Doctor’s love of fishing leads to lures

Mark Meyer shows a card of his custom made "1/2 Nelson" artificial lures." Photo by author

Mark Meyer considers himself fortunate. During the work day he finds great pleasure in treating patients, helping them enjoy a healthier life. When the workday ends he can be found fishing or handcrafting custom made lures, helping others catch fish.

If you would ever come across the doctor wading a local stream or plying the waters of an area lake, several things would catch your attention. First is his pleasant and warm personality. His genuine smile immediately makes you feel at ease. Maybe this comes from years of serving as a family medical doctor. The second would be his selection of unique, custom made lures.

Affectionately called “Doc” by his friends, fishing has been a lifelong staple for the Carroll County resident. During his youth he could be found exploring small streams that flowed near his home. “As a child I would fish for creek chubs using bread,” he recalled. As he grew in years, so did the variety of fish he sought. He started fishing for large and smallmouth bass and a variety of panfish.

Once graduating from IU School of Medicine and establishing his practice in 1985, family vacations centered on angling activities. “I really love fishing for northern pike,” he mentioned. Although he relishes taking to local waters with rod and reel he is fortunate owning a home on Tennessee’s fabled Reelfoot Lake, where many crappies and bluegills have succumbed to his lures.

For years Meyer had trouble finding artificial baits that had the detail he expected. “I really didn’t like the lures I would see in stores,” he explained. So he did what you would expect from an intelligent, motivated fisherman. He began making his own.

“It kind of became a natural progression,” Meyer explained. As a child he had an uncle who taught him to tie flies. “I used to watch him and I found it very interesting, creating something with your own hands that fish would bite.”

Soon after he began making his own baits, friends began asking him to craft lures for them. It wasn’t long before his hobby evolved into a small business. It was 2009 when his ½ Nelson Bait Company was created. The name came from a humorous twist. Meyer has a good friend who serves as a guide on Reelfoot Lake, whose last name happens to be Nelson. “He wanted me to make some special jigs for him,” he explained. Then when testing them on the water the pair began hauling in huge crappies. They joked about having to wrestle them into the boat. Meyer paired the grappling move with his friends name and the company’s name ½ Nelson Bait was born.

Each lure begins with a design and a single bare hook. Everything else is made by the doctor’s deft hands. A prototype is then created. Once completed each lure is personally tested by Meyer and his friends. Only when he deems the artificial lure perfect is it put on the market for sale. “I won’t make or sell anything that I don’t think is the best quality and great at catching fish,” he said. “Each year my friends and I may come up with six or seven different designs, but after testing I may only keep one, maybe two.”

The Peru doctor believes, in today’s society, spending quality time outdoors can be limited due to the hectic lives many lead. ‘Outdoor recreational time is special, so when people take the time to enjoy fishing they should have the best lures available,” he said. “That’s where I like to try and help.”

Meyer has no employees and does everything himself in the basement of his rural home. He does it because he loves it. “I don’t make any money either,” he added with a laugh. That would be hard to believe as a steady flow of people were constantly seen visiting his booth at last week’s Wild Indiana Outdoor Show.

If you would be interested in checking out Doc Meyer’s selection of custom jigs, spinners and other lures, he can be contacted at (765) 566-2344 or at halfnelsonbaitcompany@gmail.com.

Maybe if it’s time for your annual check-up he can take care of that too.

John Martino
Martino is a well-known outdoor writer throughout Indiana and has served as longtime outdoor columnist for the Kokomo Tribune newspaper. Martino has won numerous awards for both his writing and his service to youth, conservation and the community. He recently retired as Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kokomo and now works as Ivy Tech Executive Director for Facilities for the Kokomo region.

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