In the summer of 2014, muskie nut Ben Johnson planned a muskie trip to Lake Vermilion with his friend Cory. Since the lake was new to both of them, they decided to hire a guide for their maiden voyage on “The Big V”
After doing some research on guides, they decided to book a trip with Josh Borovsky. Ben and Cory had a great trip and caught multiple fish.
One of the things they learned from Josh was his process of how to systematically dial in what the optimum lure presentation is on any given day and from there find the optimal color pattern of that given bait.
On that particular day, there was one bucktail and color that was particularly hot. But, through Josh’s process, they actually discovered there was an even more dominant color. Once, both of those colors were in the water together, the muskies started showing up and snapping spot after spot. It was very eye opening and also very fun!
This situation has played itself out repeatedly year after year in many muskie anglers’ boats. Sometimes there is a specific blade size, combination of blades, or color of bait that is what the fish want. They have a clear preference for a specific sound, vibration, or color.
Fast forward to 2019 and Ben and Josh were on another muskie outing together. Josh was going through his usual process of trying to dial in the right blade and color combination. He made a comment about all the different blade size configurations on the market now, and how he can’t even bring them all with anymore. He said “I have so many variations of just black bucktails alone, I could literally cover every inch of deck space on this boat with just my black bucktails! When you add all the other bucktail sizes/colors, plus all the other bait categories, I might need on any given day . . . there’s just not enough room to bring it all!”
Then Josh confided in Ben . . . “I have had this idea for a while of trying to design a bucktail where you could actually switch out the blade sizes and colors with an interchangeable clevis system, I just don’t have the skills or resources to bring it to life.” Ben smiled and looked at Josh and said “You know what I do for a living . . . I design and make stuff . . . stuff just like what you are describing.”
They decided right there and then to partner on designing a bucktail with an interchangeable clevis system. Little did they know how many hours and designs they would go through before they finally landed on “The One.” It took three years of designing and building expensive molds and prototypes that were by most people’s standards “good enough” to bring to market. While all the versions they created caught fish, they all had some quirk or issue that didn’t quite meet their high expectations.
They wanted to ensure the final version had blades that start and stay spinning easily at a variety of speeds without folding back and without having fouling issues. The blades had to be easy enough to switch out but secure enough not to lose them.
It seemed like each design would solve one of the problems but create another. At one point, there was talk of giving up, because they invested years of time and significant money into something that was starting to feel like couldn’t be done. Thankfully, they kept going, trying to make the impossible possible.
In 2022, while discussing yet another new prototype design, Josh asked Ben about the idea of making the inside of the clevis system square to give the bait a more unique sound and vibration profile. While it required a complete redesign, Ben embraced the challenge and designed the first prototype bait with square brass tubing on the inside. It became obvious on the first cast this bait made a new and unique sound and vibration in the water that you could feel through the rod and hear with your ears.
The other thing that quickly became obvious was that the muskies were responding to this new version in a very positive and aggressive way! Josh and his boat guests ended up catching 38 muskies in a row on the prototypes!
The crazy part about that is that Josh uses a tried and true process (mentioned earlier) where he starts each day of fishing off with a variety of lure styles to determine what the fish prefer on any given day. But each day had the same outcome, they wanted “the one” and they wanted it bad.
Along the way, Ben refined the locking collar design that finally solved all the issues they had experienced with fouling, and losing blades on previous designs. Now that patent applications have been accepted and are in place. They are finally ready to share this revolutionary bait with the fishing world.