Local seventh grader starts lure business
By John Martino
Michael Arrick is your typical young boy. At age 13 he enjoys what most kids his age do. Sports, especially baseball, hanging out with friends, family and fishing. But one thing that sets him apart is the fact he is a business owner.
His endeavor actually started with a simple fly tying kit he received for Christmas in 2018 from his grandfather Kenny Gillem. “As soon as I got it I started tying flies,” said Michael. It wasn’t long before he began doing research while pouring over articles, and videos of lure making techniques. “I started out making fairly simple things then as I got better I began making more in depth lures like different types of streamers,” he explained. “Then my grandpa showed me some jigs that had bucktail and other materials and I thought it would be fun to start making them.”
As his skill grew so did his passion. It helps when fueled by youthful energy and motivation. In the beginning his work was just for fun. “The best part of making them was the fact that I needed to try them out to see if they worked,” he added. “And it gave me a great reason to go fishing.”
Originally starting with flies he grew into making various types of jigs. The transition from tying flies to other artificial lures is a natural stepping stone. Both use similar tools and dressings. There isn’t a whole lot of difference between making a streamer and tying a jig. His simple business plan was right on target. Although fish are caught on a variety of artificial lures that can be made by hand, like crankbaits, spinner baits, top water lures and soft plastics. But the one lure that catches about anything with fins is a jig.
With each new handcrafted lure he would take them to places like Lake Tippecanoe, Mississinewa and Kokomo Reservoir where fish succumbed to his presentations. “There is nothing like catching fish on lures you actually made yourself,” he explained.
It didn’t take long before family and friends began to take notice. “My dad and grandpa asked if they could have a few,” he added with a youthful smile. “It made me feel good that they wanted some because they are both good fishermen.”
On almost any given day the soon to be seventh grader at Northwestern School can be found in his shop, which shares space in his bedroom and garage. “His bedroom looks more like an outdoor store,” his father added. Why would a young man his age spend so much time making lures when stores shelves are packed with every type of lure imaginable? “Because its fun and I really enjoy it,” he said matter-of-factly. “And I also think it takes fishing to another level.”
This year has been good for the young lure maker. Fishermen are always looking for the best baits and many come in the form of handmade. These types of lures are created from a deep-rooted passion, patience and attention to detail not found in the world of mass production.
As word spread, more and more people began inquiring about his baits. “My dad said maybe I should try and sell some,” said the young entrepreneur. That’s when “Michael’s Lipripper Custom Baits” was born. To date he produces flies and custom jigs from 1/16 to ¾ ounce lures sporting almost any type of skirt. The dressings come from a variety of products including colored thread, living rubber, feathers, bucktail and chenille. “I like to add some flash too,” he explained, which is made from tinsel and mylar.
As for his parents, they are pleased with their son’s progression into the world of custom baits. “As far as everything kids can get into these days, this is probably one of the most wholesome,” said Michael’s father, who is also named Mike.
When asked what he found most enjoyable about his custom lure making, here’s what he had to say. “I received several pictures from people who have bought my lures and the fish they’ve caught with them and that makes me especially happy.”
For now, his lures can be purchased from his business site located on Facebook, at Michael’s Lipripper Custom Baits. A large display is also set up in Soremouth Tackle located in the Kokomo Conference and Event Center.
Kokomo Bass Anglers
Members of the Kokomo Bass Anglers recently came off a two-day tournament, staged on Lake James near Angola. The first day’s event was won by Bob Lawson with five largemouth bass totaling nine pounds, four ounces. He also earned “big bass” honors with a fish tipping the scales at two pounds, 14 ounces. Second was Wayne Eads with five fish weighing seven pounds, five ounces. Rounding out third was Scott Vollmer with his limit of five fish weighing seven pounds, four ounces.
Vollmer ran away from the rest of the field during the second day, winning first place with five bass weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces. He also earned “big bass” honors with a four pound, 10 ounce fish. Sam Taskey snagged second with three fish weighing three pounds, 13 ounces. Third was Dave Pross with one fish topping out at three pounds.
Kokomo Monday Evening Bass Tourney
Corey and Hink Hinkle came away winners at last Monday’s Kokomo Reservoir open team bass tourney with four fish sporting a combined weight of 9.01 pounds. Second place went to Carl Beutler and Cody Nagy with four fish weighing 8.99 pounds. Rounding out third place was Ryan Reel and Danny McQuinn with five fish topping out at 8.60 pounds. The tourney’s big fish” a largemouth bass tipping the scales at 5.27 pounds went to the team of Doug Pence and Troy Yundt.
Delphi-Delco Team Tourney
Bill and Jeremy Luster anchored first place at last Tuesday evening’s Delphi-Delco team bass tourney, held on Mississinewa Reservoir, with five fish weighing seven pounds, 14 ounces. Second place and “big fish” honors went to Shane and Mike Harrison with two fish totaling six pounds, five ounces, their largest tipping the scales at three pounds, eight ounces. Wayne Nolder and Bob Rose rounded out third place with four bass dropping the scales at six pounds, four ounces.