There were days as recently as this summer that a 51-year-old Raceland outdoorsman returned from a sac-a-lait (crappie) fishing trip and removed a secret weapon on his tube jig about a mile from the boat ramp. He did this so no one would get so much as a glimpse of the artificial add-on responsible for putting so many slabs in the ice chest.
Those days are over, Clyde Folse said recently as he begins a venture into the artificial lure manufacturing business. He is more than eager to reveal the source for his bountiful sac-a-lait fishing trips for the past dozen or so years — a slender soft plastic trailer with a scent that apparently drives fish wild.
Folse, a production technician for Monsanto, where he has worked 21 ½ years, is marketing The Crappie Psychic LLC, based on a handmade model he cut in the past with a razor blade out of established soft plastic artificial lures and coated with a combination of scents. His decision to let the secret out came at the urging of his 17 ½-year-old son Caleb, who is just as avid a fisherman and duck hunter as he is.
After one of those great sac-a-lait fishing trips this year, and his ritual hiding of the customized, hand-crafted soft plastic trailers, Folse said his son said, “Dad, I can’t believe you. You’ve got to let it out, got to let it out.’ The rest is history.”
Actually, he confessed, his son bugged him about it way back in February and March. “He was on me for a while,” he said.
Now Caleb, a student at Covenant Christian Academy in Houma, pitches in with the budding family business at home, along with his mother, Janelle Badeaux Folse, and his 15-year-old sister, Kamri, who Folse describes as an “excellent bagger” when it comes time to putting the artificial lures in the green plastic sleeve, 12 to a pouch.
They are going to be busy, very busy, according to anglers who have scored heavily with The Crappie Psychic LLC.
“We’re working in the shop. Being a small operator, we’re trying to ramp up production,” Folse said the last week of August. He expected to have a website up and running in a few days, he said.
What’s all the fuss about?
“I’ve been fishing sac-a-lait 30 years,” Folse said. “When they’re really on, it don’t matter what you throw. But they’re not always like that … I always look for an edge. I’m always about creating something different.”
That’s why so often when other folks come back with seven or so crappie he comes back with double or triple the amount.
Folse said he was fortunate to hook up with a man in Michigan who developed the mold for the baits he’d been cutting painstakingly by hand for years. The design was in his head and he conveyed it to the man.
“I’m overjoyed he got my e-x-a-c-t design perfectly,” he said. “I gave him the idea, he made the molds.”
Scents used are all on the market, Folse said, noting the secret formula is a combination of three scents. He puts two or three drops in each bag, which is plenty.
His wife and son finally were told the ingredients in late July, so many years after he came up with it.
The scent, by the way, remains on the little soft plastic strips for an “extremely long time — two or three years,” Folse said.
The Psychic’s design gives it an action of its own when fished on a tube jig or hair jig, he said. A slight, bulbous head is the sticking point to thread the soft plastic onto the hook.
“The tail’s always wigglin’ when the bait’s dropping,” Folse said. “I always fish it with a cork and give it a pop.”
Folse noted the orange “crawworm” model is effective when fished alone on a long shank perch hook.
The Psychics come in three other colors — chartreuse, white and pink. His favorite color is chartreuse, which he religiously fishes on a black/white Crappie Ringer from Bass Pro Shops, which he has used for years.
“All I’ve used is black/white the last 12-14 years,” he said. “A very dear friend of mine turned me on to that color.”
Of course, he adorns each one with a chartreuse soft plastic of his making.
A Ponchatoula fisherman is one of many anglers who love to fish the “crawworm” on a bare hook under a popping cork. Todd Vicknair, a 50-year-old senior production technician for Monsanto, has been using it and other combinations on a Lake Fork Minnow since about the start of the summer.
“I’m amazed by it. I love to perch fish and sac-a-lait fish,” he said, noting some of his best catches this summer were on the Tickfaw River, which is closer to his home, with others coming out of Pierre Part.
Vicknair said his son, Justin Vicknair, 22, convinced him to use The Crappie Psychic LLC on a trip to the Tickfaw River. The elder angler was falling behind on the fish count when he finally gave in.
“I’m not sure if it’s the scent, the look of the bait or that it’s something new, but they love it,” he said.
He won’t get an argument from young Cameron Fremen, who regularly fishes the Bayou des Allemands and Lake Bouef areas with his girlfriend, Taylor Hebert. Fremen, 20, fishes sac-a-lait and bass every chance he gets when he isn’t working in shipping parts inventory control for G.E. Oil & Gas.
Fremen, a self-described and proud “weekend warrior,” favors blue/white with a chartreuse/white soft plastic or black/chartreuse with a white trailer, he said. He also likes a black/pink with a pink soft plastic.
“It’s like magic,” he said about The Crappie Psychic, LLC.
Speckled trout fishermen can expect some magic to come their way soon. Folse plans to introduce his special soft plastic strips designed especially for speckled trout.
For more information on The Crappie Psychic, LLC., call (985) 790-0862 or visit www.thecrappiepsychic.com.