‘Happy Thanksgiving’ the text message follows an attachment of a huge ass Buck he bagged just a few days before. Everyone has that friend whose messages, like clockwork, are sure to roll in on Father’s day with a pic of a huge ass fish. ‘Another Master Angler baby!’ the text reads. If you don’t have a friend or friends like this, you probably Are that friend.
He must be the luckiest bastard that lives, you’re inclined to lament. It’s not that you’re not happy for him, you just wish it was you in that picture, with all the “luck”. I’ve been told that I’m this friend, the gloater, the sharer of successes seemingly all-to-often. The one with all the luck.
Speaking of luck: There’s an ongoing debate, an exercise in semantics, amongst our small inner-circle of friends and family that goes something like this:
Argumentative Asshole A (AAA) - ‘We make our own luck.’
Argumentative Asshole B (AAB) - ‘It’s not a matter of luck, it’s a matter of chance.’
AAA - ‘Well, you can’t shoot a deer from the couch’
AAB - ‘You could, there’s a chance that a buck might walk right up to an open window and say hello.’
AAA - ‘That would just be dumb luck. You’re certainly not increasing your odds of bagging a nice buck by sleeping in.’
AAB - ‘You’ve just made my point for me. If you’re really increasing the likelihood of success, then it’s not luck at all. Luck is something beyond your control.’
AAA - ‘Chance’ is beyond your control too. The chance of your success is like rolling a 60 sided dice.’
AAB - ‘Ah, yes. And the chance of rolling a 7 stays the same no matter how many times you roll that die.’
AAA - ‘Well, as luck would have it, this year I’m rolling a 12 sided dice.’
Enter Stage Right Argumentative Asshole C (AAC) – [Swings the door open from making a supplies run] ‘Its Fortunate that the local store was open this late, what are you two idiots debating over now?’
The reality is, when it comes to hunting, fishing, trapping, crabbing, or whatever your proclivities are, there’s no luck, no chance, and no good fortune involved. There is only probability and actuality. Luck is a superstitious endeavor that foolishly relies on external forces. Chance is nothing more than the likelihood or plausibility that something will occur. Chance is speculative and cannot be calculated precisely because we lack most of the important inputs that it would take to solve for ‘X.’ The expression good fortune is the most subtle, but more egregious version of both chance and luck that also depends on the dogma of imparting external forces.
What I can tell you is this: pursuing wild game is like Grandparents at a Casino. You ONLY hear about the winnings. What you don’t see and may not realize, is all of the time, energy, and resources thrown at fruitless excursions. Days spent on the water and in the field with no boundless bounties. Days spent afoot and adrift where you couldn’t buy success with the deepest of pockets far outweigh those days where you seemingly can’t do anything wrong. And on those days the only text messages you’ll get from your fortunate and boasting buddy are humorous anecdotes about hunting and fishing pursuits.
It’s true that ‘fortune’ favors the prepared,’ and ‘we make our own luck,’ and ‘you’re saying I’ve got a chance.’ Would you like to know why? It’s because luck, chance, and fortune have less to do with probability than psychology. Self efficacy is ground zero, and there’s nothing that prepares you for a great day like a hundred days where the only takeaways are the lessons learned on what not to do. What not to do is precisely the kind of unconscious competence that makes for future social media (if you’re into that) and text buddy fodder.
As Argumentative Ass B puts it, there is an element of chance in any hunting or fishing activity. It’s quite possible that this is the common denominator that explains why so many Huntsmen also Fish. You can, however, increase your odds (roll a die with fewer sides as Argumentative Ass A puts it) when it comes to each of these endeavors. In particular, when it comes to fishing, one angle that has really gained momentum is the use of Custom painted lures and artificial baits. The popularity of custom hard baits, soft baits, and even spoons over, say, mass produced and somewhat limited design options, is growing with no sign of slowing down in the near future.
From a common sense standpoint it makes logical sense. Even with their relatively tiny, walnut-sized brains, how many times does a fish have to see the same crankbait, or trolling spoon pattern before they begin to altogether dismiss it for a more novel looking meal?
For the most part it’s medium-sized Companies capitalizing on the concept of custom lures. The process across these organizations follows a very distinct and similar pattern: 1.) Research what the most popular artificial baits are (i.e. Bandits, Flicker Shads, Husky Jerks, etc…); 2.) Hit up the fishing forums and discussion boards for the most popular patterns, and; 3.) Paint/Sell what you can using resources like Facebook (individual), company websites (for established businesses), and if you’re really fortunate/savvy land a contract selling to big box stores like Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops (which is ironic, more on this in a minute).
The reason why large companies like Berkeley and Rapala don’t offer more and varied design patterns options is simple. It’s labor-intensive and therefore costly. The larger the scale (meaning the more units produced using the same design), the more you’re able to drive down costs and therefore increase profits. Therein lies the dilemma. By the time you’re selling ‘custom painted’ lures in bulk, to Big Box stores, the lure is no longer ‘custom’ is it. Anything mass-produced, by definition, ceases to be a custom item (talk about a lesson in semantics).
On the other hand I’ve sought out and started to follow smaller Businesses (@jekllbaits.com) and individuals (@adamscustomlures.com) who are breaking into this market and let me tell you, the surface is just starting to get scratched. Instead of chasing last year’s trends these smaller players offer truly custom alternatives. They’re designing to their client’s particular tastes and specifications.
Professional Anglers and Sportfishing Charters figured this out years ago. This is why, instead of chasing the annual color and design trends, they have bucked the system entirely. Instead, they commission these small business owners and private individuals (who can charge a premium) to paint fully custom lures to their precise needs. The Pros supply and/or communicate what their favorite blanks are and the artists do the airbrushing work.
Most fishing enthusiasts wouldn’t dream of spending $60-$120 for a single lure (setting aside Musky addicts). But if you’re a Pro or a Charter Boat Captain and your paycheck depends on winning tournaments or landing more fish for your clients than your competitors, a custom lure might be well worth the investment.
HangryBrand offers the same advantage the Pros get, but at a cost that won’t break the bank. You’ll need to invest a little time and use some creative unconscious competence (think about your favorite lures and determine what makes them so deadly). Through our Lure Design Studio application, we offer custom spoons (both casting and trolling) built to your color and design specifications. Have a design in mind and can’t find it anywhere? Want an old pattern replicated? Looking for white label fishing and hunting products? Looking for a popular design, but want to put a unique spin on it, we’ll help you design your own Artisan Lures.
Happy fish and Tight lines. Welcome to the Evolution,
Article written by Mike (Fish Mitts) Hiller
Featured image is of our 'Old School 7-in-1 Tin Packs'