Samuel "Jimbo" Robertson is the man behind the Bass Trap spinnerbait from Slam Dunk Lures, an artificial lure-manufacturing company he started in 1983.
The Bass Trap was born in 1992, two years after Robertson sold his Humdinger spinnerbaits to TNT Lures. He said the brand was sold several years ago to an artificial lure manufacturer in Donaldsonville.
But Robertson, who lives in Central in East Baton Rouge Parish, shut down his Slam Dunk operation — which included his Bass Traps, Thumper Jigs and buzz baits — in 2009.
By popular demand and the urging from his 31-year-old son Chad and 26-year-old daughter Chelsea Robertson Smith (both of whom grew up helping make the artificial lures), Robertson got the ball rolling again in 2012.
His grown children and son-in-law got a Web site up and running for the company.
"We are excited to have our lures on the market again," Robertson said. "Our lures are still produced with the same great quality and performance that has been standard for our lures since the beginning."
And the spinnerbaits have been assembled in Baton Rouge from Day 1.
No one could be happier than Laiche, a 37-year-old basser who qualified to fish the 2008 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell in Greenville, S.C., via the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation route. After Day One of the Classic, he was resting in 16th place with three of his biggest bass having fallen for a Bass Trap. He finished 31st.
"As long as I can remember, since I started serious tournament fishing in 2004, I've been using Bass Trap spinnerbaits and Slam Dunk Thumper Jigs," said the avid bass angler, who has won 19 tournaments since 2002 and has been a multiple winner over the years on the Louisiana B.A.S.S. Federation Team. He won Bass Pro Shops Team Bass Challenge events in 2009 and 2010 in the Atchafalaya Basin. "Why?
"Well, ummm, before I met Jimbo Robertson, that jig and spinnerbait were popular in this area. I started using them and having success. I talked to Jimbo, I was able to meet him, and I asked him about his jig and spinnerbait."
But Laiche's use of the spinnerbait came from a deeper understanding of how the lure worked.
"I noticed the spinnerbait put out a good amount of vibration," he said. "I found out (Robertson) did vibration analysis for Exxon."
Yes, vibration is the key to the balanced and compact Bass Trap. Robertson, who has worked as a financial advisor for a New Jersey-based company for the past 13 years after working as a machinist and vibration specialist for the oilfield-related company in South Louisiana, realized it didn't take an ultralight wire to add the vibration characteristic to Bass Traps.
He uses an .035 diameter wire, while many other spinnerbait makers use .032. But it's the design that makes the difference, makes the vibration that riles a bass when it isn't hungry.
With his expertise in machining and vibration, he realized the most-effective design revolves around the length of the arm from the eye where the line is tied to where the blades are, as well as the head/hook placement on the other wire.
"After much research, trial and error (a lot of the time spent working with them in a swimming pool) an extremely effective spinnerbait was produced," the story on the Web site states.
That statement won't get any argument from Laiche.
"It all started to make sense to me, why the spinnerbait was so successful and productive," he said. "I want people to understand you don't have to have thin wire to get the most vibration.
"The reason I know this thing works is I've had anglers in the back of the boat throwing other brands; it's definitely obvious this spinnerbait makes a difference."
Laiche, an analysis technician for Occidental Chemical Corp. in Geismar, said he prefers the 5/16-ounce model in the spring because it's closer to the size of baitfish at that time of year. He also can work the lighter model at a slower retrieve, he confided.
But later in the year, Laiche loves to throw the 7/16-ounce model, one that matches the size of the bigger baitfish during that season.
"The whole gist of my business is to provide the highest quality spinnerbait at a price that the average fisherman can enjoy," Robertson said, noting both models are armed with 4/0 Mustad Needlepoint hooks, quality ball-bearing swivels, and top-of-the-line Indiana and willowleaf blades. The gold willowleaf blades are 24-karat.
"It's durable, economical and it catches the hell out of fish," he said. "It's just a fish-catching machine. I love it."
For more information on Bass Traps, Slam Dunk Thumper Jigs and other products, go to slamdunklures.com or call 225-936-8502.