Challenger Lures Story                  Back to main index/contents page on this website

This information is for you fishermen in Western New York to brighten your day! Change your lure, change your luck!!

Challenger lures work like the real thing
A report by By WILL ELLIOTT ~ Buffalo News Outdoors Writer  07/24/05      

John Hickey/Buffalo News Challenger Lures continue to attract anglers working area lakes and streams.

Challenger, a Western New York lure-making company, has steadily attracted anglers fishing locally area waters - and angling hot spots worldwide. Challenger producers look to familiarize fishermen with their extensive line of artificial baits that work as well or better than live baits on Great Lakes and inland waters.

Large, nationally established companies that manufacture "stickbaits" or minnow-like body-bait fishing lures include names such as Bomber, Rebel, Rapala, Storm, Reef Runner, Kwikfish, Cotton Cordell, and Yo-Zuri, just to name the top few.

The Challenger Company, made up mostly of fishermen actively working area waters, has been aggressively entering this competitive lure-sales market for the past five years. Making fishing lures depends much on name recognition and on successful fish catches on previous trips.

"Right now, our biggest task is to just get our lures into the hands of active area anglers who regularly fish locally and on outings elsewhere," said Jim Dolly Sr*., a company coordinator involved in lure design, color and distribution.

Dolly's fishing team, with its leader, Captain Tim Fedeson of the City of Tonawanda aboard Fireman Charters, took sixth place in the Amara-Can Tourney out of Dunkirk Harbor July 9 and 10. Jim Dolly Jr. of Niagara Falls and Jim Twist of Ransomville rounded out this four-angler team.

In 2004, the Fedeson-Dolly team took fourth place in the 444 Tourney held in Canada. In all competitions, this team runs a variety of harness and stickbait lures.

"The pink and purple Challenger took the most fish in the Amara-Can," Fedeson said. "Those fish move around so much and lure choices switch so much that it's just a matter of being there when they hit." His team will be competing in the Can-Am contests this weekend.

Challenger lures began at a time when major lure companies were merging or selling out to other manufacturers. Most notable was the sale of Storm Lures, which resulted in changes to the Thunderstick and Junior Thunderstick, two stickbaits well known to area casters and trollers.

"We put together the most popular body designs and color finishes that would attract fish in all possible conditions," Dolly explained, "and our line of Juniors and Micros have taken off as well as the standard-sized baits."

The Junior series, similar to the old Junior Thunderstick with a bit more flutter, works well in lakes and streams where smaller bait fish serve as forage.

"The Micros have yet to catch on in local waters, but they have become a big hit with pros doing bottom-bouncing in rivers throughout the Missouri and Mississippi chain," Dolly noted.

Bigger Challenger models have been king-like on Lake Ontario salmon, according to Capt. Duane Hofert**, a charter captain working out of Wilson Harbor.

"We seem to get bigger fish on the Challenger sticks; this past spring orange had been a favored color," Hofert said.

With the heavy concentration of bait seen in the Western New York water of Lake Erie so far this season, stickbaits have been on a comeback, vying with worm harnesses for limit catches of big 'eyes.

To find out more about Challenger Lures, call (800) 942-3777 or go to:

* For you that are reading this Jim Dolly was one of our beloved John Ranney's fishing and business partners when they were into manufacturing downrigger and planer board releases.

** Captain Duane Hofert is one of the earliest Charter Captains to fish the Olcott-Wilson area on Lake Ontario. Hofert is very much respected Captainand always stays on top of things. He is much like a godfather to new upcoming Charter Operators.

Check with your tackle dealer for these lures. If they don't have them they can get them in a matter of days.

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