Rapala and the Course of Fishing-by J. Martino

Rapala changed the course of fishing By: John Martino “Man, these things have been around forever and are still one of the best lures,” said Jeff Mitchell, as he flashed a Rapala artificial lure in front of my face before tying it on. He was right. These lures have been around since I can remember and since their inception have changed the course of fishing worldwide. So that got me thinking. How long have they been around? I later emailed their marketing specialist Matt O’Keefe and he provided me with the historical perspective on the famous lures. It was in the 1930s when a Finnish fisherman made an observation of simple genius. Big fish eat little fish, especially little fish that are wounded. As Lauri Rapala fished the waters of Finland’s Lake Päijänne, he quietly rowed and watched. He saw how hungry predator fish would dart into a school of minnows and attack the one that swam with a slightly off-center wobble. Rapala realized if he could craft a lure that mimicked the movements of a wounded minnow, he could catch more fish, earn more money and not spend time constantly baiting lines. So he set to work. He whittled, carved and shaved, and eventually a lure began to take shape. Using a shoemaker’s knife and some sandpaper, he created his first successful lure from a piece of cork. That was back in 1936. Tinfoil from chocolate bars formed the lure’s outer surface. He then melted photographic negatives for the protective coating. Most importantly, the lure perfectly imitated the action of a wounded minnow. Legend has it that Rapala sometimes caught 600 pounds of fish a day with the new lure, and as word of his abundant catches spread, the lure’s reputation grew. The rest, as they say, is history. That first lure began a tradition no one expected, and to this day, no one has matched. In 1959 Normark was established and started distributing the lures in the United States. To date, over 20 million are produced each year. More world record fish have been taken on Rapala’s than any other lure or bait. There’s a reason more fishermen around the world put their faith in Rapala. It’s a confidence that stretches across 140 countries and is validated each year by the millions of lures ending up in people’s tackle boxes. These Rapala products have made fishermen better. Even today, nothing is rushed to market, but carefully crafted from years of experience. No shortcuts. It is the old school legacy of unwavering quality. There has been no other artificial lure to impact the fishing world to the degree Rapala has. Kokomo Reservoir Bass Tourney Matt Cottrell and Matt Durben collected first place and “big fish” honors at last Monday’s Kokomo Reservoir open team bass tourney, sponsored by Cardwell Built Construction and Roby’s Outdoors. The winners brought in five fish totaling 11.21 pounds with their largest topping out at 4.01 pounds. Second place went to Brad Parsons and Kenny Waisner with five fish weighing 7.93 pounds. Henry Cavazos and Wayne Eads snagged third place with five fish totaling 7.92 pounds. Dick Mugg Memorial Bass Tourney The annual bass tournament in memory of long time teacher and angler Dick Mugg will take place July 6. The event will be held at the Kokomo reservoir from sunrise to 2:30 pm. The entry fee has been set at $60 with registrations taking place at the public boat ramp located on Howard County Road 400 East prior to the start of the contest.