Every great idea for a new fishing tool, or any new innovation, comes after a realization. Some come after a painful realization. Marcus Whitehead, the inventor of the Lure Tamer lure container, had one of the latter.
I’ve been a guide and a captain and a fisherman all my life and the worst-looking injury I’ve ever had was in my garage,” he says, rather cheerful about it in the present day. “I was picking up one of my fishing rods and someone didn’t secure the lures on their rod...the lure went right into my thumb. It was dark so I thought something bit me and I yanked back. It was in there good and deep so to the emergency room I went. Most of them I can yank right out. This one went in there and it grabbed a couple tendons.”
The result is the Lure Tamer, a polyurethane container built to hold lures and hooks while fishing enthusiasts travel with their rod. The Tamer features a hook made from the same polymer, which allows it to be safely attached to the reel.
Although Whitehead’s initial purpose was clearly to protect a more human element, the Lure Tamer goes a long way in protecting rods as well. As we wrote in a recent post, many fishing enthusiasts damage their reels, guides and—consequently—fishing lines because they hang lures from the rod during transport. The choppy waves and bumpy roads bring the lures into hard contact with your equipment, scratching or cracking them. Although Whitehead’s invention hangs on to the rod in a similar manner, the materials it’s made of don’t damage the reels and guides.
Whitehead notes that the polyurethane is doubly handy for those with unsure hands, as it floats. Keep your lures inside, even while the boat is resting, and you won’t need to worry about dropping them to a watery grave.
We’ll bet that Whitehead wishes the small business world was as safe as the lures inside the Lure Tamer. “Losing everything” while launching a business isn’t just a Hollywood story...and Whitehead has dealt with the worst of it.
He got off to a rough start with his first batch of molds for the product, which had a minor design flaw that required replacement. The gaffe cost him $20,000. Then, within a few years of the product finding its feet, the housing bubble collapsed, ultimately causing he and his wife to declare bankruptcy and lose their home. Although the Lure Tamer in particular wasn’t to blame, he had spent more than $100,000 developing it up to that point.
Whitehead was shaken, but not swayed from his goals. His passion for angling may have been the ultimate reason he didn’t abandon ship.
He continues to persevere, even as the difficulty of being a small fish in a big pond stacked up against him. He set up shop at ICAST, the world’s largest trade show, and found that a major retailer quickly—and suspiciously—replicated the product after scouting it at the show. Now he sells the Lure Tamer, alongside other fishing products, strictly from his eBay and Amazon storefronts.
It hasn’t been easy, and Whitehead admits that he’ll probably never recoup the losses he posted in the creation of the Lure Tamer. But if it saves someone’s thumb from a nasty hook wound further on down the line, he—as a passionate and sympathetic angler—won’t regret a thing.