Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Gene Larew Lures is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its famous Salt Craw soft plastic fishing lure with an open house and several other special activities timed to coincide with the 2013 Bassmaster Classic's presence in the city, Feb. 22-24.
On Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22 from 7 - 10 a.m., Larew is opening the doors to its 22,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility and warehouse to the public for viewing of how Larew bass lures and Bobby Garland crappie baits are made. Tours will be conducted each half-hour throughout the timeframe on both mornings. Plus, Larew has partnered with ONEOK, another Tulsa company and a leader in the natural gas and natural gas liquids industries, to help host and add to the community flavor of the lure company's hometown activities planned for the week.
Dubbed "The Bass Talk Coffee Shop,"the Larew open house will feature a front lobby that has been converted into a social zone for local and visiting fishing fans to gather and discuss the Classic and fishing in general. Several top fishing pros and celebrities will be in attendance, including previous Bassmaster Classic competitors Dale Hightower and Andrew Upshaw. Also present will be 2012 PAA bass winner Gerald Brown and former Oklahoma State and NFL football player Rashaun Woods.
Top crappie pros include Missouri's Kevin Rogers, Texas' Jeff Schwieterman and Chris Waters, and Alabama's Dan Dannenmueller, the 2011 and 2012 Crappiemasters National Team Angler of the Year. Barry Stokes, host of the Southwest Outdoors Report television show, is attending on Friday.
Sunny Leigh, part of the morning crew for Tulsa's legendary country music station KVOO, will be providing live radio remotes from Larew on Thursday and Friday mornings. All visitors to the open house will be treated with Daylight Donuts and coffee and given Salt Craw 30th anniversary souvenir lure packs.
The Gene Larew booth at the Classic Expo in the Tulsa Convention Center will showcase a variety of the company's popular bass and crappie baits, including all of the newest items and colors. The booth will also have many visiting and local pros on hand to explain how to rig and fish the lures to catch fish this time of year.
ONEOK will have its 53-foot mobile exhibit located outside the nearby BOK Center, featuring interactive games and providing an educational look at the benefits of natural gas and natural gas liquids. Both Larew and ONEOK will be giving away free Salt Craw sample packs, including a brand new color called ONEOK Blue Flash.
The late Gene Larew experimented with all kinds of additives for salt plastic lures, including chocolate and cola, before ultimately determining that salt was the ingredient that bass preferred to hang on to for the longest time. Larew applied for a patent on the salt impregnation process in plastic lures in 1981, and the patent was issued to Eugene T. Larew of Shadrack Resort, Cape Fair, Mo., on July 23, 1985. It has since expired. The Gene Larew Salt Craw is often found near the top of lists naming the best bass lures of all time, and it remains a popular selling item today.
More recent Larew introductions include items in the signature series of Oklahoma's accomplished bass professional Tommy Biffle, highlighted by the Biffle Bug and HardHead.
Larew has been based in the Tulsa area since the late 1980s and located at its present address on the city's east side on historic Route 66 for the last four years.