I was born a fisherman, like just about everyone who fishes. I was a Massachusetts kid who was consumed day and night with fishing, and eventually began fishing tournaments at the age of 17. I remember I placed 11th at my first tourney on Long Pond in Lakeville, MA on May 5, 1975. I caught the big bass on the first day, which my partner that day still claims cost him winning the tournament – he was about 4 pounds shy. As I recall, that bass weighed about 5 1/2 pounds, so he may have been right! I probably did cost him that tournament.
From the earliest time I began fishing, I was an inventor trying to devise new and better ways to catch fish. I remember building a current meter to measure flow on a river where we were having a tournament. I figured if I could measure the river’s flow at different depths, I could locate largemouths. In retrospect, it was probably a better device for catfish. The contraption was made from a coffee can, a propeller from a model airplane and an extension cord. It basically worked, but was unwieldy to use and was soundly ridiculed by my buddies!
On August 13, 1976 I won my first NBAA (Northern Bass Anglers Assn.) tournament. The $500 I won felt like a million dollars. I was rich! It was just a regional tournament, but I was 18 years old and everybody knew that I won, which was a lot more important than the money. I was on top of the world. Ah youth….
I was pouring different worms in plaster molds in my mom’s kitchen during that time. In the Summer of 1977 there was an NBAA tournament at Whitehall Reservoir in Upton, MA. Off I went. Little did I know that tournament during which I would catch no fish would change the course of my life.
Flying Lure History
It all started when I was fishing a tournament at Whitehall Reservoir, in Massachusetts of all places, in the Summer of 1977. Got skunked for 3 straight days of fishing. The bass were hiding under floating islands, and I couldn’t get a lure under the islands by skipping a bait or crashing through the top.
So I cut up a Coke can, glued the pieces together, turned a jighead backwards and glued a plastic worm to it. It all sort of swam away from me, which is exactly what I was after. After that, I spent a decade perfecting the lure and getting it patented.
Believe it or not, the world didn’t beat a path to my door when I first tried to sell the Flying Lure. It just hung on the wall in the stores that bought it, and in that package looked just like any other lure. Some stores actually sent the lures back because they didn’t sell! I tried that traditional route for 3 grueling years.
Then In the spring of 1991, a guy named Jim Caldwell, a TV host from New York and infomercial producer, convinced me to meet with him. I was skeptical, but during that first meeting I was sold on the logic of presenting this lure on TV and telling my story directly to people.
I liked that. I liked showing fellow anglers how the lure worked instead of just letting it sit there in a store. And if the infomercial succeeded, we could bypass all the doors that were closed to me, and tell our story right to the customer.
I said, “Okay, let’s make an infomercial, but our way.” Real fishing shots, real user stories, real shots from the Hawg Trough, real-life fishing on TV – not some goofy contrived script with a cheering audience. Let’s put it all on TV!
We went to National Media Corp., the world’s largest infomercial company. They took one look at the lure and loved the idea. They funded the TV production of the infomercial on the spot. And the rest is history.
More Than Just a Lure
The Flying Lure spoke directly to the non-fishing public as well as to anglers themselves. We ended up promoting fishing as a sport by showing how much fun it was. So it turned out, we weren’t just selling lures: We were selling fishing.
The infomercial actually rekindled people’s desire to go fishing. Many folks reconnected with the outdoors and their family – I’m very proud of that.
You wouldn’t believe – I didn’t either! – how many boat dealers thanked me in person for selling fishing boats for them. They said that their customers bought a box of Flying Lures and now needed a boat to go with it. How great is that?!
The Flying Lure was the first time the sport of fishing reached any sort of mainstream awareness in mainstream media. Some say that fishing license sales rose in the years the Flying Lure infomercial was playing on TV. There’s no question the Flying Lure was “in your face” everywhere you went!
Some notable facts about the Flying Lure:
> Became the all-time best-selling lure in the world.
> The infomercial ran 300+ times per week on national and local TV – just in the USA. Even more worldwide.
> It spawned fishing magazine cover stories internationally.
> Flying Lure demand depleted the worldwide production capacity for some types of hooks.
> The infomercial was named by Advertising Age magazine “Winner, Best Commercial of Any Kind.” Supermodel Cindy Crawford’s Pepsi ad was voted No. 2, something David Letterman made nightly jokes about.
> Disney approached me to write a book and published “Flying Lure Fishing” – which will be available free soon as an updated e-book.
> Set the all-time daily sales record for a fishing lure: over $1 Million in 24 hours on the QVC shopping channel. (Alex appeared on QVC and the Home shopping Network in the USA, Canada and Europe hundreds of times.)
> A popular Dutch rockabilly band actually named itself “The Flying Lures.”
Not bad for a Massachusetts kid crazy about fishing!