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The Lure That Started It All

Posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 9:05 am


This weekend concludes National Boating Week (June 1–8)) and anglers everywhere will head out on the water, open their tackle box and select their favorite go-to lure in hopes of a producing a day of fishing excitement.

As they throw out the lure, a simple question may come to mind: How did it all begin – who invented the first fishing lure?

The answer can likely be found by taking a look back inside the tackle box where most angler’s will find one of the world’s most popular and effective baits, the Original Floating Rapala – the lure that started one of the greatest fishing stories ever told.

Rapala, a company that today manufactures an estimated 20 million lures each year, was unofficially founded in 1936 when Finnish fisherman Lauri Rapala made one simple, yet genius observation: Big fish eat little fish, particularly the wounded ones.

This elegant insight inspired Lauri to pick up a carving knife to whittle, shave and sand the very first Rapala fishing lure. With makeshift household materials such as cork, tinfoil and melted photographic negatives, he crafted and painstakingly tested a lure that perfectly mimicked the action of a wounded minnow and would ultimately become the forefather of the legendary Original Floating Rapala.

As anglers around the globe began to catch more and bigger fish with the Original Floating Rapala, the company’s legend grew. It became clear that the Rapala’s groundbreaking ‘wounded minnow’ action was the key to triggering strike after strike from fish of all species in nearly any application.

While today’s lures have evolved to include high-tech designs, the founding principles of the “wounded minnow” and Lauri Rapala’s first balsa lure remains a can’t-miss option and its invention will be remembered as a turning point in the history of modern angling.