He Turned A Tumble Into Triumph
By Stan Fagerstrom
Nobody is more qualified to come up with baits that help put more bass in the boat than a guy who himself has experienced the highs, lows and seemingly unending headaches so often associated with tournament bass fishing.
Such a man is Richard Tietz, of Sacramento, California. Richard is fully acquainted with tournament bass fishing. He should be. He spent more than 20 years fishing team tournaments in California and elsewhere. He’s got a passel of awards in his trophy display cabinet to prove he did it successfully.
Richard Tietz, of California, is a former tournament bass angler who now owns and operates Blade Runner Tackle. He has developed new items of tackle that are turning out to be of interest to bass anglers everywhere.
Rick is an extremely interesting guy. Ever throw a lure that doesn’t operate quite like you think it should? Perhaps you’ve bumped into a bass fishing situation where you just can’t throw the lure you’d prefer to use because the cover is just too darn heavy for it to work as it should.
I might just break off or unsnap what I have on and throw something else. So would most of the bass anglers I know. That’s not how it is with Richard Tietz. He’s one of those guys you bump into now and then who won’t accept things not working the way he thinks they should.
He’ll either improve them or build something from scratch that does get the job done. Bass fishermen all over the place are benefitting as a result.
Simply saying that’s why Rick today owns and operates the Blade Runner Tackle Company would be an over simplication of how it actually came about. Why and how it really happened also adds credence to the familiar saying that what you experience doesn’t matter as much as how you react to it.
As I’ve mentioned, Rick had always had an interest in lure improvement and thinking about lure designs during his days as a tournament angler. When he wasn’t out throwing baits at bass in spots like the California Delta or Clear Lake, he was serving as the supervisor of a California concrete plant.
It was a serious accident at this plant that changed his life. Rick had climbed atop a big truck to inspect its full load of granite.
Somehow he slipped and fell. As he came down he smashed his head and neck into the granite. He was badly injured.
This happened in 1997. “I was in and out of a coma for almost a year,” Rick says. “All told, it really took me about two years to make my recovery.”
Even then his recovery wasn’t sufficient to let him continue tournament bass fishing. “I tried,” he says, “but I could no longer handle being in a boat when the water was rough. The problems it caused for me were just too much for me to be able to continue.”
Rick loved bass fishing just as you and I do. Age has forced me to give up some aspects of the sport myself. I know how much that hurts, but this brings us to back to what I’ve previously mentioned about your reaction to a problem being more important that the problem itself.
“I wanted so very much to stay in the fishing industry,” Tietz says, “I thought maybe my talent for lure design or lure improvements might let me make a contribution.”
There is a building number of bass fishermen out there today who will tell you he has indeed made meaningful contributions. Some of us are catching more fish---in both fresh and saltwater---as a result.
Richard Tietz started his Blade Runner Tackle business eight years ago after he finally recovered from his accident. Today his growing business produces a lure lineup that includes everything from specially designed jigs and fresh and saltwater spoons to made-to-order spinnerbaits.
It was what I kept hearing about one of Rick’s products that got me interested in what he was doing. I’ve had the extreme good fortune to fish Mexico’s fabled Lake El Salto a number of times. One of the anglers who has caught as many bass of 10-pounds or more out of that lunker heaven is a man named Joe Bullock, also of California.
I knew a swimbait was one of Joe’s favorite big bass baits. I knew so because I had written about his tremendous success with these lunker-attracting lures several years ago. It wasn’t until I talked to Joe earlier this year that I learned about an angling accessory that’s now playing a substantial role in his big bass success. It is a weedless swimbait head that was designed and is now being produced by Rick’s Blade Runner Tackle.
Click image to zoom
Experienced bass anglers will tell you a swimbait is one of the best of all baits for big bass. Trouble is, big bass usually hang out around cover. Richard Tietz developed the weedless swimbait head pictured here. These heads let you fish your swimbait in almost any kind of cover.
Anytime I get tips on bass catching techniques from somebody with my friend Joe’s bass catching ability I listen close and careful to what he’s saying. That’s why I got in touch with Rick Tietz myself.
Eyeball a full lineup of the lures now produced by Rick’s Blade Runner Tackle and you’ll find a lot of lures and lure accessories besides just swimbait heads. But it is one of these heads---the weedless job Rick created--- that has attracted so much interest among the bass anglers who know about it.
Stay tuned. I’ll have more to say about how and why this weedless swimbait head came to be. I’ll also share details regarding some of the other unique baits this likeable and talented California bassin’ man has created in Part 2 of this product review.
Meantime, if you’re interested in seeing what I’m talking about you can see it on the Internet at www.bladerunnertackle.com
. Chances are you’ll find some of what you find there of keen interest.
-To Be Continued-