Fishing lures try new spin on light, color
Fishermen, take note. That colorful fishing lure in the attractive packaging on the store shelf has little or no appeal to a fish in the water, especially as the lure sinks deeper and deeper down.
Why is this? Many fishermen – and women who fish too – may not know that fish actually see in color and use this ability to hunt for food. However, the deeper a fishing lure sinks into water, the patterns and colors change. The result? The lure loses iridescence, color, and contrast, which makes it less attractive to the fish. As an example, the most brilliant red turns to almost black at 45 ft under water.
Enter Robert Senter of Castle Rock, CO, an avid fisherman, who was frustrated with his inability to catch as many deeper-water fish as he expected or wanted. With his degree in chemistry, years of experience in the medical supply field, and knowledge of polymers, he sought to find out why.
Today, with one U.S. patent in hand and several others pending, he is confident that he has a line of products that show promise to change – and improve – fishing forever. Senter heads up a company, R2 Innovations, LLC, whose Actiglo fishing lures are all engineered, manufactured, and assembled in the USA. What makes them different, and highly effective, is that they utilize proprietary mixtures of polymers with transparent colorants and light emitting diodes (LEDs) to maintain colorability and iridescence in any light condition and at most any water depth. Plus, the new lures can achieve neutral buoyancy at specific water depths, a very desirable feature.
What sets Actiglo lures apart from others is that they also use transparent, non-bleeding colorizers and reflective in the proprietary polymers that, when optically coupled to an LED, create natural colors and iridescence to the fishing lure. The result is a line of engineered and manufactured lures, hard-bodied jigs, swim baits, spoons, and spinner baits that mimic the natural color, color pattern, and iridescence of live bait fish.
The new Actiglo fishing lures successfully overcome not only the loss of sunlight at any depth fished, but also bait color degradation in cloudy, murky, or dirty water and adverse weather conditions. This means that the color and appeal of fishing with these lures at dawn, dusk, or at night – or even ice fishing – remain constant, while the visually appealing aspects of other fishing lures are diminished or completely lost. Small batteries that activate the illumination system achieve the ability to maintain the color and other features attractive to fish, no matter what the water depth or natural lighting conditions. Iridescence within the core of the lures can be deactivated by reversing the position of the battery, allowing the lure to be fished with or without its illumination capabilities.
Senter claims to be the first in the marketplace to not only acknowledge these opportunities and challenges, but to resolve them with new lures that really work. He has successfully put together a special team of materials experts, designers, and molders to turn his idea into real-world products that would and could mimic the natural appearance of live bait.
According to Senter, the team included:
1. Materials distributor (soft thermoplastic elastomers – TPEs) and elastomeric materials technical advisors Alliance Polymers and Services (APS), in Romulus, MI. APS (and specifically partners Roger Huarng and Stephane Morin) is well known for its ability to suggest materials and find molding solutions for product challenges. The materials criteria for the new Actiglo lures included:
- A better material than ABS plastics that have a tendency to yellow;
- Specific gravities to enable the lures to be produced to either float or sink to specific water depths;
- Refractive indexes to ensure the colors or color patterns would remain bright and appealing to fish;
- A soft-touch feel, but with a Shore A hardness that would make the lures soft and flexible and a tensile strength of 700 – 7,000 psi, which tends to make the lures literally bite resistant;
- Optical characteristics that would mimic the color, color pattern, and iridescence of popular water baits;
- No plastisols or other harmful ingredients;
- Good colorability and moldability.
2. Engineering was assigned to WayeGo Design LLC headed by Wayne Gonnering, also a skilled and avid angler. Gonnering is responsible for current and future lure designs, CAD drawings in IGS, STEP, and Al file formats, and coordinating manufacturing tolerances for component parts and injection molds.
3. Molding was awarded to ISO-rated High Performance Engineering, Colorado Springs, CO, under the direction of Hyrum Anderson. Anderson is the chief mechanical engineer and director at HPE high-grade metal aluminum injection molds and polymer component parts.
The team and their respective companies each and all have a penchant for having the products be as "green" and environmentally friendly as possible. No Actiglo lure has any lead in it, a metal that is hazardous and used by most fishermen to "sink" their lures. The line of Actiglo products uses different polymers in different products to enable and allow each lure to sink to pre-specified levels owing to their specific gravity (45 ft to 2,000 ft). By way of example, an Actiglo lure package marked 25 ft to 35 ft will sink to that depth and stay there.
According to Actiglo's Senter, "It is every fisherman's goal to catch larger fish, and of course for the lures they use not only to work, but be durable. Our products were far from an overnight invention and took many years of trial and error, from materials selection to design to molding of the final products. We expect the Actiglo line to be in leading fishing supply stores soon and on its way to changing fishing, forever."
R2 Innovations (Actiglo lures), www.actiglolures.com.
Alliance Polymers and Services (elastomeric materials), www.apstpe.com.
WayneGo Design LLC (design) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Performance Engineering (molding information) www.hpeweb.com.
Published July 2012
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