With the effects of COVID-19 leaching onto both our residents’ health and paycheck, it is more important now than ever to shop locally for your hunting and fishing gear.
Luckily, you can purchase some of that gear directly from the makers, and many manufacturers of sporting goods reside right here in the Sunflower State.
Trophy Bass Company, based out of Overland Park, is one of the state’s most successful fishing lure retailers and sponsors anglers from the youth and high school circuit all the way to the pros.
Lenexa native Casey Scanlon, a pro angler on the FLW Tour and guide on Lake of the Ozarks, co-owns the company alongside fellow Kansas native Travis Perret and promotes the company’s products during tournaments. Perret, who also fishes competitively, said the pairing was meant to be.
"I’ve been fishing bass tournaments for the last 15 years or so," Perrett said. "I met Casey Scanlon while fishing against him at many of the tournaments in the Ozarks area. I knew he was originally from Lenexa, Kansas, and I live in Overland Park, Kansas. So we had a connection."
For a time, Perret worked as a public relations manager for Scanlon as his fishing career began to take off. The idea to hire Perret came from another professional angler from Kansas, Brent Chapman, who also was a client of Perret.
After several years, Perret decided to quit working on the social media side and focus on a new direction.
"When I told Casey I was going to stop, he said OK, but that he had a tackle sponsor that was going out of business that he had designed this amazing jig for," Perret said. "It was such a good jig that he thought we could start a tackle company and sell it.
"It was and is a great jig and I agreed to partner with him on it. We also asked Justin Russell to join us as a part owner."
Russell runs Russell Marine Products out of El Dorado, a boat fiberglass company that he has transformed into one of the largest online dealers in the U.S. for Garmin and Lowrance fish finders. Garmin, as a side note, was founded in 1989 in Lenexa and is now headquartered in Olathe.
TBC began as an online store and quickly became a product offered in 20 stores nationwide, including a couple in New York and East Texas.
TBC’s featured product is the Ozark Flash, a reintroduced version of the spinnerbait designed by Ozarks angler Jerry McCutchen that has won thousands of dollars in prize money through regional and national tournaments, the company said. It has painted blades and a flat head that helps with skipping the lure under docks, and features a big 5/0 Mustad hook with a trailer keeper.
"The great thing about Jerry is he is a legendary tournament angler in the Ozarks," Perret said. "He has won over $600,000 and actually won a log cabin. He is famous in the Ozarks for his prowess with a spinnerbait. He taught us everything about what made his spinnerbaits the best. The best components, the best wire and the best blades, and we incorporated it into ours."
It can be an especially useful lure during the fall, when bass and other species of fish begin feeding on large schools of shad in the shallows.
For those who like throwing bass jigs, TBC has several solid options. For faster retrieves, the Trophy Swim Jig can be paired with a swimbait trailer to move throughout the water column and rip right through grass and weeds. For a slower, more finesse approach near the bottom, TBC offers the Trophy Pro Finesse jig in 5/16th- and 7/16th-ounce varieties that come two to a pack for $8.59 on the company’s website, https://www.trophybasscompany.com.
For heavy-duty flipping, the Trophy Pro Jig is the company’s standard-bearer, with weights ranging from 3/8th to 3/4th of an ounce and a Gamakatsu 5/0 Heavy Wire Hook to keep fish pinned. The jig heads also are designed to stand up on the bottom, making it great for craw trailers.
TBC also offers two shakey head jigs — the rounded TBC Shakey Head that comes in three weights and hook sizes ranging from 4/0 to 5/0, as well as the flat-headed TBC Magnum Shakey Head that comes in either 1/2 or 3/4 of an ounce and features an 8/0 Gamakatsu hook.
For those who like to wacky rig but want a faster fall rate, particularly for deeper water, TBC also makes a Wacky Weight that goes directly onto the hook, making for an easy setup. The item was the first product the company offered, which Scanlon designed after fishing with a Japanese angler who used a similar concept.
"Our focus is tournament anglers and serious bass fishermen," Perret said. "We are hardcore tournament anglers and love doing it. "