Another soft-plastic company

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professional fisherman john crews

I remember what I thought when I first heard about yet another soft-plastic lure company entering an already-oversaturated market. I thought to myself, “What a terrible idea.”

It was around a decade or so ago as well, because that’s about the time John Crews founded Missile Baits. I thought to myself, “Why would anyone in their right mind take on the likes of the Zooms and Strike Kings of the world, who already had such a massive presence and foothold in the soft-plastic lure world.”

I had a lot of doubts. But what I didn’t have was Crews’s vision and foresight.

I have since admitted to Crews in a conversation that I thought he was crazy at the time for starting Missile Baits but that thanks to the luxury of hindsight, now I could see where he was right and I was completely wrong. What I saw was an oversaturated market with a bunch of little piglets fighting for a teet (sometimes my analogies get a little country). But what he saw was an ever-expanding market with plenty of room to make his own way.

It wasn’t about coming in and fighting for a piece of the pie that already belonged to someone else. It was about giving anglers options and trying to create new products that he himself and other top tier anglers wanted to fish with, that they saw missing in their personal arsenals.

Though Crews admitted too, there was some new element of competition to it that he also liked— competing against other top-touring anglers on the water while also competing with other lure designers and CEOs in the lab and the boardroom.

Starting and running a lure company has many facets to it. And all of it appealed to Crews, which set him on fire. Now, more than a decade down the road, Missile Baits is doing very well with several popular products and new ones coming to the market nearly every year. Crews found a niche in the market and then grew with the market, as more people are fishing now than ever before. And though some brands do come and go, the success of Missile Baits has prevented my eyebrows from rising quite as high when I hear of someone wanting to jump into a product market for bass fishing.

Maybe there is room for more. I’ve been wrong before.