Father-son fishing trip turning into big business

As a potter and craftsman, Mark White of ‘Oma’o has a goal of making something useful.

If that useful creation is not only beautiful but functional as well, that’s even better.

So imagine his excitement when he found that his colorful fishing lures are coveted by anglers and irresistible to ocean fish all over the world.

“The goal of a craftsman is to make something useful.” The fact that his Mark White Lures have also been used successfully by amateur and professional anglers the world over is “a high use,” he says.

White first experimented with creating lures when his son Jesse, 4 at the time (he’s 21 now), wanted his dad to teach him to fish.

Since then, his passion has turned into a profession that “might” make him forsake pottery for luremaking, he said.

After teaching his son to fish, he and son read up on fishing, freshwater and otherwise, and the elder White began to think about how porcelain pieces would do as fishing lures.

But at that time, it was just tinkering.

So he tinkered. By his account, for 16 or 17 years.

While testing out some of his early creations on the cliffs above Shipwreck Beach (Keoneloa Bay) near the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Po’ipu, and catching fish, some of his friends asked about buying his lures.

Since his lure-making was in its infancy, he didn’t feel right selling lures to friends, so he gave them away.

“They were all catching fish.

It was very exciting to me,” he said.

Experimentation continued, with the end result being tougher lures that would stand repeated hits from ono, mahi and marlin.

He went from a point where he had hundreds of pounds of broken lures from stress tests of dropping them onto a cement slab, to now where his lures are so tough they make dents in the cement, he said.

“None have been lost in the line of duty. The guys using them for ono are really happy,” he said. That first part, about not losing any in the line of duty, may be a bit of a fish story.

Every angler loses lures, either from vicious strikes, unforgiving ocean-bottom or shoreline conditions, careless knot-tying, or a litany of other circumstances, and those using Mark White Lures are no exception, he admitted.

While there have been successes, mainly that the lures attract fish, White said he doesn’t yet feel successful.

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