Zoom founder passes on, Strader’s winning baits, Double Palomars

Today’s Top 5

We lost Ed Chambers.

We lost a big and great bassin’ man today: Ed Chambers, pictured there with his daughter. You could call him great for founding Zoom Bait Co. cuz that’s gotta be THE best-known and most influential soft-plastic bait company ever. But that wouldn’t do him justice, man. Because like so many good folks on the biz side of bassin’, the dude helped a ton of people. Here’s just a few of ’em:

Gerald Swindle: “Man, words can’t explain how big a part of my career that Ed Chambers played.” [G has been sponsored by Zoom for 25 years.]

Wes Strader: “From my earliest days, Ed always treated me with the utmost respect. Just a great guy. Nothing bad you can say about him. Always been generous to me — it’s a really sad day. He affected so many people’s lives by the great baits he made and the person that he was.”

Brandon Palaniuk: “Today we lost a good one. Not only was Ed one of the biggest leaders in soft-plastic innovation, but a leader in life. I think that both of those were equally important in the success of Zoom.”

David Fritts: “I think it’s a shock to everybody. Ed Chambers was one of the most innovative tackle designers that’s ever been. He knew what it took to make things work, from crankbaits all the way to soft-plastics — actually everything. He helped me design the Scorpion hook that VMC made — he was just so innovative. I’ve never sat with anybody who tinkered and played like that. How he got things right before they ever came out…he was a true innovator, not a copier.

“The man was something else. I sat down with him for days at a time working on crankbaits…he was a perfectionist. Colors had to be right, and he was able to produce them — way back when that was hard to do. He’s someone who’s really going to be missed in this industry. It’s a pretty sad day.” [Fritts was with Zoom for 17 years.]

Peter Thliveros: “He obviously revolutionized the industry and was at the forefront…. He was the behind-the-scenes guy. No matter who was running [Zoom], he had the final word on pretty much everything there. That was an amazing thing about him — with everything he did in the industry, he was behind the scenes. He never wanted the limelight. It was the company first and him second. The main thing to me was how private he was — his private life meant more to him than anything else.

“I spent a lot of time with him when he fished FLW as a co-angler. He just enjoyed being on the water, learning and teaching and fishing — he just had a ball. The bait business was kind of a fun thing for him, what he enjoyed doing. Every hard bait that went out of that shop, every single one, he hand-painted himself.

“He did as much helping other people fix problems as his own stuff. He never took any of the glory, he just did it. He was a unique individual in this industry.”

Kevin Short: “The everyday bass fisherman has no concept of all Ed Chambers did for the tackle business and the entire fishing industry. He was just one of those giants that walked softly and carried a big stick. A guy who’s that good a friend…there’s a hole in the fishing industry because of his passing. And there’s just nobody big enough to fill that hole.” [Believe Kevin knew Ed ’bout as good as anyone.]

Terry Brown of Wired2Fish: “Ed was in a class by himself. He had a knack of figuring out the little things that made fish bite, first in plastics and later with his WEC crankbaits. Truly sad to see another great innovator passing. I loved that man and he will be missed dearly.”


Ed developed Zoom baits and also WEC cranks, which are well-known, not-so-secret handmade (by him) cranks:

> K-Pink on Zoom: “Their stuff works everywhere and always has. And none of it’s outrageously expense. It’s always been priced as a good value fo what you got because that’s the way [Chambers] wanted to do it.

> “I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody as detail-oriented or as meticulous as he was, whether it was the number of of bumps on a Z Hog or way eyes were dotted on a crankbait. It had to be a certain way or it wasn’t good enough. That was all Ed Chambers.”

Ed also helped other companies — some of which could be considered competitors — because that was the kinda guy he was. K-Pink again:

> “He had people calling him about input on boat design, rod and reel design — some of the innovations Lew Childre [Lew’s founder] came up with were from conversations with Ed Chambers. His influence can’t be overstated.”

Ed might be the only major person on the biz side of bassin’ I never really knew. Not really sure why, just our paths didn’t cross. So my only thoughts are from the outside looking in and might be obvious but:

> I don’t think the guy created a bad bait. Seriously, that’s pretty dang amazing considering how many he did create. And I, like literally millions of other bass-heads, caught and still catch fish on those baits.

> I always thought the Zoom logo was one of the most genius biz moves in bassin’. You can read it a mile away, and when those logos started popping up on a bunch of the old Bassmaster Top 100 guys — while Ed was giving them a ton of free baits — I thought: This guy knows how to do it.

He sure did. Bless you bassin’ brother.

Couple thangs from a cool piece on Zoom by Wired2Scout:

> “We were studying all the packaging out at the time,” Chambers said. “Everything was black and white, blue and white or green and white. So I wanted something that stood out…. What I noticed was when it was 50 or 100 yards up the road, you could always recognize a McDonald’s fry cup lying on the side of the road, just from its colors. It really stood out.”

