SpoolTek Lures was formed in 2011 on a summer’s night while bridge fishing for snook in Jupiter, Florida. Legendary snook fisherman and industry expert, Dave Justice was fishing with a friend, Chris Walsh late in the night.A medical device executive and holder of numerous patents, Chris had been fishing with Dave for a few months in pursuit of oversized snook. With bait scarce, Dave had been fishing with swimbaits and was losing a lot of fish, big and small, to the violent head shake snook employ when hooked. Convinced the fish were using the weight of the lure to create leverage to throw the hook, Dave showed Chris a “MacGyvered” bait that he and his son, Dillon, had worked on that had been hollowed out trying to stuff the leader inside – hoping to distance the heavy bait a foot or so from the fish’s mouth.Dave told Chris of the old tuna fisherman trick of manually wrapping up and hiding heavy leader when big Bluefin got leader shy, thus presenting only the much thinner casting line. The problem was that stuffing or wrapping leader in or around a lure was cumbersome.
They kept fishing. A beat passed.Dave’s idea sunk in with Chris.”Hell, you could even use wire,” Chris said. That word, wire, connected Chris back to one of his medical device patents wherein a system had been built to pull a rod into spinal screws using wire that was reeled onto a spool. “Let’s put a spool into the head of the lure, a mechanism,” Chris blurted.
With that simple thought, Dave crafted the most advanced bait in fishing today. With its genesis rooted in snook fishing, the SpoolTek prototype quickly proved effective on tarpon, a species infamous for throwing hooks.Dave began dropping to lighter and lighter leader, knowing he had 80lb stainless steel cable spooled up in the lure, the veritable “ace up your sleeve” if you will.The stealthier presentation brought significantly more strikes. The mullet returned but the cast nest stayed back at Dave’s house, the SpoolTek was out fishing live bait by a few horse lengths.While up in Tennessee, Dave threw the prototype to striped bass with enormous success.
Back in Jupiter fishing on Chris’ boat, the pair idled up one night to a popular bridge with a strong incoming tide. The water was very clear. Six or seven fisherman were on the bridge with mullet and the typical heavy leader that fishing around barnacle-encrusted pilings necessitates. With the mullet run in full swing, the bridge fisherman had “matched the hatch.” Dave inquired if anyone had any hits. “Nothing,” was the short reply. “Water’s too clear.” Below the bridge on the skiff, Dave dropped to 40lb fluorocarbon leader, unheard of for bridge fishing, and quietly flipped a 6″ Fatty SpoolTek prototype near a fender. 5 seconds later, hell broke loose and Dave pulled a 20lb plus snook to the gunnel for release. The same phenomenon occurred the next week in Jensen Beach.This time instead of mullet, the bunker were running. Again, the local crew were armed with heavy gear attached to frisky “bunkos.” Throwing a SpoolTek, Dave out fished the entire bridge 9-1. A wily teenager angler approached Dave and inquired what he as throwing.Dave grabbed the lure and popped the hook.The kid’s mouth dropped. Dave explained the two key feature-advante-benefits of the SpoolTek. Another kid walked over.”What is that?” The first kid said, “Dude, the fish can’t see the leader and they can’t throw the hook.” Our ad was born:
As molds were being made and the company forming, Chris and Dave began discussions with Greg Shaughnnessy about how to market SpoolTek. Originally from Cleveland, Greg had moved to Miami and succumbed to the lure of late night snook and tarpon fishing.He and Dave had a few huge nights fishing SpoolTek’s. Greg saw the advantages immediately. He was all-in. Using his social media marketing prowess, he came into contact with Zach Birge, a rising FLW Bass Tour tournament angler. Greg sent Zach a few SpoolTeks. Chris and Dave had hypothesized that SpoolTeks would be effective on largemouth bass.They’d heard stories about big tournaments being lost in the closing minutes from bass shaking loose. Zach received the lures. Soon after Greg received this email:
Here is a list of results from tournaments and practice from this year. I have also included some photos.
Grand lake BFL March 8th
In practice I absolutely tore the fish up on a rip rap bridge using the 6″ spooltek swimbait. It was the first time I had throw the bait but I knew by just looking at the detail of the bait that it would be an absolute must for the fish at Grand. I must have caught 2 dozen fish that day most between the 3-5lb class. Photos are attached.
Toledo Bend Rayovac March 23-25
Using the same 6″ spooltek swimbait I used at Grand lake I caught a bass in practice that weighed just over 10lbs! Photos attached. Using the spooltek swimbait in the tournament netted myself a couple key bass that led to my 20th place finish out of 111 boats.
Grand Lake Rayovac April 3-5
Once again using the 6″ spooltek swimbait at Grand lake. This period is tough for some guys to get bites due to the transition period. I still managed to get a couple key bites using the swimbait to get me an 11th place finish out of 173 boats! These swimbait are legit and going to completely change the bass fishing world when we think of swimbaits.
The most remarkable part of the swimbait to me is the fact that I still to this day since first throwing the bait I still have not lost a fish or had had a fish pull off. I will put my name on these swimbaits any day any where any time of the year.
The SpoolTek team was over the moon.The decision to launch full-on into the bass market was made. Zach became SpoolTek’s first Pro-Staff member. His input and vision have been invaluable.
Soon after, Chris was fishing in Panama with his long time Keys guide, Capt. Jared Raskob. Jared is arguably the hottest guide in saltwater fly fishing in the Keys, having won many, many huge tournaments at the ripe old age of 24. He and Chris were offshore trolling for large Marlin at the world famous, Tropic Star Lodge. Bored with slow days of waiting for the big pelagics to wake up, Jared began tying up a SpoolTek to the small spinning rod used for bait. With huge bull dolphin roaming about, Jared began sight fishing them as though they were big bonefish. The lodge’s seasoned captain and mate on the old 31′ Bertram shook their heads doubtfully, knowing how the acrobatic “dorado” typically shake loose plugs.Jared put on a clinic that day with a SpoolTek, catching five bulls over 25lbs. The number of wild jumps and violent head shakes were too numerous to count. The only stat that was kept was: 0 lost fish. We are proud to have Jared on our Pro-Staff and thankful for stretching the limits of our lures.
Chris quickly hired his administrative team from his medical device days. Today, SpoolTek is a company of seven employees based in Pompano Beach, Florida. We are eager to share with you the pure fun we’ve had fishing these baits. We are hugely grateful for your business and welcome your feedback and pictures. We love all the pictures of fish that have been caught on SpoolTek’s, from barramundi in Australia to smallmouth bass in North Carolina but perhaps our favorite photos may be one’s like these: castnets, hung up and put to pasture…