McALESTER — An Oklahoma bass fisherman has teamed with a Missouri bait company to produce one of the newest creature baits on the market.
“Whiskers” debuted at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo in Birmingham, Ala., three months ago. It’s manufactured by Tightlines UV (Ultimate Vision) of Maryville, Mo., and was designed by Greg Dorris of Bristow.
Dorris, a fourth-grade schoolteacher, has been a bass fisherman for almost 50 years. His father, J.E. Dorris, was a longtime bass fishing guide on Lake Texoma and Lake Eufaula whose former college roommate was Okiebug founder and 1972 Bassmaster Classic Champion Don Butler.
Dorris has tinkered with baits most of his life, trying to win money in bass tournaments. His father, who was a high school principal, designed his own spinnerbait called the Dorris Dandy, which many years ago was popular among bass anglers on Lake Eufaula.
Dorris got the idea for “Whiskers” — a soft plastic bait that looks like a crawdad with whiskers instead of claws — after watching a fishing show that featured a frog bait that had legs of bundled strands for legs, much like the rubber skirt on a spinnerbait or jig.
He created his first homemade baits using a sewing needle to attach the strands or “whiskers” to a soft plastic crawdad.
He decided to patent the design after a successful day of fishing with his 10-year-old son at Grand Lake. A bass tournament was being held on the lake that day, and Dorris would cast for his son and let him fish the new bait.
“I put the lure on a Carolina rig and we started going down this bank behind these tournament guys,” Dorris said. “The tournament guys were fishing in there with worms and jigs and not catching much.”
Dorris’ son, however, started catching bass. After landing three or four, the claws on the crawdad bait had been bit off. Dorris kept throwing the bait for his son with just the strands attached and the bites got even better.