Cheyenne, WY native Pat O’Grady is a tinkerer, a dabbler, an inventor who is always scheming and dreaming. You can almost see the wheels turning. The majority of those creations, artistic energies and brainpower are channeled to making lures that catch more fish.
Last time I was at O’Grady’s house he met me at the front door and excitedly said, “Come here. You’ve got to see this.” He grabbed a short stub of a fishing rod and I followed him into the bathroom. There, he had the tub half full of water and he hooked on one of his prototype lures to the end of the line. He swished the rod tip back and forth in a figure eight pattern to make the wooden lure wiggle and dive. “Now tell me that won’t catch fish!” he declared. I smiled and nodded acknowledging that it probably would. Most of O’Grady’s creations excel at catching fish.
O’Grady’s attempt at building a better mousetrap goes back more than 25 years. O’Grady dabbled at lure making even as a kid, but started PK Lures in 1989 out of a desire to prove he could make lures that would catch more fish. “I was originally just looking to create a lure that had a more realistic profile of a fish,” he said.
The result was the PK Flutter Fish. “The equal design of the Flutter Fish makes it balanced so it turns horizontally, wobbles side to side as it falls causing it to fall slower when vertically jigged. The slower descent gives fish more time to strike. If you look at a wounded minnow in the water, it falls in a similar fashion to the Flutterfish.” PK stands for Pat’s Killer.
You can have the best lure in the world, but if no one knows about it, sales languish. O’Grady is working on getting the word out about PK Lures. “We have a tremendous following in the Midwest. More and more anglers are discovering what a great lure the PK Flutter Fish is for vertical jigging for walleye and other species. PK lures are extremely popular in the eastern US and Canada.”
PK Lures has been featured in all the major fishing magazines in Canada and the United States. But PK Lures have gotten unfairly pigeonholed as a lure just for vertical jigging for ice fishing. It’s no wonder though with the results the lures have produced. On January 5, 2011 Tim Geni caught a 33-3/4-inch walleye that was the current world record in the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame ice-fishing, live release category. The rotund female was caught on Saskatchewan’s Last Mountain Lake. All of Geni’s giant walleyes have been caught on the pearl/chartreuse or fire tiger glow PK Spoon. Other giant walleyes that would have broken the record have been caught on PK lures since. Word quickly spread and went viral on the Internet. Within days, anglers from all over Canada and the US were clamoring for PK Lures.
PK Lures don’t just catch walleye. “The pink and white 1/8-ounce PK Flutter Fish is one of my go-to lures,” said Sport Fish Colorado (sportfishcolorado.com) guide Robby Richardson. “It’s really a great lure for the Kokanee salmon down here, but you can catch just about anything on it.” Indeed. Last time I fished with Richardson on Blue Mesa Reservoir he caught a rainbow, brown, lake trout and a Kokanee salmon from the same hole on a pink/white Flutter Fish.
In spite of it productivity, reputation and popularity as a lure for vertical jigging through the ice, O’Grady insists PK Lures are great for casting and trolling, too. On a trip to Crystal Reservoir just west of Cheyenne, O’Grady proved that. O’Grady was casting a copper Flutter Fish while I toyed with jigs fished near the bottom where I knew some of the reservoir’s bigger trout resided. O’Grady was hauling in the stocker rainbow trout left and right when he grunted and said, “I got one and this one is a little bigger!” After a short struggle, I scooped up the chunky brown trout that had an obvious bulging stomach. Pat gave me the fish to take home and upon cleaning I discovered it was stuffed with crayfish. Now here you have a trout that is obviously keying in on crayfish on the bottom and yet can’t resist the fluttering, dying minnow action of the Flutter Fish. It proves the amazing reactionary strikes the lure can invoke.
O’Grady advises casting the Flutter Fish out and letting is sink close to bottom and then holding the rod high or low parallel to the water and rip the lure with sharp sweeps of the rod tip. Doing so imparts a wounded minnow action to the lure that fish can’t resist. O’Grady shared that on a trip last year to Flaming Gorge Reservoir he and a friend caught 187 rainbows and lake trout trolling PK Spoons.
Although the PK Flutter Fish and Spoon are the mainstays of the line, O’Grady has added other lures that have proven to be equally productive. The latest is the PK Predator designed more for panfish and trout. The Predator features a flashing blade at the front of the lure that acts as an attractant and a clacker that emits sound. The subtle noise and vibration attracts everything from ‘bows to crappies.
The PK Panic is unique in that it has blades in the middle of the lure. The blades provide instinctive auditory cues to predators as they flash and clack against the lure at both the top and bottom of the jigging range. The heavy, streamlined design of the PK Panic makes it a winner for slabbing for walleyes, wipers and white bass as well as other predators.
Another O’Grady creation, the Ridgeline Crankbait features a pronounced lateral line and flat sides to create unmatched vibration and flash. The Ridgeline crankbait appeals not only the vision of the fish, but the lateral line sensory system as well. The lure excels at catching any fish that eats minnows.
Whatever the lure, O’Grady prides himself in the quality of the lure he offers. “I’ve used manufacturers and had the paint come off baits without even using them!” he said. “I won’t stand for that. We pay top dollar to have the lures made, but you’re not going to find a higher quality lure on the market.”
What’s next in the PK line? It’s anyone’s guess, but you can bet that O’Grady has already conjured up an idea in his head.
For more information on PK Lures visit: pklures.com.