Marine Metal Products has been a family-owned business for more than 40 years. It was started in 1959 by Dick Alexander and John Fry. Alexander was an engineer and Fry was a friend and an investor. Their product was a stick type 21" long aerator with a series of small holes, an impellor at one end and a 12 volt motor at the other end; the two were connected by a brass shaft. When the impellor turned and the tube was submerged in a liquid, it drew air down the tube and forced a current of micro bubbles into the tank. The process had a mixing effect and was initially used in the citrus industry. Both men quickly recognized the benefit as a fish tank aerator and named their product – Bait Saver.
Live bait fishing was popular in Florida and along the Gulf Coast, but not many boats came equipped with aerated bait wells. Commercial fishing boats were equipped but family and run-about boats did not. Most fishing boats had scoops on the bottom and were spraying or circulating new water through their wells. Many boat owners who did not have wells were skeptical about cutting holes in the bottom of their boats to bring in water, so the idea of a separate tank with an aerator was a good one. Fishermen liked the innovation because it kept large amounts of different kinds of bait alive and drew little electrical current.
In 1962, Alexander and Fry sold their business to William Brewster of Belleair, FL. Brewster was an engineer from New York. He redesigned the unit with replaceable parts and was responsible for the early marketing of the Bait Saver through boat dealers, hardware stores and tackle distributors.
In 1963, Brewster developed a small battery powered air pump that ran on D cell batteries. He called it Bait Saver Junior. In 1965, he registered the trademark.
In December 1968, Clark Lea bought Marine Metal Products from Brewster as an investment. In May 1970, Lea became fully involved with the operations by broadly promoting the products and innovating new ones.
In 1976, he bought Florida Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Company from the Reynolds family in St. Petersburg, FL. They sold a line of artificial baits spoons, plugs and jigs under the names of Barracuda, Reflecto, and Dalton Special.
In 1987, Clark Lea, Jr., joined the business after graduating from the University of Mississippi. He had grown up in the business working after school, vacations, and tackle shows. In the spring of 1987, the Company sold the "lure business" to the Luhr Jensen Company of Hood River, Oregon.
Marine Metal Products has been a pioneer in developing, and marketing many live bait-keeping systems like the Super Saver, Fish Saver, Bubbles, Quiet Bubbles, Hush Bubbles, AirHead, and the insulated Cool Bubbles. In 2005, Clark Lea, Jr., was elected president of the company and currently heads its operation.