There are more than 60 million fishermen in the United States alone and millions more worldwide. One of the problems that all these individuals have in common is that they lose and abandon fishing line and lures. Whether it is catching fishing lures and line in trees that surround waterways or snagging lures on underwater obstacles during retrieval, fishermen can lose tackle every time they go out to fish and the lost tackle then becomes a hazard to the birds, wildlife and the environment.
RIchard Cepulonis saw the problem of losing lures and fishing line first hand. An avid fisherman, Cepulonis was always shocked by how much discarded fishing line and tackle was stuck in trees around lakes, ponds, and rivers.
The amount of debris and its toxic effect on the environment gave Cepulonis an idea. Along with his co-creators, he developed the LureTreever, a device that removes fishing lure, tackle, and line from around freshwater fishing areas. The device could not only save fishermen thousands of dollars in lost tackle and lures, but it can also clean up the environment and save the lives of wildlife.
Richard, everyone dreams of turning their hobby – or love – into a job. You found a problem fisherman experience every day and created a solution. How did you come up with the LureTreever concept?
I have always been an avid freshwater fisherman and outdoorsman. I have lost many expensive fishing lures in trees and on underwater obstacles. I would then have to go and purchase a replacement. Some lures that I lost could not be replaced because they were no longer manufactured, and some from my father had sentimental value. On every fishing trip my wife and co-inventor Karen Walters and I would observe expensive fishing lures, bobbers, hooks and lead sinkers dangling on monofilament fishing line up to 20 to 30 feet high in trees that were lost and abandoned by other fishermen while casting. We started to brainstorm solutions to the problem of how to recover lost fishing lures and other tackle from trees and those that became snagged on underwater obstacles during retrieval. That is how we developed the LureTreever concept. You might say that it was born out of necessity. The LureTreever is a patented device and the name, which is a combination of the words lure and tree, is a registered trademark. The LureTreever is “America’s Premier Snagged or Lost Fishing Tackle Recovery System”.
How exactly does the LureTreever work and what benefits will fisherman around the world receive from packing one in their gear?
The LureTreever works by means of a series of 16 interconnecting pole sections, each twenty-two inches long, which allows for the recovery of fishing lures and other tackle from up to thirty feet away. Individually attachable to the pole sections are two heads. One for recovery of lures and other tackle from trees, and the other head for recovery of lures snagged on underwater obstacles such as stumps during retrieval. We have a video posted on our website at www.luretreever.com that shows how the LureTreever is used and how effectively it works. We also have a number of videos posted at www.youtube.com/luretreever. Fishermen around the world who carry a LureTreever may never have to lose another lure or other tackle again in trees while casting or on underwater obstacles during retrieval. They can also recover expensive lures lost and abandoned by other fishermen. The LureTreever is an investment with a guaranteed return. Fisherman will not have to buy lures to replace lures that they lose because they will be able to recover those that were lost.
You might not think that something as inconspicuous as lost fishing line and lures could cause environmental issues. But the lead and toxins contained in fishing lures and lines can cause massive problems to wildlife and humans. One reason for the LureTreever’s creation is to address these issues and clean up the environment.
You have previously stated lost tackle and fishing line “plague the planet”. For those who do not fish, how can discarded fishing line and tackle negatively affect the environment?
The LureTreever may well be one of the most important environmental inventions of the century! And let me tell you why! It is the solution to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing tackle that harms the birds, wildlife and the environment. It is equivalent to ocean cleanup of plastic only on the freshwater level. Our device recovers a source of plastic and toxic contaminants that has never been addressed before, and has been simply overlooked to the detriment of the environment. Discarded fishing line, lost fishing hooks, lures, plastic bobbers, plastic worms and lead sinkers pollute the environment when they fall into every stream, pond, river and lake worldwide. Most lures and sinkers are made of lead, a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects. When lost fishing tackle falls from the trees into the water, fish, waterfowl and wildlife ingest the toxins by eating the plastic and lead sinkers. They then pass the toxins into the food chain to humans. Lost fishing tackle also contributes to the epidemic of plastic that plagues our planet and its waterways. Lost and abandoned fishing line and plastic tackle can take over 500 years to disintegrate and leaves toxins in the water in the process. If you Google “Abandoned Fishing Line” you get 11,100,000 results. It is a serious problem that could not be helped until now with the invention of the LureTreever. Abandoned and lost fishing line entangles birds, herons, ducks, turtles, geese and all sorts of wildlife leading to a cruel death.
Once you created the idea for the LureTreever, how long did it take you to come up with the first prototype?
It did not take long! I started by making wooden models of the above water head and underwater heads. Later on I located a professional company that printed out the prototypes on a 3D printer that correlated to the specifications of the patent. I made the extension poles out of electrical conduit pipe. In addition, I designed and sewed a model of the backpack that would conveniently house all of the pieces of the LureTreever for easy storage and transport.
What were the initial trials like once you had developed the LureTreever prototype?
