Anyone who has ever gone fishing knows that it’s hard to catch fish without any bait on the hook. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to come off. It can fly off during casting; it can be pulled off during trolling; and, of course, it can be nibbled off by devilish fish.

A few years ago, Mike Gillihan founded Captive Fishing Products Inc. in Sandwich, IL, to help anglers solve that problem. The company’s latest product is the BaitLok, a bait-containment device that prevents bait loss.

Designing the product, specifying the materials and 3D modeling the assembly posed little challenge for Captive Fishing, according to Gillihan. However, finding a manufacturer that could produce the device’s four components was much more difficult.

The four parts consist of a 5/0 Mustad hook, a hook carrier, a bag carrier and a bag. The hook is purchased and overmolded into the hook carrier, which is made of ABS plastic. The bag is made of silicone and glued to the bag carrier, which is molded of ABS. BaitLok comes in four colors: green, red, glow and clear.

COO Jim Galambos initially contacted all of the company’s best suppliers, only to find out that they were either unavailable or lacked the capacity to complete the project. Equally frustrating was learning that other contract manufacturers were way too expensive. Gillihan and Galambos feared that such a partnership would significantly cut into Captive Fishing’s resources for BaitLok-related patents and trademarks, legal representation, graphic design, packaging and product inserts.

At this point, Gillihan recalled hearing about, a large global manufacturing marketplace that pairs design firms and contract manufacturers via its online platform. He asked Galambos to investigate.

“I was impressed, signed up and immediately received a lot of support,” says Galambos. “On a conference call, our assigned customer service rep explained how the platform works. That overview was helpful, as the process is not always intuitive.”

Soon after, Galambos uploaded pictures, specs, a material list and information on the supplier that provides the BaitLok hooks. The service rep then called him prior to publishing a request for quote to make sure that all the information was correct.

“A number of [contract manufacturers] from California, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Connecticut, among others, replied,” notes Galambos. “We set up a half-hour conference call with four bidders and discussed production in greater detail. Three of them seemed more concerned about the target, retail and wholesale prices. Ultimately, we awarded the contract to a firm in Connecticut. It’s one of the best business connections we’ve ever made.”

The firm not only performs injection molding and overmolding. It also has the capacity and expertise to design and produce the packaging and product insert, and assemble everything. When the product leaves their facility, it is ready to go on a retailer’s shelf.

Equally important, the firm’s engineers suggested that two components be made of ABS rather than propylene for more strength and durability. They also came up with a creative clam shell design for the device.

For more information about reaching contract manufacturers online, call 888-404-9686 or visit