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Don Shoopman

Louisiana Sportsman Magazine

by Don Shoopman
Couple invents bait-injection system

Anna Hulin was fishing for sac-a-lait with her husband, Randy, on their beloved Saline-Larto waters in February 2002 when she noticed he was getting many more bites than she was.

When Anna found out why, it almost led to an end to their marriage of 26 years, their friends say with a laugh.

Randy was keeping something from her. It was a prototype soft bait injection system that he had been tooling with for a while.

He finally shared the secret while pointing out he just wanted to see if, indeed, the system’s use led to more interest in the fish. She got over it, and they’re still happily married.

Randy Hulin has developed a pump that’s capable of mashing up natural or commercial bait and injecting it into soft plastics.

Randy Hulin has developed a pump that’s capable of mashing up natural or commercial bait and injecting it into soft plastics.

The Pineville couple have what may prove to be the invention of the decade on their hands in The Bait Pump. Fishermen in and around their hometown have started proving that and, as the injector system went into stores in May, others will get a chance to try them out for bass and sac-a-lait.

It’s a clean, tough and durable way to mash crappie nibbles, catfish dough or other substances, such as natural bait like shrimp or crawfish, and shoot the paste into soft plastics like tube jigs and plastic worms.

Anna’s displeasure with the way crappie nibbles got so messy, especially after spilling into the boat and creating a goo, led to the light bulb going on for Randy.

The computer programmer has been called on to write programs for others, which he did once at the request of a friend in Jena who wanted to make a duck call, she said. They settled on acrylic for the body.

“He (Randy) saw it and knew acrylic would be perfect,” Anna said.

But the shape took a while to design.

“Being the engineer he is, he knew it’d take a thread design to make that thick paste because whenever you put crappie nibbles into a pump and start turning the threads it turns them into a paste, actually mashing them. But whenever you’d try to put them into a turkey injector, it wouldn’t come out,” she said.

“When the thread design in acrylic worked perfect, he used it for a while to see if it makes a difference getting bites,” she said.

He started making extra ones in Jena and giving them to fishing buddies, who raved over the pump, Anna said. He made and sold about 200, and realized he had something special for fishermen, she said.

The bass pump can inject shrimp into artificial cocahoes for speckled trout fishing, she said. “We’re trying to get them into fishermen’s hands. We’re trying to get them in as many stores as we can,” she said.

So far, the couple have sunk about $7,000 into the venture, according to Anna.

“We believe it’s worth it. It’ll be useful for every fisherman’s tacklebox,” she said.

She was proud of the enterprise they have shown. She also emphasized that her husband is an ordinary Louisiana fisherman who has manufactured this product for fishermen in Louisiana.

And they are expanding the line already.

Randy went to Jena the first Sunday of May, she said, and produced a model that can be used for offshore fishing. It pumps chopped up shad into an artificial lure, she said.

“We’re going to hit every industry with this,” she said and added one of the targets is trout fishing up North. They have been told the trout fishing industry is bigger than the bass and sac-a-lait industry combined, she said.

By the way, she said, late last summer she got a certain amount of revenge on her husband while they were bass fishing at Toledo Bend. He thought he was getting bream bites — you know, that tell-tale tat-tat — but she began injecting her favorite paste into the egg sacs of plastic worms they were using, and starting catching bass after bass right behind him.

She said The Bait Pumps can be cleaned easily by soaking them in a cup of soapy water.

“Well, what it is, the Crappie Nibbles get a little dry, like they do in the bottle. We’ll clean ours,” she said, “but we don’t clean them that often. When you deal with shrimp or crawfish, you would want to clean it after each trip.”

The Hulins haven’t mashed shrimp or crawfish themselves, she said, but others have with success. Peel the shell off before putting it into the pump, she advised.

She likes to put the paste into tube jigs for crappie and plastic worms and soft plastic jerkbaits for bass. For the latter, she said, leave a little hanging out of the hole and some of the rest oozes out.

“I did it with Flukes a couple weeks ago. Those bass just weren’t taking it ... they were swallowing it,” she said.

One bass fisherman who won’t leave home without it, she said, is her friend, Jonell Whitstine of Alexandria, a veteran and accomplished angler with the Women’s Bass Fishing Assocaition.

Anna said a couple drops of lake water help soften the mash if it’s too dry. Also, a liquid fish attractant does the same moisturizing job and adds more scent, she said, adding she prefers garlic-flavored Kickin’ Bass put out by Kenneth Kross.

How to use it? Put whatever substance you want to use, up to the threads ,replace the plunger and turn clockwise until the paste reaches the nozzle. Insert the nozzle end into a tube or soft plastic and fill with the desired amount of paste. After injecting, turn the plunger counterclockwise one-half turn to release the pressure and avoid waste.

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