Custom lures strengthen couple's bond

Christine Gorske, left, and her husband, Alex, hand paint their own fishing lures. They've opened a small business, Team Ultimatum Custom Lures, which they run out of a spare bedroom in their Lake Mills home. 

When Alex Gorske and his fiancé, Christine, were seriously contemplating marriage a couple of years ago, negotiations contained just one ultimatum: fishing must be second only to fidelity.

Christine was OK with that, bringing an even larger tackle box than Alex’s impressive war chest into the relationship.

The couple tied the knot just more than a year ago in Door County.

It was a walleye-themed wedding.

The couple trolled all night before their wedding. After the nuptials, they posed for photos in their formal wear, each holding a trophy walleye. Christine’s fish was just a little bigger.

On a romantic fishing getaway a couple months prior to the wedding, they stopped by a small bait shop that featured custom-painted crankbaits. They each spent about $300 on lures to enhance an already extensive selection of tackle.

Heading back to southern Wisconsin, Christine became suddenly silent, and remained so for nearly an hour. Alex drove on trying to figure out what he had said or done wrong.

Christine broke the silence.

“I can do that!” she blurted.

Alex responded, “Huh?? Whaa??” or words to that effect.

“I can paint lures which are every bit as realistic as the ones we just paid a fortune for,” she said in such a way that her beau knew better than to offer comment.

The bride-to-be’s epiphany has since grown into a profitable business that the couple runs out of a spare bedroom in their Lake Mills home.

Since kicking off Team Ultimatum Custom Lures, their inventory has grown to over 60 different patterns, attracting the attention of several top professional anglers who are looking to gain an edge, along with many average fishers with a serious and incurable addiction to fishing.

Price and rational thought are minor annoyances when it comes to something with hooks that will catch more and bigger fish.

If timber rattlers were as deadly at fooling fish as they are at being just plain deadly, anglers would stand in line and gladly pay $100 a dozen and reach blindly into the bait box for another serpent if a fish slurped in the first one without feeling a hook.

Team Ultimatum custom lures are much less expensive, at $4.50 per lure for painting. Customers have the option of supplying their own old, battered baits or selecting brand new lures in many popular models which are re-packaged after being painted.

Several weeks ago, I was able to witness the superiority of Alex and Christine’s custom-painted lures first hand.

Two identical model Husky Jerk Rapalas were pegged behind planer boards at the same distance behind the boat. The Team Ultimatum bait outfished a proven factory painted lure 2-1.

In the next trolling pass, the lures were switched to the other side of the boat. This time, the tally was 3-1 in favor of the custom bait.

Both Alex and Christine work full-time at stressful, demanding jobs. After work, they rush right home—and hook up the boat.

Lake Koshkonong is just minutes away. The Gorskes are always a threat in the Wednesday night walleye league during the summer months out on Kosh.

Alex says that his wife’s artistry with the air brush is better than his. This might very well be true. They both run lures that they have personally painted when fishing tournaments or just for fun.

Christine usually outfishes her husband. She is brutally competitive.

He can attribute this trend to her artwork if he wants to. But folks who have shared the boat with this couple draw their own conclusions about the truth.

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Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at tedpeck@acegroup.