Leading Edge Baits is a Pennsylvania bait company that is producing some really cool products for bass anglers. We talk with Ryan Neely about the company and their baits.
How did you decide to start a plastics bait company?
I always had a passion and interest for custom baits. For years, I’ve poured my own jig heads and tied my own bass jigs; just for personal use. In 2014 I decided to step things up and that’s where Leading Edge Baits came in.
My main goal for Leading Edge Baits is to provide top shelf, tournament grade baits at an affordable and reasonable price. Every hand crafted bait that leaves my shop doesn’t do so unless I’m 100% satisfied with it. Know that everything you purchase from me, I’d throw during a tournament. No knock offs, no 2nd hand stuff, No Rubber Collars on jigs! Hand tied baits and hand crafted plastics is what you’ll get.
There are seemingly a lot of companies out there, what do you believe sets your products apart from the rest?
What sets us apart I feel, is our attention to detail and colors. Every order that comes in is poured fresh! We don’t stock pre packaged baits on the shelves.
We have several bait designs such as our Shakey worms and our Fry style baits that are unique and only made by us.
What is your best seller?
Hands down, I’d say we sell the most stick baits. Second to that would be our triple threat craws. Everyone loves throwing sticks and with our options we have plenty of sizes to choose from.
If you’re a jig fisherman, our triple threat craws are simply awesome. They are so compact and the fish just absolutely crush them. We have 2 sizes, a 2.25” and a 3”. I personally prefer the 2.25”. The 3” also makes a great trailer for a swim jig or a chatter bait. I think the reason this bait is so effective is its unique body design. It’s a bait that fish don’t see very often.
Your goby baits look fantastic. Are these primary a drop shot bait or do you rig them other ways as well?
Thank you! Yes, they are primary used for drop shotting however I’ve had people tell me they love them for trailers on small finesse jigs. They are a hand poured bait and salted on the bottom. This pouring technique creates a salt bubble in the water that the fish just love!
This bait works anywhere even if gobies aren’t present in your lake. I believe it’s the tail action on this bait that the fish key on. As for colors, I like to keep things natural. Smokey shad and watermelon colors all the way!
Talk to us about a bait that I think many bass anglers don’t pay enough attention to, the reaper. Leading Edge Baits offers a 4″ reaper. When and where does this bait excel?
The reaper is 100% a drop shot bait hands down. This bait is another one of our custom hand poured baits that’s strictly a finesse bait. What makes this bait special is its thin tail design. When used on a drop shot rig, this tail just has an incredible flutter to it that the fish cant resist.
It’s a great bait in highly pressured waters simply because it’s a bait that fish haven’t seen before. A steady, slow jigging action will do the trick.
Your Buzzer Bait looks like it is a worm with a unique tail. What is the action of that tail like in the water?
Our buzzer style worm comes from a custom design that we drew up years ago. It has a stick style body with a hook style tail. This is a great bait for pitching into weed pockets. When rigged texas style, the tail actually spirals and stutters on the fall. It’s a big profile bait but yet a simple design that isn’t to gaudy.
Want to ask you a question about color selection. You offer an impressive list of choices of colors. Is there ever a time to fish a bublegum craw?
Bubblegum is a color that you don’t see often in stores and were proud to have it on our chart as a standard option. Smallies absolutely LOVE the color pink by nature. With its high visibility, this is a great color choice when bed fishing.
This color poured in our jerk shad also excels when you are chasing bait balls that active smallies are feeding on. By throwing this bubblegum color into a school of bait, usually silver/white, just gives the smallmouth something different to key in on. 9 times out of 10, bass will pass on the “Normal” colored bait fish just to hit something different. In this case; a bubble gum colored bait. They like the variety I suppose.
As an angler, what do you consider your favorite Northeast body of water to fish for largemouth bass? Now a tough question, I am going to allow you to only take one of your baits for a summer trip for largemouth. Which one are you taking and why?
Hands down, I’d have to say Otisco in New York. As for the bait selection, Id have to choose our 570 Craws. They can be fished as a jig trailer or texas rigged and flipped into weed pockets. Or if I needed, it could be fished as a trailer on a spinnerbait. That’s a very versatile bait!
What do you consider your favorite Northeast body of water to fish for smallmouth bass? Which bait here?
WOW that’s tough but I’d choose Skaneateles; also a New York lake. My bait choice would have to be the 3.5” slender tube. Simple choice but when fishing for smallmouth, a simple tube is tough to beat. Lighter line and a ¼ ounce head are all you need to be successful. Our tubes are also loaded with a potent garlic scent that drives fish crazy!
I know you asked for 1 but I cannot pass this question up without also mentioning our 3” FAT stick baits for a Ned rig, which is a very hot technique right now. These baits will stand up straight in the water, which is the key to having success with this technique.
What is in the works for the future for Leading Edge Baits?
I want to start airbrushing soft plastics. It’s something that isn’t done locally or by many other companies for that matter. Anyone can shoot baits in generic colors with a little research but when you bring paint into the game, that’s where you really set yourself apart. I want to create a life like bait that’s priced reasonably and catches fish…Not Anglers.
I’m also in the process of creating a laminate/swirl chart to go along with my solid color chart. Look for that to hit the website mid summer. We also have a few new bait designs that are going through the testing process by our team.
Additionally, last month I built a small test tank in the shop. Look for live action videos of our baits in action to hit our social media pages soon.
Lastly, you had an interesting post on FB about getting approached by people who want pro staff opportunities with Leading Edge Baits. Can you tell us about what you expect out of people who want to become part of a team representing your company?
Just honesty, plain and simple. We get several emails/calls weekly from people claiming to love our products however, once the research is done, mostly all of them have never even used our baits, let alone, viewed our website. We have a close relationship with our staff and I value their comments and concerns about the baits I make.
Here is a link to that exact article that was posted.
Thanks Ryan! I love what you are doing and will be sure to follow your success at LeadingEdgeBaits.com.