Growing up in an area like this offers so many blessings it’s easy to take them all for granted. We are gifted with four seasons and many activities to do in all of them. One of the activities I was raised participating in, as I’m sure many of you were, is fishing. I don’t think that a year has gone by where I haven’t gone out for the surface bite or another type of fishing. It seems as though coming from such an outdoorsy community, it shouldn’t have been a surprise to learn that a local is creating his own lures right here in Westwood, but it was.
Herman Oswald, the creator of Catching Concepts Crankbaits has been creating his own baits since he was 9 years old. Since then his mastery of lures has grown as well as his passion for his craft. Herman operates a shop in Clear Creek, CA where he fabricates, paints, and sells his lures. He is the sole craftsman in every part of the creation process, which begins with recycled California Redwood from construction waste. “It’s all hands on, I hand draw the pattern onto the wood and then cut it out. I use all the different sanders and shaping tools to shape them out,” Herman explained. After that the process continues with the baits being coated and layered with sealer before being airbrushed by Herman.
Herman has about 27 different models to choose from with unlimited paint options. He does have certain patterns and colors he prefers but if there’s an order with a unique request, he can comply. Some of Herman’s biggest customers are lure shops out of Japan and he’s actually found that they choose colors a little more exotic than the tastes here in the US.
“The Japanese man doesn’t have the same taste in colors as we do. So I’ve found that I do paint some unusual colors for Japan; pinks and purples and other colors that American men find feminine or not appealing. They wouldn’t buy a hot pink lure. So it’s kinda different and they’re fishing for the same fish, they’re fishing for a bass.”
For the most part Herman sticks with his own signature colors. They all have names and are written down like recipes so he gets the same outcome every time. He has come to realization that before his lure can catch a fish he has to sell the lure to a fisherman. “A lot of my more intricate patterns and fancy color schemes and stuff are more to catch the fisherman first because honestly some of the most plain colors, like this bone white color, that’s one of the best colors there is. But most guys don’t find it appealing, they’d rather buy the one that looks like a Bluegill or one with more intricate fancy looking colors.”
Herman was recently featured in Bass Angler Magazine and that exposure has helped get his product out to a wider audience. Because his lures are completely hand made with his own signature on each of them, they have a quality to them that is unique to the Bass fishing world.
Herman described it, saying, “A lot of people are getting back to small companies and handmade items; more quality and less corporate. With these fishing lures, there’s a certain quality to them and I try and put my own love and passion for fishing into them and it shows. I don’t have any trouble selling them. As fast as I can make them, they sell.” Along with everything that goes into making the lures, Herman also tests them to make sure they are performing like they should before he ships them out.
“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s really rewarding to have people appreciate something that you love. I mean there was a time I just gave them away because I enjoyed making them. But it’s now a hobby that’s turned into a fun little business.” You can check out his Facebook page Catching Concepts Crankbaits for photos of the lures themselves and the fish they have caught. You can also find information on how to purchase lures, and answers to questions you might have. Herman also wants people to know they are always welcome to swing by the shop and check out his work first hand.