Once you reach a certain point in life and you think you’ve „seen a thing or two“, you can’t help finding warmth and happiness in memories of the good old days. For me it is the early childhood, time when it all began…
Back then, one months allowance was exactly enough to buy one Rapala wobbler. You would usually lose it the third or fourth cast and then had to wait a whole month to afford a new one. Some would, I wouldn’t!
If you can’t afford something, you have to make it yourself, you improvise!
So I would look for good pieces of linden wood and carve it. The wire was a straightened paper clip, protection was sister’s nail polish, but those lures worked and caught fish! Later on, a friend asked if he could have one, then a friend of a friend and that is how it began. It did not last long, tough life took me to the far north, where gymnasium and university years left too little time for fishing and my passion for making lures. Only during holidays I would find time to keep the flame going. After many stressful years at work and countless low quality Chinese lures in my tackle boxes, an angry voice inside me grew louder and louder. So in 2004. I finally decided to go back to my roots.
During one visit to the homeland I met a childhood friend of mine, Nenad Barinić, and showed him some of my lures. He was ecstatic about them and the idea of making more. So I made a new model based on an idea I had, being an excellent artist, Nenad painted it to life and protected it by a thick layer of lacquer. Before it fully dried we were on the water. First cast and whaam! A beautiful zander was ready to pose with our new creation which would later evolve into Dok 7. Old passion rekindled in both of us. It didn’t take us long to find a group of like-minded enthusiasts, who were brave enough to start a new company from scratch. Our first lures were tested mainly by friends and local fishermen, but soon we started sending them to anglers all over the world. Excellent feedback we received, motivated us to work even harder, which wasn’t an easy task given, because we both had regular jobs and had to keep our employers happy too. So as our range kept expanding, we had to take more workers to meet growing demands. Younger family members, Ante and Marko, decided to join the team and worked hard with us dawn till dusk, every single day.
Although a small family firm, in 2006. we decided to attend several major fishing events like the ones in Sweden and Ireland. We were among the first three in almost all of them and the Monarch-Dok name was something that more and more people talked about and took interest in. Our performance lead us into the „inner circle“ and we were soon contacted by serious fishermen and started receiving orders from large EU stores and distributors. This also carried a price as we were soon hit with the biggest problem all small manufacturers have – limited capacity. Although we had lucrative offers from the USA, we had to decline. We couldn’t find that many working hands and moving our production to Asia was never an option. Therefore we took exactly the opposite approach with individual design, no minimum orders and all that at affordable prices. We knew we would lose the largest customers, but our target audience was always the small, local distributors and individual anglers who could get custom colors and models at regular prices, fast and efficient!
After our wooden range was well established on the European market, we began to develop soft lures. Just about at the same time, the industry became aware of the problem with plastic softeners. Studies have shown that many standard softeners like DOP were very toxic, carcinogenic even. Hundreds of thousands of Barbie dolls went up in flames, due to this revelation even though the quantity of DOP used in them is up to a hundred times less than in just one silicone fish! Still, it looked like nobody bothered with that much. As an university educated medical professional and a passionate angler, it bothered me very much because neither the fish nor our progeny deserved that!
We made it our mission to find a suitable alternative that would be environment friendly and after two years of research and development we have succeeded. Our lures were now safe even though the price was slightly higher than most similar Chinese products on the market. Sadly, many anglers still deemed price more important than environment so they continued using those lures even though they were full of toxic softeners. Time of recession that followed pushed us back as well as everyone else, but after economies began to recover from the 2008-2010 global crisis, we were finally able to agree on larger quantities and better prices from our suppliers which enabled us to have more competitive prices for our soft lures. We lowered our prices significantly while simultaneously increasing the efforts to educate at least the local anglers of the dangers those materials represent.
Today, our lures are being sold in 12 European countries but you will also find them in distant markets like Indonesia and Australia. As I mentioned before, we are continually raising awareness of toxic materials and it is slowly but steadily giving results. More and more anglers are using ecologically safe lures. We are also still not giving in to temptations of large markets and cheap production overseas. We will always be a small family firm oriented towards individuals whose feedback we value the most. These days we are able to provide them with non-toxic soft lures with various levels of softness and in over 50 proven colors as well as hard lures with limitless customization options. We are open to every idea and are listening to our customers in order to put the best possible lures in their capable hands. Nothing gives us more pleasure than receiving pictures of their trophy catches and because of that, our business motto has always been and still is FROM ANGLERS – FOR ANGLERS!
Marijan Milan Pocrnja – Dok