Bubonic: A BBZ Interview with Derrek Stewart

Bubonic: A BBZ Interview with Derrek Stewart

What is Bubonic, or should I say who is Bubonic?

Bubonic, a lure painter, hails from the Live Free or Die State, New Hampshire. Live Free or Die is possibly the best-known of all state mottos. It speaks to an absolute independence historically found in American political philosophy. New Hampshire’s state motto stands apart from most milder mottos found in other states. As I listened to the artist known as Bubonic, describe his design ideology it’s very fitting that he comes from New Hampshire.

Infected Trout

Infected Trout

Bubonic started painting lures because as he began bass fishing, he quickly became discontent with mainstream re-hashed versions of Sexy Shad. Bubonic believed he could do things differently and offer anglers what they couldn’t obtain from conventional tackle companies.

Swim Deadly Phantom Tizzy Gizzy

Swim Deadly Phantom Tizzy Gizzy

Bubonic is much more than a lure painter. He had been doing illustration art since childhood. Bubonic’s drive to grow as an artist translated into picking up an airbrush. Next thing he knew he was painting anything and everything.

Bubonic places custom eyes into his work.

Bubonic places custom eyes into his work.

If you surf the artwork images of Bubonic on Facebook, you’ll see a lot of crankbait work. But surprisingly his favorite type of fishing is not with a crankbait. He is a self-described Swimbait and Jig guy. Give him a box of both and he’ll go to work.

He gathers lure eyes from all over the world. Swim Deadly Chimaera Perch

He gathers lure eyes from all over the world. Swim Deadly Chimaera Perch

Bubonic has a very unique recognizable style. He describes his motivation as wanting to break free from the regular, the box that most people mentally place themselves in. He goes on to explain that there are thousands of lure painters and he noticed early on a common trait, structured art with precise stenciled lines on a perch or the shell of a crayfish. The good ole fashioned “Comb” syndrome, as he calls it. 

Bubonic describes the detail of the eyes as an artform in itself.

Bubonic describes the detail of the eyes as an artform in itself.

With a background in illustration, Bubonic just took a different road and focused his energy on how to make his airbrush act like a pen, a tattoo gun. Wanting to have the ability to do every aspect of the design with his airbrush he would draw lines on a sheet of paper, tracing them hundreds of times. Each time they’d get thinner and thinner, to the point where he could draw a line with his airbrush and you couldn’t tell if it was a pen or paint. Bubonic knew he could be well recognized in the industry, but it would have to be illustrated freehand work.

Bubonic says the eye work can make or break a bait.

Bubonic says the eye work can make or break a bait.

Why does Bubonic paint lures? He is not motivated to paint lures because he wants them for himself, motivation comes from demand, people want them. Bubonic’s satisfaction from his artwork comes from his fans. He loves seeing their catches, hearing their stories, listening to them tell how they won an event with something he painted. Describing his organic following on social media Bubonic explains that he has never advertised, doesn’t plan on ever advertising or pushing his product. His admirers want to see what he has coming next. Anybody that’s part of the “Bubonic Nation” wants to be there and that is the way he likes it! As he puts it, “ Bubonic is one Plague the Fishing World needs to see and help spread”! 

The Urban Dictionary defines ‘Sick’ as being; cool, crazy, insane… Bubonic takes the meaning to another level. Predation is the only cure for these Sick baits. 

It’s been a pleasure to speak with Bubonic and capture his story. I can’t help but notice several of his mantras that parallel the BBZ mindset. If you would like to contact Bubonic for bait inquiries or paint requests of almost any kind, you can reach him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Buboniccustoms/?fref=ts  or email bubonicinfest@gmail.com 

Purple Perch

Purple Perch

Author’s Note: As a lure painter, Bubonic caught my eye due to many reasons. On of which is the attention he gives to the SPRO BBZ-1 4-inch Shad swimbait. This stood out to me because as you review the timeline of the SPRO BBZ-1 swimbait line the 4-inch Shad, undeservingly, doesn’t garner much interest these days. As you can see from this gallery, that is not the case for Bubonic.

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