Entrepreneurs Inspired by the Ocean

Entrepreneurs’ passion for the sea helps fuel their businesses

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Mark White Lures

Mark White says he tries to create lures that mimic the splashes and movements that attract predator fish.

Photo: Kicka Witte

Twenty-five years ago, Mark White was running a pottery studio on Kauai when his 4-year-old son, Jesse, asked him to take him fishing.

The pair grabbed bamboo poles with earthworms for bait and fished in nearby streams and reservoirs. White didn’t know much about knots or reels or lures, but his son’s interest prompted him to read everything he could about fishing.

When he started fishing for papio and other near-shore fish, he became interested in topwater plugs. Using his ceramic skills, he started crafting some from porcelain clay. Then he realized the benefits of ceramic material over plastic or wood – and Mark White Lures was born.

“I’m the only lure maker in the world doing production ceramic lures that are guaranteed for life not to chip or fracture,” says the 64-year-old.

His catalog of ceramic lures includes textured belly trolling lures, bar lures for ulua and papio, and surface plugs. They are all manufactured in Hawaii and 90 percent of their components are sourced from the United States. He enlisted the help of Abram Boido, a friend and commercial fisherman who lives in Kona, to test his lures. According to White, Boido has landed “tons of fish on my lures, literally.”

His lure designs are inspired by the world around him, he says.

“I love watching bait fish being chased by predators,” White says. “So I try to make shapes that will mimic the splashes and movements that will attract the predators.”

White grew up in Southern California, where he learned how to surf and garnered a deep appreciation for the ocean. Fishing was a natural extension of that, he says.

“There’s something primordial about hunting for food and feeding people with your catch,” he says.

But his business isn’t just about selling lures. He wants to promote his love and respect for the ocean, encouraging his customers to fish in a responsible way. Because, he says, without a healthy ocean, what’s left?

“What I love about the ocean is that you get to see and experience fantastic things that many would not believe,” he says.

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