it.
Meanwhile, I am working on convincing my wife that this is an investment; that someone will want to buy all this stuff when I get old and feeble and can no longer fish. But she knows better.
So she puts up with having to squeeze into her car door amidst the tubs of lures and stumbling over tackle boxes I have left out. She knows it’s a lost cause.
When I tell her, “Someday, all of this will be yours,” she even smiles just a bit.