That’s such a hilarious bassin’ story I wanna cry laughing — a McDonald’s cup on the side of the road hahaha! And:

> “The boy who made the molds for us, his last name was Zimmerman, but everyone around here just called him ‘Zoom.’ After the first worms were poured someone asked who made those, and they said, ‘Those are those worms from Zoom.’ Of course they meant the guy that made the molds, but we liked it and kept it.”

Wes Strader’s Kentucky Lake baits and pattern.

Three derbies into his Elitist career, and former FLWer Wes Strader goes and bangs one outta the park:

You’d have to be living like a crawfish to not know Strader is a stick, but dang mang! Full deets on how he won it at the BB website, here’s a little taste:

> He fished a PH Custom Lures crank that’s not out yet, called a “W’s Secret” in a shad color called “something special:” white sides, chart on throat, glimmer blue and black back, #4 Trokar TK315 trebles. 7′ 5″ 755 Powell Endurance composite cranking rod, Lew’s Magnesium Reel (6.4, “wind fast”), 16-lb Gamma Edge fluoro.
> Also flipped a Texas-rigged 6″ Big Bite Baits Trick Stick (gp) with a 5/0 Trokar TK130 hook and 1/8-oz Reins Sinker, and culled 3 later in the day on a SPRO Popping Frog (midnight walker) on 50-lb Gamma Torque braid. “…late-afternoon bite on that frog — trees and bushes in pockets.” (Also caught one on it day 3.)

> First he flipped main lake docks, then went to the pockets with the crankbait.

He changed it up every day and used all those baits — and named ’em all. #props

Strader’s been gettin’ “weirded out.”

Wes talkin’, and not about bigfoot (Hackney wasn’t there so…):

> “I kind of get weirded out, like did I miss blastoff, miss checkin…did my watch break or something?”

Was referrin’ to moving from the FLWs to the Elites. Full quote:

> “I’m not saying the competition is stiffer, but I like not having a co-angler — not that I had anything against [the co-anglers he’s had] — and I like the field size. You can run around and do things in the Elite Series you can’t do in the FLWs.

> “When you get a gut feeling to go do something and you want to run a long ways, [on the FLWs] you’ll find someone sitting there. Over here [on the Elites] you can run a long ways — you can do it. I kind of get weirded out — like did I miss blastoff, miss checkin…did my watch break or something? You know? Because I’m the only one around….”

Have heard the same thing from other guys who’ve moved over. Doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the FLW Tour, just a different deal.

Having said all that, what weird me out is this Bassin’masters pic of Wes:

Do I see…boogers?

Jason Christie’s 4th-place pattern.

Since the tourney ended yesterday, haven’t gotten Skeeter Reese’s or Kelley Jaye’s stuff yet, but will soon. So here we are with Jason Christie, who fished a:

No wait, that was a…

Yum CHRISTIE Critter (heehee). Click that pic to get the vid of him telling how he caught ’em.

Freddy Boom-Boom’s 5th-place pattern.

That Boom you heard was Freddy Boom-Boom Roumbanis finishing 5th at KY Lake. He fishes a swimbait or a frog 365 days of the year (possibly untrue, can’t tell…lol) and in this one fished these:

> 6″ pre-rigged Optimum Baits Boom Boom Swimbaits (PB Shad, ghost minnow, ghost rider, all with a chartreuse Spike-It Pen mark along the side of each). 7′ 11″ MH iRod Crank Launcher Rod, Cabela’s Arachnid Reel (8.1), 20-lb fluoro.

> “A harness is built into [the swimbait] that allows head to quiver and it really looks like a shad.

> “I was pretty much bombing long shoals, hard bottoms, channel swings, making a million casts to get the 5-6 bites I got a day.”


1. Jacob Powroznik gets Maxx HD shades.

2. Pic contest to fish with Z.

Totally worth entering if you’ve got a good pic….

3. Asian carp were all over Kentucky Lake.

Check this Jason Christie vid — that’s nuts:

4. Stray Casts show tomorrow night.

> Dirte’ Llama Seth Feider and unsung FLW personality Bradley Dortch will be on livetomorrow (Wed) at 7pm Central on Facebook Stray Casts and

5. NC: Gaston charity derby May 19.

Sounds like $5K for 1st?

6. Sho-nuff Newell will sell Pure Fishing brands.

Tip of the Day

Dean Rojas uses a double Palomar for frowgs.

Check it — click the pic to get the vid. He’s workin’ with a mag-sized SPRO King Daddy Frog:

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Quote of the Day

I guess it was about being in the right multiple places at the multiple right times multiple different times.

– Wes Strader talkin’…eastern TN logic…LOL! That’s part of his answer to me askin’ how he won so fast on the Elites.

Shot of the Day

How happy does this frog look…that he just tried to eat a frog that looks exactly like him?? Dang cannibals…. Believe that’s a SPRO Spit Shad:

Ya got me
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