When the prototype was completed I made a video demonstrating techniques for recovery of different types of lures and other tackle. This video can be seen on our website at www.luretreever.com and on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/luretreever. I also took the prototype to the local lakes and ponds to recover lost and abandoned lures and tackle and demonstrate the device to local fishermen. These efforts are documented in photos on the LureTreever Facebook page, www.facebook.com/luretreever; which can also be accessed from the bottom of our website.
According to Cepulonis, investment and funding to take the LureTreever to market is a work in progress. The company has chosen to crowdfund investment as a way to raise awareness over the environmental need for the LureTreever’s use. However, Cepulonis is clear to say he is open to a variety of investment and backers to bring the device to market and make it a reality.
Richard, you have launched a Go Fund Me page to bring the LureTreever to market. Why did you choose the crowdfunding option when it comes to investment and how has the experience been so far?
Our crowdfunding campaign can be viewed a www.gofundme.com/luretreever. We chose crowdfunding as an option because we felt that it would build public awareness about the benefits of the LureTreever to fishermen, the birds, wildlife and the environment and encourage the public to participate by donating funds to bring the LureTreever to market. However, we are also open to participation from angel investors, corporate sponsors and celebrity endorsements from those that can see the vision of our mission. Our funding campaign is a work in progress.
What are some of the positives of crowdfunding the manufacturing of an invention? Are there any drawbacks that you have found to crowd sourcing funds?
Crowdfunding has positive aspects. The public is made aware of an upcoming product and has an opportunity to participate in bringing the product to market. The major drawback that we have encountered is that we must spend large amounts of money to drive social media traffic to our Go Fund Me site at a time when we are trying to raise necessary funds to manufacture the LureTreever itself; these expenses hamper our ability to reach the funding goal.
There are some major fishing and hunting retail stores in the United States. What is it like for an independent inventor and businessman to create something those big box stores haven’t? Have you been contact by any major outlets about your invention?
As independent co-inventors we are in a unique position because we hold the patent for the LureTreever and are the only ones that can legally bring the device to market. It is going to be a necessary part of every fisherman’s basic gear! It is going to revolutionize the sport of freshwater fishing and create a whole new hobby in the fishing industry. Yes, we have been in contact with local fishing tackle stores in our area. They are ready to sell the LureTreever to their customer base. In addition, a major fishing tackle company has expressed an interest in selling the LureTreever in their catalog when it comes to market.
According to Cepulonis, the LureTreever is ready to be manufactured as soon as funding is secured. With stores and companies agreeing to sell the product already, it is just a matter of time until fishermen around the world have their very own LureTreever. Cepulonis hopes the LureTreever will be ready to sell later this year and the revolution beginning.
The LureTreever will be available via the product’s official website once it goes into manufacturing. When can fishermen expect the LureTreever to be available once funding is secured?
Ideally, I would like to see the LureTreever come to market by November 2019. We are ready to go and have the mold makers and product manufacturers in place to make all of the component parts once funding is secured.
Richard, do you have any other revolutionary fishing inventions you hope to launch in the future?
Yes, I plan to manufacture a deluxe model of the LureTreever.
What is a day in your life like?
I am passionate about getting the message out about the LureTreever. Every day, I go to at least one pond in the surrounding towns to use the LureTreever prototype to clean the shoreline trees of lost fishing tackle and to introduce fishermen to the LureTreever. Most say that they plan to purchase one when it comes to market. I spend another part of my day contacting manufacturers and parts suppliers for price quotes on the component parts needed to make the LureTreever. I also make videos and interact with my friends and followers on social media. The LureTreever is a full-time job.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I am very concerned about animal welfare and wildlife habitat.
What makes you smile?
Being outdoors observing the birds and wildlife in their natural habitat while walking in the countryside.
What scares you?
What scares me is not being able to finance the LureTreever and bring it to market.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Henry David Thoreau. He was known for his extreme individualism and his preference for simple living in nature.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“We have reached the time in the life of the planet, and humanity’s demand upon it, when every fishermen will have to be a river-keeper, a steward of marine shallows, and a watchman on the high seas.” – Thomas McGuire, December 11, 1939
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – CS Lewis
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
The one thing I would like to change in the world is to have fishermen carry our LureTreever with them when they go fishing to help mitigate the impact that lost and abandoned fishing tackle has on the birds, wildlife and the environment.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
There are over 60 million fishermen in the USA alone and millions more worldwide and they all have one thing in common “They all need a LureTreever”. Imagine the ripple effect if all these fishermen could recover their lost fishing tackles and clean up the environment at the same time. At Luretreever we believe that our commitment to the environment is an investment in our collective futures.
Cepulonis hopes his device will see the light of day soon. He knows it can make a major difference to the world’s environment. So far, other fishermen and tackle stores see the benefits of the device and are ready to buy and sell the LureTreever when it is ready for market.
Although Cepulonis and his co-creator are using the crowd funding format to raise funds, they are open to other funding opportunities to come their way. The LureTreever creators are incredibly passionate about their device and know that it is the solution to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing tackle.
For more information on the LureTreever, please visit https://luretreever.com/
To see the LureTreever Go Fund Me Page, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/luretreever.
Journalist and author. Contributor