May 16, 2014
Stankx Bait Company of Portage, Michigan, has a wowee-zowee website, designed to catch the eye of anglers who scrutinize the Internet in search of state-of-the-art soft-plastic baits. And we readily confess that it caught our eyes straightaway.
The website was created by Andrew Ragas of Chicago and RagasMedia. According to Travis Crosman of Portage and proprietor of Stankx, he has been working with Ragas since the birth of Stankx in 2009. From the beginning, their aim has been to make it easier for anglers to acquire the soft-plastic baits that they need. What's more, the website allows Crosman, who is blessed with an engaging personality, to specialize on what he calls a "personal one-on-one service" with anglers. By relying on the website, Stankx doesn't spend money on advertising, and they pass that savings to the angling world. These savings, as well as their one-on-one service, allows Stankx to manufacture unique soft-plastic baits that Crosman says are more durable and effective than the baits that the "big-name companies" manufacture.
Crosman is 36 years old. Before the advent of Stankx, he made soft-plastic baits as a hobby. Ultimately several friends and a group of anglers on Fishing-Headquarters.com motivated him to create Stankx, which began during the spring of 2009. For nearly 20 years, he has worked in the construction and hardware trade. Besides his Stankx endeavors, he is also a manager of a hardware store, and on Wednesdays through Saturdays, he works at the hardware business. Then on Mondays and Tuesdays, he works in the Stankx shop, manufacturing soft-plastic baits that his customers have ordered during the past week. Some of those orders entail making customized colors and highlights, and in fact, he encourages anglers to request modifications or special effects to the baits they order. There are also some nights during the week when he finds himself working in the Stankx shop in order to satisfy the particular needs of his customers.
He is also a father of a 2 1/2-year-old son, who is the light of his and his wife's lives. Thus, he spends the rest of his time with his wife and their son. His passion as an angler has not waned, but because of his hardware and bait businesses, as well as his family life, he rarely fishes nowadays. Thus, he and his wife regularly utter this axiom: "Work hard now to play later."
He hopes there will be a time when he would be able to retire from the hardware business and spend his days creating baits and helping anglers.
At this moment Crosman manufactures 23 soft-plastic baits. They are the 4 1/2-inch Stix, 5 1/4-inch Stix, 5 1/2-inch .40 Caliber Stix, 2 3/4-inch Sidekick, four-inch Thug Grubz, 1 3/4-inch Polly Wogz, four-inch DS Slugz, six-inch DS Slugz, four-inch Mudbugz Creature, 3 3/4-inch The Hero, 3 1/2-inch D.D. Tubez, 4 3/4-inch FlukeZ, NXT LVL Flukez, six-inch Diamond Tailz, 4 1/2-inch Swankx Swimbait, 4 1/2-inch Swomz Swimbait, seven-inch BentWormz, 10-inch The Villian, five-inch Brush Hog, 3 1/2-inch Buzz Frogz, NXT LVC Buzz Frogz, and NXT LVL Lyv Craw.
Crosman says that his color chart has 154 options. He has developed a two-part viewpoint about color. The first element focuses on creating a realistic color. The second component revolves around highlighting a subtle difference, such as a delicate flash that will catch the eye of an angler's quarry. At this moment, he works with 24 stock colors, as well as 10 customized colors. This year he introduced what he described as the "next generation of soft-plastic baits." He calls them NXT LVL, and it is similar to the customized paint jobs that the great Tim Hughes of Reeds Spring, Missouri, creates on crankbaits and jerkbaits. According to Crosman, it is an "airbrush style of soft plastics that has been developed to appropriately 'match the hatch'." Crosman possesses the eyes and hands of an artist, and when he manipulates the colors for creating his soft-plastic baits, he forms what some anglers describe as a piece of piscatorial art.
Crosman has spent a considerable amount of time researching and developing durable soft-plastic baits. He notes that many black bass anglers prefer soft-plastic baits that are jam-packed with salt. These anglers maintain that the salt is a critical element in controlling the speed that a soft-plastic bait falls from the surface to the bottom. Some anglers also contend that salt is an attractant. At the same time, most anglers want a durable bait. But Crosman says that durability is compromised when soft-plastic baits are heavily impregnated with salt. Ultimately, he developed a salt formula that meets the fall rate needs, attractant feature, and durability requests of the angling world. In fact, one angler reported that he caught 21 largemouth bass on one Stankx's Stix baits. But according to Crosman, his Stix bait can endure an average of three to five feisty donnybrooks with largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass.
In 2013, Crosman began concocting and brewing a scent for his soft-plastic baits. It is called TC's Stankx Syrup, which has a garlic base. And in the near future, they will have a coffee scent and an anise one. All of the baits are impregnated with TC's Stankx Syrup. And anglers can purchase a two-ounce Yorker bottle for $3.99.
For more information about Stankx baits and how much they cost, please examine their website at http://www.stankxbaitco.com/.
(1) For more information about bent worms, please read this essay:https://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/09/11/of-the-kinky-worm-and-other-cock-eyed-finesse-presentations/.