Heartening to know some new product ideas are still born on the water. Sure, modern design programs convert concepts into digital drawings and prototypes are passed around boardroom tables. But it’s finding solutions to real world fishing challenges that plant the seeds of true innovation.

Such was the case not many moons ago when Plano V.P. of Engineering Ryan Kleckner hit the water with his better half Heidi and Frabill pro staff Tom Neustrom. Objective: pry loose a few walleyes.

That’s where the story begins.

“We were absolutely pounding the walleyes,” said Kleckner, harkening back to the amazing fishing they experienced on Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish. In the interest of experimentation, however, the trio set aside the credentialed jig and minnow tandem and decided to do a little trolling. As it went, the grand march of walleyes continued, fish after fish smashing the crankbait offerings.

Could it get any better for the Kleckners and Neustrom? Probably not. How about worse? Well, yes…relatively speaking. “Almost every time we netted a walleye or pike it’d go into a death roll and the baits and their hooks would get totally tangled. It was frustrating. Really chewed up our fishing time.”

So like any good inventor, Kleckner sought a solution. He looked up from a cocooned crankbait into Neustrom’s animated eyes and said, “Tom, I’ll find a fix.”

Back to the laboratory in Plano, Illinois, Kleckner went. And for the next 18-months, while Neustrom rigorously tested prototypes on the water, he watched a notion evolve into what is now the most advanced landing net in fishing.

What makes the current configuration so extraordinary? “Hooks don’t get snagged,” said Kleckner, sounding like Benjamin Franklin issuing a major ‘well, duh!’ “And even if the hooks go through the holes, they come right back out without knotting everything up.”

Those very holes are principle to the effectiveness of Frabill’s Crankbait Net. Rather than round or oval, they’re hexagonal. Kleckner and Neustrom tried every geometrical shape known to man, and found that a six-sided hole best staved off snags.

Those distinctively shaped holes are only half the story. The other primary objective is preventing the hook points from piercing the woven mesh fabric. Frabill has for years coated the mesh on its premium landing nets. Not only do the vinyl coatings fight snagging, they offer fish
TLC by saving protective slime coats and not battering fins, scales or gills.

For his signature Crankbait Net, however, Kleckner demanded a more substantial vinyl dipped coating. And on top of that, to further control the dipping process, the net material is treated before manufacturing. This superior technique is unique to Frabill landing nets.

Frabill’s Crankbait Netting is available on five models within the Conservation Series, ranging in price from $59.99 to $109.99.

It’s said that ‘necessity’ is the mother of invention. But if you ask Kleckner and Neustrom, they’ll say it was ‘frustration.’

Image and video courtesy Frabill

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