By Grace Oborne
For local resident, preserving the Highlands’ water and overall environment is a key factor when designing his product.
Colt Taylor has always spent a lot of time fishing on Haliburton County’s lakes. It wasn’t until last summer that he decided to start making recyclable soft plastic fishing lures.
“I didn’t really start selling them until this winter in December. I make soft plastic fishing lures, mostly for bass fishing, but really for all kinds of species,” Taylor said.
Taylor creates baits specific to the species such as bass, muskie, walleye, pike, trout, crappie. His bait is available in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes.
The reason behind Taylor’s recyclable baits goes back to his experience in fishing. He said baits tear up, which makes them unusable for fishing. This results in anglers releasing them into the lake when they’re not biodegradable.
“When I started out, I realized that it was recyclable. I thought that that was just a great thing because I’ve always, even as a kid, seen baits in the water. If you ever keep a fish to eat, and you open it, it’s usually filled with plastic baits. The more we can do to keep this stuff out of our lakes and our water, the better.”
Taylor has started collecting used baits from anglers in the area and from the bass club to maintain supply for his own product.
Taylor has worked at Outdoors Plus in Haliburton for many years. This is where he collects used baits. One can buy fishing lures from Taylor through his business Facebook page, Haliburtonian Baits, but he also sells his product at Outdoors Plus.
The name, Haliburtonian Baits, was inspired by Taylor’s late-grandfather, Doug McCabe.
“I had a really hard time trying to come up with a name then just one night it came to me. My grandpa, he moved to Haliburton about 20 years ago around the same time that me and my mom did. He’s just always been a through and through local Haliburton guy. Everybody knew him and everybody liked him. He drove around with Haliburton stickers that he had custom made and people started to buy them off of him. He always liked that idea of calling local Haliburton residents, Haliburtonians. So, the name came from his idea of what he called himself.”
Taylor and his grandfather were close. Taylor found his passion for fishing through McCabe and they used to fish Haliburton’s lakes together.
“He actually passed away while fishing so that shows you just how much he loved the sport. He got me into fishing as a kid and then my love for it continued while growing up,” Taylor said.
Bass is Taylor’s favourite fish to catch, which is ultimately what inspired the soft plastic aspect of his recyclable products.
“I’m a part of the local bass club, so I bass fish a lot and it has always been what I’m interested in. It’s just my favorite fish to catch and so soft plastics are primarily used for bass, but you can use them for other species. When I started making them, I had that in mind.”
Local anglers have been impressed with the durability of Taylor’s lures in comparison to other brands.
“People really like the durability of them. They last a lot longer than some of the products on the market which get torn up after a few fish,” Taylor said.
This year, Taylor received a loan from Haliburton County Development Corporation to fund new moulds.
“The biggest help for me was the loan. They gave me a small business loan to expand on my line of mold so that I could make more baits and more styles of baits. They were a huge resource to me,” Taylor said.
With Haliburtonian Baits being such a success within the first year, Taylor has high hopes and big plans for the future.
“Next year, I hope to expand a little bit. Maybe into a few other local stores. I like my full-time job at Outdoors Plus so I want this to continue part time, almost like a paying hobby,” Taylor said.
“I also want to work throughout the winter to create a stock of bait so that I’m not constantly going home on my days off, like I am this summer, trying to catch up on orders. Ultimately, I hope to make a bunch of advanced stocks. Maybe then I can expand, hopefully, a little bit more into the online marketplace.”
At 24, Taylor understands that there are many other young aspiring entrepreneurs. He encourages others to work hard, and to stay true to themselves and their product.
“Just keep with it, and if you’re selling a product, make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth for it. I had a lot of people that wanted free product or stuff at a discount, and you can’t run a business that way, especially when you’re starting up. It’s all about support from people and spreading your product through word of mouth,” Taylor said.
To purchase fishing lures from Taylor, visit Outdoors Plus in Haliburton, or visit his Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/haliburtonianbaits.