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Wayne Kent at 16
Before it became an East Texas product, it was popular with local fishermen, including now-company president Wayne Kent, right, who as a 15-year-old in 1959 caught this stringer of bass fishing the worm on Lake Tyler. Wayne Kent, Creme president, said Creme finished refining his formula and design in 1949, but as a revolutionary fishing product it sunk faster than a boat anchor. The early worms, Kent said, looked more like a bolt than an worm. "Back then we didn't care what they were doing in Dallas or even Lufkin; it was the reports from the local sports shops that matter, and here it was usually about Lake Tyler," said Kent, who in the 1950s held a part-time job at Milton Goswick's Bait and Tackle Shop on East Front Street. "A couple of weeks later several boxes of worms showed up at the shop," Kent said. That changed sometime in the early 1960s with the invention of the Texas rig, something Kent thinks happened on Lake Tyler. Kent believes the early worm's legacy lives on in other time-worn gear used by fishermen today, including rods specifically designed for worm fishing and maybe even casting reels, which in the early days weren't as popular as spinning reels because of backlashing. Kent said while the formula isn't exactly the same as it was in 1949, it is more similar than most fishermen might realize.
Wayne Kent, President of Creme Lures, also uses tournament fishermen and guides to field test new products.
Kent checks their sponsors and equipment, exposure in publications, and other evidence of marketing, credibility and presence. While choosing who to sponsor with product is difficult, providing product for tournaments is equally challenging, "...because there are so many of them …if you sponsor one and not another, then you get into trouble", says Kent. Creme considers the geographic location of the trail, number of competitors, and recommendations of his contacts.
According to Wayne Kent , Creme Lure Company's current owner , several things happened during the 1950s to make Tyler so important : For one thing , Skeeter [ a local company ] had just come out with the first modern bass boat.At about the same time , Carl Lowrance in nearby Tulsa , Oklahoma , had just come out with the first sonar units for anglers.Then , too , new reservoirs were being built that had deepwater structure that attracted bass.So everything sort of came together right here , said Kent.Our local bass fishermen now had the boats , the sonar , the right water.They had the new plastic worms , and very quickly had the Texas-rigging style for fishing those worms- a style we also think originated right around Tyler back then..Plastic FantasticOther things were happening at more or less the same time , of course , that helped to put soft baits into tackle boxes nationwide.
In 1989 Knight Manufacturing and Crème Lure merged and Kent took over the responsibility of managing Crème Lure.
A tip of the fishing cap to Wayne Kent and all of the employees at Crème Lure for making such great products available.
HOW GOOD IS GOOD?: Wayne Kent (left), president of Creme Lure, talks with his son and company vice president Chris Kent about the company's new FishFrog."That is the problem," said Wayne Kent, Creme's president.Our boxes are up over 10 percent and we are getting a fuel surcharge on all of our freight inbound and outbound of 25 percent," Kent explained. "They have to be good and really unique," Kent said.When we used to show a product in July for putting them in the store in January we were at their mercy," Kent said, referring to those who knock off their products. Another factor Creme would have never imagined having to deal with was the very retailers he sells to going overseas and developing private label lines that they sell next to other manufacturers at a discounted cost.It is the responsibility of the retailer to figure out how to get it out of the stores," said Kent, whose company remains a family run operation. The fishing tackle industry has gone through a wave of mergers, bankruptcies and failures.Even for a company that once dominated the industry; the fishing tackle business is one of the toughest to survive. "We are holding our own," Kent said.