The 1964 ad “Don Fuelsch Southern Angler and Hunters Guide” shows “The new original ‘Strike King’ bass lure” by McEwen Tackle Co. It was a single spin spinnerbait. Bill McEwen was a taxidermist in Memphis, TN and made these lures on the side out of his garage.
In the spring of 1966 Charles Spence purchased Bill McEwen’s lure business which consisted of; a lead melting pot, some safety pins, a few bags of skirts and some molds. He refers to it as Strike King Lure Company.
Ray Scott holds his first bass tournament on Beaver Lake in northwest Arkansas. Bill Dance, Charles Spence and Ray Murski compete in it. Notably Bill got 2nd and Ray got 4th! They all become friends and form business relationships. It’s estimated around this time Ray Murski calls on a man named Sam Walton who has a chain of 4 stores in northwest Arkansas.
Bill Dance became the most successful tournament angler in the early years of the sport and then became a nationally known television personality. Charles Spence built up Strike King Lure Company as a lure manufacturing entity near the Memphis airport on Sanderwood Street. Ray Murski’s sales rep group grew and represented many outdoor products. So Charles built the product, Ray sold it and Bill promoted it for many years.
The oldest catalog found, shows 9 models of spinnerbaits, a Spence Spook topwater prop bait, the Spence Scout and a Super Scout crankbait, wooden Big S and Little S crankbaits, and a Happy Hooker tailspinner.
The Prop Scout and Spin Scout were introduced, as well as worms, lizards, grub tails, hooks and sinkers.
Buzz King® 385B, Timber King spoons, replacements skirts.
Houston Model Spinnerbait, Trailer hooks.
Spence Model spinnerbait, Bootlegger Jig®, Grass King spoons.
Polarized sunglasses are added and quickly become a significant product line.
Tri-Wing Buzz King®
Moved locations to Collierville, Tennessee
Grass Frog, Jig-N-Spoon, Pro-Model® spinnerbait.
Got into the catfish and pork baits with a clever marketing campaign with Bill Dance and a pig! Night Crawler Links® and Bo-Hawg® Pork baits were the early products.
Diamond Shad®, Spin-Dance® spinnerbait, Lightn’in Strike Hooks® for the Pork-O® and Whisker Sticker catfish hooks.
Sale of Company - Charles entertained selling the business to a competitor in 1994/1995 but then turned to his ‘ole buddy Ray Murski. Mr. Murski’s sales organization had been representing Strike King from almost the beginning and can be credited with much of its success. The deal was signed in July 1995 but not completed until November 1995.
Early 1996 John Barns became President and June 1996 Allan Ranson becomes Chief Financial Officer and then was promoted to Chief Operating Officer at the end of the year. The task was to turn the Company around, install new systems and procedures, shore up manufacturing and product development and attack the market.
The Strike King® brand name is one of the most recognized on the market. Our great team of people are experienced and the company’s operations are strong. With continued determination the future looks bright for Strike King.