It all started with a $10 fly rod he bought at a garage sale when he was 11 years old. After an intense fly-tying class at Cabela’s three years later, Justin Hoeft set out making primitive flies by wrapping thread around hooks jammed into tiny blocks of wood. He then made his first ”real lure” from cat hair. Confidence building, Hoeft crafted a cross between a streamer fly and an in-line spinner — and thus began JR Lucky Lures.
“It was rough looking, but I knew I could fix the color patterns and make it shine, and I knew it would really draw in the fish,” says Hoeft, who lives in Amherst, Neb.
As a freshman, Hoeft joined FFA under the tutelage of teacher and adviser Katie Hothem. “My adviser said, ‘Let’s make lures your SAE project and a business,’” he says. ”I appreciate her so much because without her, and my mom and dad, this would never have happened.”
Business blossomed when Archway Gift Store was looking for Cornhusker-made products and caught wind of Hoeft’s lures.
JR Lucky Lures then gained the notice of GROW Nebraska, an organization that promotes local business. In December 2017, Hoeft received an email from Cabela’s in Omaha placing their first order for JR Lucky Lures.
Every Lure Has A Story
Hoeft’s lure lineup includes catchy names such as "A Kick’n Bass Lure," "Bite Me" and "All I Got was this Crappie Lure."
“I make lures that catch fish over and over, but also have cool names and make a great gift,” he says.
Never Give Up
In his second year at the University of Nebraska, Hoeft straddles education and building his handmade inventory of lures. What advice does he have for other young entrepreneurs? “No excuses, just stick it out. If you’ve got enough passion about something, push hard,” he says.
Learn more about Justin Hoeft and the evolution of his business at www.AgWeb.com/Justin-Hoeft