Twenty-four years old seems to be awfully young to own a lure company. But that doesn’t faze Zac Dubois, the mind behind Cajun Lures LLC, a Kaplan-based soft plastic lure maker.
The avid largemouth bass fisherman will admit in a candid moment that he would “like to give myself a shot at going pro someday.” But realistically, his lure-making business holds a lot more immediate promise.
He had some ideas, based on bass fishing with his father and his experience on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) Fishing Team. As a student in the Industrial Design Program at ULL, he learned how to design, manufacture and market products.
Naturally, the products he was interested in were fishing lures. He modeled his first two lures, the Poodoo Craw, a crawfish imitation, and the Bayou Bug, a beaver-style bait, using computer assisted design (most often referred to as CAD) software.
Then he used a 3-D computer printer to produce the baits in hard plastic. The hard plastic prototypes were in turn used to make silicon molds. He produced the first lures by pouring plastic melted down from packs of old lures.
Dubois sent a few to a buddy who fished Lake Fork in Texas, who promptly caught a 6-pounder. “I had to make a lot more of them,” he smiled.
ULL wasn’t through prepping Dubois, however. In his senior year he qualified for an incubator class, from which he learned the fundamentals of business and how to start up a business.
Dubois started commercial production in January 2015. Savings from his day job as a marine designer for Incat Crowther, a Lafayette naval architecture firm, have helped him fund his growing lure business.
He has steadily expanded his line of bass offerings from these two lures plus four worm options to include a Bush Hog, a Swamp Swimmer swim bait and most recently a frog named Cooyon Croaker.
He hasn’t neglected other fish, producing a 2-inch Slim Jimmy for crappie and several saltwater grubs, beetles, and swim baits.
He sells his lures directly, rather than through the typical distributor network. About half of his sales come from retail tackle stores. The other half are made directly to individuals from his Cajun Lures website.
“I’m still small,” he explained. “I hand-pour everything. They are not made in China!
“A big strength is that I can produce custom colors. Even if it has never been made before, I can do it. I can also duplicate colors that have been discontinued by others.”