Passion drives record-breaking Dream Baits
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From the moment Mario Gijbels rolled his first bait with his dad he was hooked by a passion for fishing that still consumes him today. Nearly 25 years later, the Belgian angler is the owner of Dream Baits, a growing international business with its own fully-automated production plant in Genk.
The company’s baits hold the distinction of setting the Benelux carp record on three occasions and are the preferred choice of many of the region’s top anglers. But the path to success hasn’t always been easy. Gijbels rolled his first baits in his garage and even sold his fishing gear to help fund the launch of his company in 2007.
Gijbels’s own prowess in the carp fishing field has been a big factor. Countless hours on the bank convinced him that more focus on bait development would increase his catch rate. Here was something he could influence directly.
Long periods of experimenting with different ingredients and testing sessions followed. Gijbels took detailed notes of his findings, while also sharing experiences with high-profile carp anglers.
The result was what he describes as two legendary base mixes. Red&Spicy is a closely-guarded recipe that continues to catch year after year, while the introduction of krill into foodbaits produced Krill&Octopus, another resounding commercial success.
Gijbels is quick to acknowledge the support of his friends in getting the business off the ground. Assistance with equipment, business advice and media coverage helped him through some difficult winters and paved the way to him eventually giving up his full time job to focus fully on Dream Baits.
“Our products have attracted the finest fishermen in Benelux, all respected anglers with distinct profiles and goals but one thing in common – they are critical about baits and willing to provide honest feedback,” he says.
“This is crucial to the future growth of the company. We are proud of this small family as it is unique in the industry.”
The company’s bait trials include tank tests to measure the fish’s attraction and reaction to amino acids, flavours, oils and other ingredients.
“We want to see with our own eyes what works. We want to learn from these tests, rather than trust other sources. Baits that we have commercialised, like Sweet Seduction, VooDoo and VooDoo +, have their roots in these tank test studies.”
Now Gijbels and his team are looking at the next level. A partnership with a close friend was instrumental in purchasing a production plant that became fully operational in mid 2015. The plant has an annual capacity of 1,000 tons of bait and the warehouse has sufficient space to maintain stocks adequate for international supply.
“Our ambition is to become a bait of choice worldwide, just as we have proven to be in Benelux,” added Gijbels.
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