Sheldon Charron is undoubtedly his father’s son.
Charron and his dad, Gene, have experienced it all through their company, CATSAS-S Fishing Lures. It’s a story covering multiple decades that has highs and lows, with Charron now trying to rebirth a Canadian legend.
Charron calls the bait-inside fishing lure a “fantastic, revolutionary product with a great name,” adding it spawned the scent industry.
However, the rebirth isn’t going to be easy, and Charron is asking for help.
Charron created a page on Kickstarter, asking for donations to help back the project. More than $1,000 has been donated toward the ultimate goal of $10,000. The project-funding page ends Jan. 6.
Charron’s determination for the rebirth came when at a recent fishing show when a competitor claimed to invent a lure that places the bait inside. Charron confronted the fisher, saying his father created the idea and an argument followed.
“I’m going to reintroduce the product, and I’m going to make sure everyone remembers who the true innovator was,” Charron says in a 9-minute video explaining the history of CATSAS-S.
Charron spent childhood summers in the 1970s with Gene as the two traveled around Canada and the northern United States to sell the lures. Gene started with a painted station wagon and trailer and moved to a redone school bus the second summer. Summertime trips continued for several years, but it didn’t take long for big companies to intervene.
Gene declined all offers on his 16-year patent, but that only escalated things.
Charron says in the video that companies would have people follow them, wait until they sold the product to bait shops and would then come in and buy all the lures — ruining opportunities for customers to learn about the product. Later, those same followers would make deals with store owners and have the owners smash the products before selling them in a bargain bin. It even went as far as Gene’s gas tank being tampered with several times and having his stock stolen.
Gene eventually gave up when Charron was 8 or 9. He was so poor he had to makeshift the school bus into a home.
Charron tried to take over when Gene closed shop, especially after Gene wouldn’t sell the patent despite facing poverty, but it didn’t work. When Charron was 18, he traveled to Tornoto and had a big company place an order for lures, but Gene wouldn’t fill it, saying, “‘They’re just screwing you around,’” Charron recalls.
Charron’s drive disappeared, not even returning when Gene gave him CATSAS-S in 2001.
Charron continued doing his own thing for five more years, but he decided in 2006 to recreate his childhood summers with Gene. However, his father died unexpectedly that fall.
“I just ran out of time,” Charron says. “I failed him.”
Charron takes to heart that this time it wasn’t a conspiracy or large companies doing anything to stop sells. Rather, it was his lack of urgency to rejunivate the business.
Charron’s returned determination comes in his father’s memory, especially after his confrontation at the fishing show.
CATSAS-S’ rebirth starts with making vintage replicas of the iconic CATSAS-S plug, with additions of small improvements to construct. Charron plans to later expand designs for fresh and saltwater, including a new modern version of the Bait Path Square Fish for huge pike, musky and other predatory saltwater fish, according to the Kickstarter page.
“I don’t want to fail him again,” Charron says, “so I hope you guys will help me out.”