Fishing: Teenage brothers winning tournaments, launch successful business
Take two teens, a few fish and a dream.
That's the formula that fueled a passion for 16-year-old Kyle Bahr and his 15-year-old brother Tyler. They've been winning and enjoying success in high school bass tournaments. Their love of fishing has also launched a business—Juice Bait Co.
The Bahr brothers have compiled an impressive tournament record. Kyle won the 2015 Bass Federation Minnesota state championship at age 13. Tyler won the 2016 Bass Federation Minnesota junior state championship. They have posted impressive stats in state and national competitions in Ohio, Tennessee and Minnesota.
"Every tournament day is a rush, from the early morning take-off to catching a limit," Kyle said in a news release. "Competitive fishing is very humbling when an entire day on a lake results in a zero."
"They require a lot of preparation," Tyler said of tournaments. "It's gratifying when hard work pays off."
Fishing as a team, the brothers have enjoyed a stellar 2018 season. They won the high school division at the Minnesota Fishing Challenge. They placed third at the Minnesota Bass Federation High School Championship (96 boats), were third and fourth in Student Angler Tournament Trail events against fields of 83 and 135 teams.
And, at the Bass Federation World Finals on Tennessee's Pickwick Lake, they finished 18th out of 384 teams.
Al Lindner, fishing industry legend, TV show host and a member of every worldwide fishing hall of fame, knows the Bahr boys well.
"When it comes to fishing, they are incredibly talented," Lindner said of the Bahrs. "They learn fast. They can read the water and adapt quickly. They're really good and very respectful."
Jimmy Bell, National Professional Anglers Association board member, president of the Student Angler Tournament Trail, coordinator of the Lund Boats student angler program, and multiple major tournament winner also is well acquainted with the Bahrs.
"These students are real go-getters," Bell said. "They're motivated. They're already top competitors. It's no surprise they created a business out of their passion. They understand how to work hard to accomplish their goals. They have the drive and the values to succeed in the fishing industry."
Both boys also excel in school. They volunteer at several nonprofit organizations including Kids Against Hunger, Confidence Learning Center and the Brainerd Jaycees. They are members of the Brainerd Warrior team, one of the largest high school fishing teams in the U.S.
Their business was introduced to the public at the March 2018 Minneapolis Sport Show. Gross sales in the first five months rang up a five-figure income. Sales are growing via an expanding dealer network, sport shows and online (juicebaits.com).
"We're working our tails off and it shows," Kyle said. "We're growing at a steady rate."
"The business takes lots of hours every day ... days when we could be fishing," Tyler said. "Of course, we have to do quite a bit of on-water field testing."
"I firmly believe Kyle and Tyler are the next heroes," Lindner said. "It could be TV, social media, owning a tackle company, or in a direction not yet invented. There is no question they will impact the fishing world. They will improve the sport for the next generation." Kyle and Tyler were inspired at the Fishing Careers Workshop last year and will again attend the Brainerd workshop Oct. 27.
The Juice Bait Co. mission statement states that Juice Baits "carries bulk soft plastics that are affordable and catch fish. Craw tubes, stick baits, swimming craws, creature baits, swimbaits ... you name it. All the quality without the dollars. Throw the Juice."
They currently offer 18 models of bass-catching plastics. The company's short-term goal is to sell baits and make money.
Long term, Kyle said, "It's simple, we want to make it in the fishing industry."
"There are more chances to make it in fishing than the NFL or Major League Baseball," Tyler said.
Their father, Jason Bahr, coaches the 125-member Brainerd High School fishing team. He understands how invested his sons are in the sport.
"I know when they make decisions about college it will be with a school that has a fishing team," said Jason who believes his sons will lean toward college sales and marketing courses plus a dose of media and TV production. "If you think I am proud of them, I am. They're on their way."