Baby Beaver Musky Lure: Hard to Categorize, Hard to Resist
A lure that both defies categorization and triggers giant musky strikes has a tendency to get people talking. Such is the case with the Baby Beaver lure from Beaver’s Baits. We’ve never seen anything like it!
Says Brian Boyum, inventor of the Baby Beaver, “I wanted to create something different—not another crankbait or topwater or bucktail. My bait swims totally under water. And I haven’t seen any other baits on the market that have the up and down movement of the Baby Beaver. I think it’s good when dealers tell me they don’t know what category to put it in!” And the feedback Brian’s gotten thus far on its performance has been “absolutely incredible.”
The bait's body is tied with deer hair (about one full deer tail per Baby Beaver XL) and is connected with split rings. The rubber tail is molded onto the hook and is attached to the bait with a split ring, making it replaceable. Brian also added the option of turning the bait into a bucktail by adding blades to the front eyelet. “I thought, we’ve got a very unique bait here. Let’s give fishermen the option to run this as a bucktail too. It has some kick to it. The body twitches, the tail kicks, and then there’s the thump of the blades...all using the same lure.” Check out the amazing swimming action of the Baby Beaver on BeaversBaits.com. At the end of the video, right before the musky strikes, you can watch the rod tip action Brian uses to work this bait.
It was the popular “Musky Fever” that originally led to Brian Boyum’s interest in creating lures. He started out hand-carving crankbaits, top water baits, and tying bucktails for his own personal use. But he soon found it to be too time-consuming, as he was already working full-time as an electrical engineer. At that point, he could not justify spending all that additional time on lure making.
Years later, however, Brian came upon an idea that he knew he simply had to pursue. A good friend and fellow musky angler in northern Minnesota had contacted the DNR for regulations on squirrel hunting, and upon receiving the green light, he went ahead and shot a few. With each squirrel, he then inserted a wire ring through the nose, with a leader attached, and ran another leader to the squirrel’s belly, into which he stabbed a treble hook. He then fished that dead, limber squirrel, and caught two fish in an hour.
Brian knew there had to be a way to mimic that presentation using artificial components. It wasn’t long before he had assembled a prototype. But when he fished it, he didn’t get the results he wanted. In retrospect, he believes the fish just weren’t biting that day. But that slow day led to his decision to shelf the bait.
Persistence Pays Off
Five years went by. And the party responsible for returning the Baby Beaver to the water? It was Brian’s stepson, Cody. As Brian puts it, “he kept hounding me for it, and finally I gave in and said he could go fish it.” Cody went fishing with the same family friend who had been throwing the dead squirrels, and who had also raised a nice fish the day before, so they knew right where to go. That day, Brian received a phone call from Cody who reported, “I just crushed a 49” on the Baby Beaver!” It was only four casts in, with the prototype on the end of his line.
After that phone call, Brian made four more prototypes in different colors. The first time he headed out with a friend to try out the bait, it again took only four casts to land a musky—a 53.5”! He cleaned up that weekend with another two 49’s and two 48’s. Brian went home and jumped into the next stages of lure production, researching different plastics and the how-to’s of casting and making molds.
Amazingly, the current Baby Beaver is nearly identical to the original prototype. Only a few physical characteristics evolved, such as the addition of a face and a unique tail, both of which Brian sculpted and casted to create molds.
Balance? What Balance?
As any lure-maker knows, it is challenging to strike a satisfying balance with your time. Brian says simply, ”There is no balance. I punch out from my ‘real’ job and then punch in to my second job. It wears on a person...I go to bed, get up, and do it all over again. But you’re not going to be successful at something sitting on the couch. I’m going for it.”
In order to get things moving a bit more quickly, Brian invented a machine that holds in place the deer hair and the piece he’s working on, but is also capable of spinning, so he can turn the piece and move it in and out, while the thread and tensioner are stationary. “Without the machine, I wouldn’t have the bait out on the market. Before using the machine, it took me an entire night to build one bait. Now I put the hair in there, push the pedal, and it’s all motorized. It’s pretty cool.” Brian estimates that when he sits down and ties without interruptions, he can tie 4 XLs or 6 Originals in 2-3 hours. But because tying these lures, even with the machine, is prohibitively time-consuming, (especially when he has more ideas in the hopper and more prototypes in the testing stages) Brian is talking with a few companies about getting the Baby Beaver mass-produced. “I’d rather not be sitting in my basement tying lures all summer and all winter long. Who wants to do that?”
There are plenty of bright spots too. In addition to the positive feedback he’s received, Brian reports that the most fun part of this lure-making venture has been the people he gets to meet. “These people have been in the industry for many, many years. And they’ve been great. I started this because I wanted to have fun, and to help people on the water. That’s what it’s all about for me.”
The Baby Beaver is available in two sizes: the Original is 12” long, weighs 3.5 oz and uses 6/0 hooks. The Baby Beaver XL is 14.5” long, weighs 6 oz, and uses 8/0 hooks. The lure is constructed of plastic with .062 wire molded into each body piece.
To work the Baby Beaver, Brian advises using “a steady reel retrieve, moving the rod tip about a foot as you reel. It’s similar to using a jerkbait, but you don’t jerk as hard. As the operator, you have to make this bait come to life. You can do a straight retrieve and the bait will move, but it’s really up to you to make it come to life by twitching the rod as you reel.” Now, what musky angler can resist a challenge like that?!
- Josh Stevenson