Ever dream about inventing a new lure that not only works like crazy, but also sells in the multi-millions? Most anglers have. Before you mortgage your home and start designing away, however, consider the following.

Ever hear of a man named Chuck Wood? No? Well, join the ranks of most of the angling world. Chuck invented the original Beetle Spin lure, which has sold over 100 million units. Despite its success, Wood died broke in a VA hospital, and friends pitched in to bury him.

Most anglers have heard of the Lindy Rig. Well, my brother Al and I invented it, and it has sold over 100 million units over the years. Take a guess at what Al and I made off of it: Zero! Although we made some money from the sale of Lindy Tackle Company, we never personally earned a dime off the design itself.

Still want to be a lure designer? Ever hear the name Ric Welle? Most anglers perhaps haven’t. But most have fished with a twister-type soft plastic tail, which Ric popularized. In this case, Ric made a few bucks on the design. But he personally never ‘got rich,’ as they say, from making the lure. Why?

When excess plastic squirted out of the mold cavity to form a wiggly tail around the end of a worm, the Mister Twister concept was born. Despite Ric’s original attempts to patent the design, a year after its introduction, 14 major imitators deluged the fishing industry with wiggly-tailed soft plastics. Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. And the surest way to split the profits.

Three of the most successful lure designs in history. Three tales of what woulda-coulda-shoulda been.

Ron Lindner