By Don Munsch
Lloyd Walker started fishing about the time he started walking.
With fishing in his blood, he eventually took the bait, turning his passion into a livelood.
Walker owns Xcite Baits, manufacturing fishing lures from a 2,400-square-foot warehouse on U.S. 377 in Pilot Point. His products are sold at sporting goods stores throughout the country.
“We can make about 10,000 baits a day,” he said. “When that machine gets going, it’s very fast.”
Walker will celebrate four years at his location in Pilot on Aug. 12. He has been in business for 10 years. He formerly worked for Nikon, selling microscopes.
“We started real, real small, out of a garage and built our way up,” Walker said, describing the business’ origins in Highland Village.
Walker loved the area and needed a bigger warehouse. He found the facility he needed in Pilot Point.
“Plus, being on the lake helps with walk-in traffic and exposure,” he said.
He quit his job about five years ago to run Xcite Baits fulltime. His business makes soft plastics baits for bass fishing.
“We do have some other stuff – lead products for bass, crank baits,” he said. “But all of the soft plastics are made in house. That’s different from a lot of companies. A lot of them are outsourcing now. Some of it is even going overseas. You just don’t get the quality.”
But he is proud that the baits can be made here in the U.S. His baits are made from an oil-based product called plastisol. Xcite Baits does not use salt in its baits, and Walker said they float better.
“When you put salt in your baits, it makes the baits sink,” he said. “We don’t put salt in our baits for a variety of reasons.”
Besides the floating factor, the plastics don’t tear up as bad without the salt and the colors are much more vibrant, among other reason, Walker said.
His company’s business is about 10 percent walk-in traffic – although it is not a retail establishment, per se – and then rest is online and through network and dealers.
“We’ve got about 150-160 dealers across the United States,” he said. “We’re in seven different countries, seven distributors. So the distributors will sell to dealers. We ship most of the product out of here to other locations.”
His business has 12 kinds of products.
“We’ve discontinued some in the past and brought some back,” he said.
Xcite Baits has many products that will be released by the end of the year, although he can’t say what they are, because of the competitive nature of the business.
“We never talk about it until they actually come out,” he said.
The business has two employees: Walker’s wife, who does the books, and another employee does various duties in the warehouse, such as boxing orders and packaging baits.
When he’s not at work, Walker, who lives in Lewisville, likes to fish.
“I grew up in Montana, so I’ve been fishing since I could probably walk, fishing for trout,” he said. “My job moved me here, and there’s no trout, so I had to take up another species, so I took up bass.”
Walker also enjoys fishing for crappie and said he fishes at Lake Ray Roberts all the time.