March 20, 2020
Michael Simonton of Berlin Heights, Ohio, is the proprietor of Venture Lures.
In February, we exchanged numerous emails about Venture Lures and its six soft-plastic baits. He also told us about his career as a summertime fishing guide on Lake Erie, his days of competing on the Bassmaster Northern Open and Elite events from 2009 to 2016, his garnering of the Bassmaster Northern Open’s Angler of the Year Award in 2011, and his life as a devoted middle-school teacher in special education, which he has been relishing for 14 years.
In due course, we discovered that he is 39 years old. His guiding career began in 2014, and he began making soft-plastic baits in 2016.
He began creating his baits for two reasons. The first reason revolved around what he described as curiosity and a desire to make his own and unique designs and colors. Then, as his guiding business began to grow, he needed more baits, and he was able to reduce the costs of acquiring baits by making them. What’s more, he discovered that the anglers whom he guided “liked the fact that they were using the guide’s homemade lures.”
He noted that the architypes of each bait were carved out of pieces of wood, and then there were a lot of modifications. All six of the soft-plastic baits were created before January of 2018, which is when Venture Lures was born. It is a one-man endeavor, but his wife occasionally provides more than a helping hand or two.
He told us that the Steady Swimmer was the first bait that he created. And he said: “I got lucky with it. It is not yet, but it should end up being the flagship bait of my lineup once people discover its potential. I initially wanted to carve a swimbait that was small and compact but put off a ton of action, so I could still catch smallmouth bass when Lake Erie gets dirty in the early spring. It does just that.” And it also catches them around scores of clear-water lairs.
He sent us a 2.75-inch Steady Swimmer for us to work with, thoroughly examine, and publish a gear guide about it.
Here is what we discovered about the Steady Swimmer.
It is an abstract rendition of a variety of darters, shiners, chubs, daces, and other small fishes.
It is 2 5/8 inches long.
Its predoral area, which contains its head, is endowed with a noticeable upper and lower jaw, two pronounced and bulging eyes, and two significant gill membranes. The bulbous eye has a diameter of a quarter of an inch. Its snout somewhat resembles the snout of a johnny darter. The entire predorsal area is eleven-sixteenths of an inch long. Its epidermis is smooth. Its dorsal is concaved with a smooth epidermis, and its ventral is convex with a smooth epidermis. Its circumference, which includes its bulbous eyes, is about 1 ¼ inches. The dorsal section is three-eighths of an inch wide at its widest spot.
The distance from the tip of the predorsal area to its anus is one inch. This is the anterior section of the Steady Swimmer. The dorsal area of this part of the Steady Swimmer’s torso is slightly concaved with a smooth epidermis. Its ventral area is convex, and except for the imprint of two pelvic fins, which are about a half of an inch long, the ventral’s epidermis is smooth. Each side of the torso is embellished with an array of scales. At its widest spot, the dorsal area is three-eighths of an inch wide and the circumference of the torso at this spot is 1 ½ inches. At its largest spot, the depth or height of the torso is nine-sixteenths of an inch.
The Steady Swimmer’s posterior section is narrower and smaller than its anterior section. And it consists of the caudal peduncle and tail. It is 1 1/8 inches long. Its dorsal is flat with a smooth epidermis. Its ventral is convex with a smooth epidermis. The sides are imprinted with scales. The dorsal is three-eighths of an inch wide at its junction with the tail, and at its widest spot, which is at the junction with the anterior section, it has a width of five-sixteenths of an inch. The depth or height of the side of this section varies from one-quarter of an inch to three-eighths of an inch.
Adjacent to its anus, the posterior’s ventral area possesses a significant notch or indentation.
The Steady Swimmer is endowed with a paddle- or boot-style tail. In some ways, it exhibits the shape of a cordate leaf. From the top of the paddle to its bottom, which is called its major axis, it is thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long. It is eleven-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot. It is thin and about one-sixteenth of an inch thick. It has a circumference of about 2 1/8 inches. The epidermis is smooth. On each side of the tail, there is a small triangular-shaped indentation. Along its major axis, the outside surface possesses a slight indentation.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Alewife, Casino, Clearwater Perch, Chartreuse Perch, Glimmer Shad, Goby Plus, Ghost, Great Lakes Gill, Holy Moly, Mojito, Mossback Shiner, Party Perch, Smallie Shad, Table Rock Shad, and Watermelon Smoke.
Simonton shakes flower salt and sprinkles garlic scent on them.
It is buoyant.
A package of six costs $4.50. There is also a 3.25-inch Steady Swimmer that costs $5.25 a package.
Simonton says the Steady Swimmer possesses “a unique mid-section action, and it doesn’t roll at high speeds.” He notes the anglers whom he guides “are shocked at how much action this little bait puts off.” Simonton affixes it to either a 3/16- or 5/16-ounce Venture Lures’ Custom Ball Head jig with either a 2/0 or 3/0 hook. He works with it on a 7 ½-foot spinning rod, and his reel is spooled with 10-pound-test braided line and an eight-pound-test fluorocarbon leader.