Bait Merchant started in 2021 when I became obsessed with custom poured and unique shaped baits. My home base of Castaic Lake in Southern California is a tough lake to learn to fish, one where getting snagged and losing tackle is common, and where inconsistent conditions and extremely high fishing pressure means constantly working to figure out what bait size, color and shape to use.
I wasted a ton of money on baits that didn't work, and couldn't afford things like tungsten weights due to how much tackle is lost. Other local anglers shared the same sentiment so I searched for manufacturers. Through that, I discovered a massive nationwide underground of anglers who were making their own custom baits, almost none of which are available at tackle shops or are easy to find.
Fascinated by how, when, why and what fish will eat, once I realized how much better they perform, I became addicted to buying and testing custom baits hand-poured by local anglers. I decided to invest in creating a business to help others do the same - catch more fish by using what the locals use. Bait Merchant was born from my own desire to top performing baits made by custom bait makers too small to have their baits sold in stores.
I was joined by my friend and fishing partner Porter Hamilton, leading to an investment in sourcing unique custom baits, and experimenting with professional level machine injected custom baits, the first being our exclusive Castaic shad imitator bait "Porter's Castaic Magic" which is also the only mass-produced bait we use or sell that isn't hand-poured.
We personally use and sell hundreds of variations of styles, shapes and colors of hand-poured custom baits from over a dozen independent, USA based garage based anglers, including many 100% custom color combinations exclusive to Baitmerchant.com.
Every bait we sell is clearly labeled with the name of independent bait maker who hand-poured it. We are 100% dedicated to local business and angling community support.
We love trying out new baits, testing things and talking to other anglers, hearing what works and getting input. Your custom baits, ideas, feedback and bait suggestions are always welcome!
If you see us on the water or at the dock please come say hi and we'll give you some sample baits to try and share whatever is working for us that day!
Andy Halio aka "The Bait Merchant" & Porter "1st Cast" Hamilton.