- About Us
Hey mom, I caught some fish and dad didn’t catch any. That started it back in 1988. My son went on a camp out with some friends and the father. When they got up the next day, he took them fishing. When my son came home from that camp out, all he would talk about was fishing. He was 11 years old then and fishing really made a great impression on him. So now it was my turn to take him fishing. I was really looking forward to it. Funny, how you grow up, get a job, get married, buy a house and cars; it’s real easy to forget the fun things in life. I hadn’t gone fishing since around the time I got married in 1971, but now I had the perfect reason, my kids! First time out it was just my son and me, my 2 daughters didn’t seem very interested. At the end of that first day I was very pleased, my son had caught all the fish that day, just a bunch of little bluegills and sun fish, but he loved it. Then we went home, that’s when all the stuff happened. We told his mom the regular fish stories and of course the biggest one got away, but the fact that I didn’t catch any fish was the real story. I got the raspberries from everyone in the house. My wife thanked me for letting our son catch all the fish; she said that was the right thing to do. What she didn’t know was that I was trying my best to catch anything.
My problem was, every time I would try to set the hook, I would be way late. I was real slow at setting the hook; it wasn’t my reaction time, but my physical movement. I wasn’t fast enough; no matter what I tried I just couldn’t get up enough speed to set the hook. This was due to a car accident I had in 1979. My right shoulder was injured and I had surgery to fix it. Some things just can’t be fixed. Over the years since the accident, I learned how to do a lot of things that anybody else could do, I just can’t do them very fast, and that’s why the Speedhook™ exists today.
I never thought about fishing with all the other things I had on my mind. I didn’t realize I couldn’t catch fish until I tried. Well, I kept taking my son fishing and it wasn’t long before the girls got interested. My wife and I thought this was great, dad with the kids doing something they really enjoyed. Every one was happy, everyone but me, I’m the dad, I’m supposed to catch most of the fish, now all 3 were bragging about how they could catch fish and dad couldn’t.
Well, I finally had enough. I told my kids I was going to make something to catch the fish for me if they didn’t stop making fun of the way I was fishing. Next thing you know, all I heard was, “what are you going to make, how’s it gonna work, will it catch all types of fish, when are you going to make it, can we use it too”. I really put my foot in my mouth with that statement. Out of desperation, I started messing around with some ideas, at first this was just to keep the kids curiosity satisfied. Then I saw one possibility, I concentrated on one design. In concept it should work, but there were a lot of specifics to work out. I found if the “legs” of this thing were to long, it was real slow in the water, also if the legs were to short, there would be so much break away energy needed to trip it that the fish would let go of the bait long before it could trip it. Through trial and error I finally found the right sizes for the final design. You can trip a Speedhook™ with a piece of tissue it is so sensitive.
I would always fish from the banks since I didn’t have a boat. The fact that I would have to cast is what made me design an adjustable latch, you can actually adjust this latch so sensitive, that you can catch a minnow. When I had the final design, it was time to test it out.
My son was with me the first time it went in the water, we stood there waiting, and in no time, with no effort on my part at all, I caught my first fish in what seemed to be about 2 lifetimes. What a day we had, I caught 5 times as many fish as my son, he was really surprised but not half as surprised as I was. My son is married now and all most has his PhD in Computer Science and Physics, my oldest daughter lives in Florida and works for an airline and my youngest daughter is working on her Masters Degree. They don’t fish much anymore, but they know any time they need to catch a fish, a Speedhook™ is not far away.
I made a bunch of them and took them to work to show some friends, most of them laughed and a couple even said “no way”, but after they tried it, I was making them all the time. Word got out and people I didn’t even know were coming to get them. I thought it was all pretty cool. Some people think the shape of a set Speedhook™ attracts the fish and that’s why you catch so many fish. I personally think when you are fishing, you have a great deal of hits, trouble is, and some are so light you never knew the fish was there. With the Speedhook™, most of these light hits result in a caught fish.
One day my friend Mike Grynecki came in and asked me if I had made “this thing”, (the Speedhook™), I said yes and asked him if he wanted more. He said, “Don’t you know what you have here”, I said, “ya, I know what it can do, you should see this thing catch fish”. Mike said, “I’ve seen it catch fish, I went fishing with it and came home to get my dad and show him, we were both amazed”. At that moment, Mike said he would fund what ever it would take to get the Speedhook™ into the fishing industry. We talked some more and agreed the first thing to do was run a patent search, if it came back clean, we would apply for a patent and see what we could do from there. The next day, Mike brought me a check for $20,000.00 and said “go for it”; I guess you could say he was pretty serious. As you may have guessed, the search was clean and we were issued the patent on Jan 02, 1990.
We started doing fishing expos and the response was more than we could handle. At the beginning we were making these things by hand in some fixtures I had built, but now with the shows doing so well, it was time to find a spring company that could make them, we found that any spring company could do it.
