~Deception At Its Best~
If you are a fan of the Beachmaster "Cowboy" or the Pichney "Conrad" you will luv the
Tom Clayton's Kurrent Kitten Lure
Built the way original pikes were mean't to perform; the pike swims underwater (some people call them trollers) 1'-15' depending on conditions and tuning. The average weight is around 3 ounces, making the bait easy to cast for distance or into a strong wind; it also gives you the ability to fish the side of a jetty, etc. that probably no one else has fished. The lure holds very well in white water and of course current. The pike can also be tuned to swim on top to a certain degree (if need be) again based on conditions.
The lure has been field tested from the beach, jetties, canals, inlets, etc. and have caught fish up to 33 lbs by land and up to
40 lbs by boat.
Clayton's Custom Lure Bodies
Clayton's Custom Lures
Kurrent Kitten Y&W
Tom Clayton with a nights catch on a Kurrent Kitten
Clayton's Custom Lures
Kurrent Kitten B&W
Clayton's Custom Lures
A pair of Kitten's
Read about the Kurrent Kitten's
Tom's Journey to becoming a Striped Bass Fisherman,
Lure Builder and Tackle Store Owner
Tom Clayton was born in 1952 and lived on the Eastern Coast of New Jersey. Tom grew up to be an Avid Striped Bass Fisherman and a long time collector of antique saltwater surf fishing tackle. Tom Specialized in collecting
"New England Striped Bass Lures."
When Tom was a very young kid he used to go freshwater and saltwater fishing with his father and his uncle. One evening, when Tom was eight years old, his father took him to the beach after picking up some fresh butterfish for bait. Tom caught several 3-6lb Bluefish for hours until low tide. He said "I do not think I have ever been as disappointed to see a tide end to this day, even though my arms ached for days."
Tom pestered his father for his own rod and reel so he could fish the jetties with his dad (Monmouth County, NJ: Home of Jetty Row). Tom was ten years old on Christmas morning in 1962, when he awoke and received a brand new Ru-Mer, Super Reel, an army surplus bag with a homemade insert and a variety of plugs and metal, rain gear, boots, an aluminum sandspike and army surplus ice cleats. Tom's father also promised a trip to the tackle store to pick out the rod of his choice. Tom was in heaven—the thought of Striped Bass, Bluefish, Weakfish, etc. filled his young mind, all day long.
Tom and his father went to a tackle store, where he knew the owner, and Tom picked out a custom rod made by Julian's Bait and Tackle. It was a Harnell blank cut slightly over eight feet. Tom's father purchased the rod for only $4!!! Now that Tom had the equipment, he started his journey to becoming an avid Striped Bass fisherman. His father used to love to fish the little 7200 Surfters and 700 Pikes, and buy them by the case to save money. Tom said "I started losing so many that my father told me I'd have to use his beaters until I got to be a bigger and better fisherman." and "My father started to paint most of them with white latex house paint for me to use."
One evening that Spring, while fishing the famed 8th Avenue jetty in
Asbury Park, NJ with his father, Tom caught his first Striped Bass using one of his dad's painted Surfsters.
Tom continued Striper fishing throughout his youth and adulthood. Tom went on to catch several Striped Bass over the years. Some of Tom's largest Bass were caught using Shads in the Point Pleasant Canal, NJ; a place he loved to fish.
Not only was Tom an avid Striped Bass fisherman, he was a loving husband and a father to three boys. Tom and his second son, Tel, opened Shoreline Bait and Tackle in Wall Township, NJ. Shoreline Bait and Tackle was located on Highway 71 near 18th Avenue and catered to the Surf Fishermen. The store carried several custom wooden lures made by many of today's well known plug builders. Shoreline Bait and Tackle unfortunately closed shortly before Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore Community in 2012.
Tom had been bitten by the custom lure making bug and began building his own custom wooden lures "Clayton's Custom Lures."
His motto— Deception at Its Best. Tom was building lures on a very limited basis, as a hobby. Tom completed only a few of his Pike lures, which he deemed the "Kurrent Kitten." The 3oz Kurrent Kitten looked delicious to the human eye, as he used his experience in Auto Body work to paint the lures. Tom had years of experience painting several high end cars, so you couldn't believe the quality paint job on his custom lures. He field tested his lures and caught fish up to 33 lbs. A friend of Tom's caught fish up to 40 lbs using the Kurrent Kitten from a boat. Unfortunately, Tom battled liver cancer for several years, which ultimately prevented him from building more of his custom lures.
Tom was a firm believer that the lures being produced today, are also the collectable lures of the future. So, if you have the chance to buy custom plugs, stick a few away. Most importantly, however, is fish them!!!
If you come across one of my Dad's Kurrent Kitten lures, please Contact Me. I am very interested in purchasing or trading for these lures.
The Saltwater Fishing Lure Community has lost a great fisherman, lure collector, lure builder, an incredible dad, and most importantly, an all around great guy with a wealth of knowledge.
In Loving Memory
How I began collecting Antique Saltwater Fishing Lures
(Story written by Tom Clayton circa 2016)
Back in the 1960's there were many people who owned boats that could not afford dockage fees; so they moored their boats in different spots around the Shark River in Belmar, NJ. Well, one spring while riding my bicycle around the river,
I noticed a rather large boat that had not been pulled out of the water that past fall/winter and it had sunk.
The boat was resting on the bottom in about six feet of water at low tide. Hanging from the ceiling of the cabin were quite a few of the old Japanese tuna feathers on wire. But what really caught my eye was this big wooden trolling lure with a wire leader; the lure looked brand new. I kept tabs on the boat and lure all summer to see if anyone would come to raise the boat or take the tackle off of her; to my amazement no one ever claimed the boat or the tackle on board (imagine that happening today). It was nearing the end of October and the water and air temps were dropping everyday. I rode my bike down to see if the lure was still hanging there; it was still there and still looked like new. The cabin of the sunken craft had spared the lure from the wind, waves and ever getting wet during what I figured to be almost a years time.
I decided then that it was now or never; I stripped down to my underpants and entered the chilly water; the cold took my breath away immediately. After a few moments I was swimming the 150-200 feet to the sunken boat retrieving my long awaited prize. I swam back with one hand holding this fantastic prize skyward with the other. I dried off the best I could, got dressed and headed home oblivious to how cold I really was.
Thinking back now I realize I could have died swimming out there to retrieve that lure. But, I doubt I would have ever started this wonderful life long journey of collecting fishing tackle.
PS: The lure was a Atom wooden swimmer that I still have in my collection today.
Atom Mfg. Co. Attleboro, Mass.
"The Lure That Started It All"
This Lure by Atom Mfg. Co. is the one that got Tom hooked on collecting antique lures.
Atom Mfg. Co. Attleboro, Mass.
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