Dressed in bib overalls, shock of gray hair askew, he saunters into Toledo Town mega-shop near the banks of massive Toledo Bend Lake. He takes a seat at a table in the restaurant and the waitress brings him a plate of bacon and eggs.
At first glance, you’d think he was just a local fellow who has spent the last hour in his garden and stops by for breakfast.
In reality, though, this laid-back old guy – he’s 79 years old – just happens to be the owner of Toledo Town. His legacy goes back more than half a century when Dr. Robert Glynn Carver was a professor of biochemistry at McNeese State College in Lake Charles.
In 1972, Carver introduced to the world a concept in fishing lures that literally changed the way fishermen went after bass. He invented the Mister Twister curly tail worm.
Legendary outdoor writer, the late Homer Circle, was blown away by Carver’s invention, having this to say about Carver’s new lure. “The curly tail concept is the most exciting built-in action I have seen in soft lures. This amazing principle of animation doubtless will be added to many new types of lures in the future.”
We had the opportunity to sit down with Carver recently at Toledo Town as he held off on his bacon and eggs long enough to chat with us.
“I was living in Claiborne Parish in Athens when I started my company in Minden,” Carver said. “I’d always heard folks say they’d like to see a worm that swam. I was at a show in Chicago and there was a French lure that had a curly tail but it was a stiff type lure. I felt like it would work on soft plastics.”
The National Fishing Lure Collector’s Club awarded Carver an honorary membership in the organization and had this to say about Carver and his curly tail lure.
“One day, he dragged a curled ribbon of plastic through a tank of water and to his amazement, the resulting rippling action was so life-like that he knew he was onto something extraordinary. In just a few short years Carver moved from the world of academia to president and owner of a lure manufacturing firm, capable of producing 400,000 units a day.”
Carver reminisced about the company he founded. “Mister Twister is now still in Minden and we built all those buildings there when we were going full bore with the company. Over the years, I’ve had 16 or 17 design patents on my lures. Just about every other lure company in the country followed us and they are now adding curly tails to lots of their soft plastic lures.”
Carver eventually sold his company to Mepps, one of the nation’s largest lure manufacturers.
“The folks at Mepps said they’d like me to continue to manufacture lures for them. By that time, I’d moved to Toledo Bend and I told them that as long as I could do it on Toledo Bend, I’d do it. I started manufacturing lures for them, working lots of long hours. I eventually built Toledo Town and some 10 years ago, I dropped the manufacturing operation and now I’m just involved with the store, which offers a place for fishermen to buy gas, tackle, have a nice meal and we offer all convenience store items. It’s grown and keeps getting bigger each year,” Carver said.
Carver has a special place in his heart for Toledo Bend. He moved to the area before the lake became a reality.
“I came here before the lake ever flooded. I watched them build the levee. The folks down here,” Carver added as he started working on his bacon and eggs, “have been real good to us and the move here was the right thing to do.”
Glynn Harris Outdoor column is sponsored by D.C. Pawn in Minden