I was even on the Oprah Winfrey show when she had a show about inventions. She was so impressed that I was the lead-off guest out of all the other people on the show. Also, a professional fisherman, named Jack DeBord called us about having the Speedhook™ on one of his shows. His show on cable (The Family Channel) was called “The Midwest Angler”. Soon after we met, he flew me down to Lake Okeechobee in Florida and we fished from sun up to sun down. It was a great show, I out fished Jack 84 to 4. He was so impressed we did another show and he became a spokesperson for the Speedhook™ for 1 year. John Husar, sports editor for the Chicago Tribune, did three articles about the use of the Speedhook™ for catching white fish in Lake Michigan and presented the Speedhook™ on his cable show (ESPN) called “The Outdoor Writers Show”. The Speedhookä has been shown on “MidWest OutDoors”. With them I have done shows on Crappie & Blue Gill, ice fishing, and Walleye fishing in the St Joseph River. If you have the chance to watch them, check them out, they’re pretty cool.
Speedhooks™ are best suited for pan fish type fishing, but any fish that tries to take the bait is going to get caught. It is amazing for crappie, bluegill, perch, carp, rock bass, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, white fish, and catfish. We have received many letters from people who have caught flounder, pigfish, and many other types of saltwater fish, also. Speedhooks™ should be used by people who want a guarantee that they will catch more fish. Speedhooks™ are excellent for children (with adult supervision), any type of handicapped person who can reel in the fish, the blind (you would be amazed to see a blind person set a Speedhook™, but they have no trouble at all), and people who ice fish will actually be amazed at the sensitivity levels they can control with the adjustable latch feature. Almost everybody that uses a Speedhook™ comments about the fact that it is an excellent way to fish if you practice catch and release type fishing also. The Speedhook™ is so fast at setting the hook the fish never has a chance to swallow the hook making the release of the fish an easy task. Speedhooks™ are also good for dealer reps and bait shop owners because Speedhooks™ have great crowd appeal and sell themselves once a person sees how it works.
One day Mike and I were talking about all the stories we had heard about the Speedhook™, and I made the simple comment, “This thing is so acute at catching fish, that a person could survive by using it." At that point, I said, “I am going to contact the Department of Defense (DOD) and see what we have to do to get this thing tested for it to become a survival item in the military”. What a task, it took almost 2 months before I found the right department, then 3 weeks before I spoke to the right person about testing. Finally we sent them some samples, 2 weeks later they requested more samples, 2 weeks later even more samples, we didn’t mind, we thought it was pretty good that they needed so many samples. We thought, wow, they must really be testing the heck out of this thing, we later found out the reason they needed so many samples was every body was keeping the ones they were testing, and not passing them on to the next tester.
This was a good sign. Finally we got a call. The DOD wanted to let us know they were going to have the Speedhook™ tested by an independent testing laboratory at the expense of the DOD. Naturally we said ok. Soon we heard from the testing lab, they called to tell us how great the Speedhook™ worked and that one of their testers had come up with a way to catch birds, rabbits and other rodents. The independent testing laboratory was Universal Training Systems, Lake Oswego, OR. The director of training (Ret. Lt. Col. Frank Heyl) has been a survival instructor for the military, general aviation, petroleum and communication companies for over 42 years. Mr. Heyl was also the Safety Training Consultant for the Alaska Petroleum Pipeline for 8 years. Here’s a person so tuned into survival that he worked with the FBI agent in charge of the D.B. Cooper half million dollar airline high jacking. The FBI thought if anybody could find this guy or if there were any signs of survival, Frank would find them. Frank flew in the aerial search for Cooper and firmly believed that it was not probable that Cooper survived the Boeing 727 bail out, but it was possible. Frank feels if Cooper survived the bail out and had pocket survival equipment and training, Cooper could still be alive today. Frank believes in the old adage; man + equipment + know how = survival. The Speedhook™ is a must have item in Franks teachings as well as a mandatory item for all types of survival kits. That’s all it took, Frank told the military it was a winner. We now sell to all branches of the military and we are in the PX’s and BX’s.
Through points of contacts which I have made over the years, I was introduced to retired Colonel Iceal Hambleton (a movie was made about his rescue, Gene Hackman played Hambleton, the name of the movie is “Bat 21”, check it out). He had been shown the Speedhookä by a friend of his and immediately saw the survival valve. After first hand experience with the Speedhookä, he contacted me for some further information. At the end of our first conference, Colonel Iceal Hambleton ask me if I would mind if he could hand deliver some samples to some friends at Fairchild Air Force Base during his up coming visit. Naturally the answer was yes. He must have made quite an impression. Shortly after his visit, Fairchild AFB started using the Speedhookä in some of their training programs and it is still in use there today. When Captain Scott O’Grady and Colonel Iceal Hambleton went on tour to visit some Air Force Bases to talk about survival, they were both handing out Speedhooksä to interested military personal.
A lot of people think fishing is just for kids or that the Speedhook™ takes the fun out of fishing. At the end of the day when the count is taken, I always feel pretty good about my count. The military doesn’t think of fishing as a “fun thing to do”, to them, it’s as important as having the latest gun or best GPS available. Soon after testing, the DOD issued us a National Stock Number, (NSN 4220-01-379-5598). How much do you think Captain Scott O’Grady would have paid for 1 fish during his visit over there? The military’s a believer, not because I told them some fish stories, but because they have tested and retested. They’re betting a lot of lives on the Speedhook™ and that’s good enough for me.
Mike and I have met many people in the military and through conversations about other survival items, we picked up on 3 of them and now our company produces and manufactures 2 other survival items called, “Firestarter Kit and Combat Trauma Wrap” which the DOD also purchases, and we are currently developing a third survival item, at this time that information cannot be released to the public, but that’s another story.
Mike and I started a small company, and even though it’s small, every Speedhook™ is hand assembled and tested. We give a manufacturers life time 100% money back guarantee. Try to find that kind of guarantee on a fishing product, it won’t be easy. The name of our company is: Speedhook Specialists, Inc. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 11215, Merrillville, IN. 46411. Our TOLL FREE number is 1-877-SPDHOOK (1-877-773-4665), Fax is 219-942-4795. Our E-Mail address is email@example.com. Dealer inquires are welcome.
SPEEDHOOK SPECIALISTS, INC. / P.O. BOX 11215 / MERRILLVILLE, IN. 46411
ORDER TOLL FREE 1-877-SPDHOOK FAX 1-219-942-4795
NSN 4220-01-379-5598 NSN 6510-01-538-6292
Military Survival Items Sold
Our 3 survival items could prove to be of vital importance in different types of survival situations. These 3 survival items are: (1). EMERGENCY FISHING AND TRAPPING KIT, (Military Issue Speedhook™, NSN 4220-01-379-5598, PN 7188). (2). FIRESTARTER KIT, (PN 7188FH) (3). Plastic Wrap NSN 6510-01-538-6292, (CTW Combat Trauma Wrap, PN DMH1115).
The Speedhook™, Firestarter, and Combat Trauma Wrap have been in survival training programs for over 15 years by Universal Training Systems, Western Region Aviation SurvivalSchool, (WRASS), in Oregon. Ft. Bragg, NC., makes use of the Speedhook™ during their SERE training programs. The Speedhook™ and Firestarter kits are also being used at the US Air Force Coastal Survival Course. The Speedhook™ and Firestarter kits are being used to supplement individual survival vests and kits at Fort Benning, GA.
All 3 survival items have been deemed mandatory survival items for inclusion with survival / vest applications by the US Army Project Management (PM) Aviation Life Support Equipment (ALSE) Aircrew Integrated Systems for the US Army Air Warrior Program.
Most recently these 3 items were demonstrated in Aug. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 at the Huntsville ALSE Conference for the Air Warrior program, Sept. 2000, at the Fort Harrison, MT., ALSE Conference and for the NAVY SEALS at the Feb. 2000 Cold Weather Symposium in Alaska. They were also demonstrated at the Oct. 1997, Sept. 1998, and Oct. 1999 World Wide SERE Conference held at Fairchild Air Force Base, WA., and are now a part of their training program. In September of 1996 these same 3 items were demonstrated at the New Mexico Army National Guard / WRASS Combat Aviation Survival Instructor Course and are now part of their training program. Speedhooks™ are currently being used by U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Army Aviation, U.S. Coast Guard, Army Reserves, Naval Units, and the U.S.E.P.A. in their Cold Weather Survival Kits. The Speedhook™ and Firestarter kits are currently being used in Navy SEALS survival training classes (SERE) at Little Creek, VA. Also, all 3 items were demonstrated at the Survival 1998, 1999 and 2000 conference hosted by Flag Officer Navel Aviation British Royal Navy at Yeovilton, England.
The Speedhook™, Firestarter, and Combat Trauma Wrap are manufactured in America with American Made products and hand assembled to insure a “Perfect Product” every time. When you need food, a way to cook, or are injured, the Speedhook™, Firestarter, and Combat Trauma Wrap have become a proven combination to supply your survival needs. Speedhook Specialists, Inc., is a small business concern which includes a work force of Veterans, and Veterans family members.
Thank you for your time concerning these vital survival items.
Andrew J. Pratscher
Thanks for your interest in SPEEDHOOK. Our mission is to provide the best Service for our products. We will be adding extra features over the next few months, so come back regularly to check our featured items. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free to: 1-877-SPDHOOK (1-877-773-4665).