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Lure Development Comes from Boat Seats Around the World THE





Rapala, operates with an “Old World” philosophy. Mark Fisher, Director of Field Promotions said, “Our goal is to manufacture quality products that the average angler can afford and have success with.” He said an “enchanting” heritage still exists at Rapala. The lures are made in Finland; the VMC hooks are still made in their original factory in France; other brand acquisitions are built around the world. “It takes longer for us to bring a product to market than most companies, because anything new must have world applications,” he said. For instance, when the X-Rap Shads were in final testing, the walleye guys drooled with anticipation; so did the bass fraternity; and in Australia, the Great Barrier Reef fishermen were pumped. In the Netherlands, the Zander crowd was excited. “We scrutinize where lures will end up,” he said. “Ideas and trends come from the boat seats, and our new products spin off the traditional floater and the Shadstyle lures,” he continued. The sources of input come from bass, walleye and in-shore guides, media partners, anglers and tournament anglers. The sales team helps answer the key question,“What’s needed?” Rapala also examines strategic needs, competitive thrusts and products that have mass appeal and serve cross-over markets. “Lures for Canada are different from those in Spain, and different from the needs of Australian anglers, and different than the US,” Fisher said,“We work independently, yet in harmony with the rest of the world to develop the next best thing.” Fisher said, “We can only develop so many projects in a year. Right now, I have the 2013 and 2014 proposed introductions in my office. I often forget what year it is.” One classic example involved the introduction of the Deep Tail-Dancer. The need to reach extreme depths came from the walleye tournaments. Fisher said,“They wanted deeper-running, bigger bait with a more radical wobble than the deep Husky Jerk. They wanted special ‘attractor’

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colors for suspended fish. In those Professional Walleye Trail days, we had a magic box with all the color combos. A group of about 12 guys settled on the best color pattern of a firetiger body with red belly. We called it Bleeding Tiger, and by the third year, the shelves were empty after the word got out how hot this lure was.” In the bass tournament game, pro angler David Fritts is a fine-tuning magician. “He wanted a balsa bait geared to hit specific depths. The “Dives-to” series was an instant success, and the company is still burning through them at retail. “We always listen to guys like David, because pro anglers are among the elite fine-tuners. A handful of walleye guys are fine-tuners, and they know action, vibration, flash, depth, size and tell us. They are very valuable,” he said. In the Rapala line-up, Fisher talked about the lures starting with the original floater. With the Husky Jerk and XRap, details came from the on-water team, and the product line was extended. He looks at the floater being at the head of the family tree with other lures following in succession. It would probably be safe to say that every walleye angler has at least one Shad Rap. Some have hundreds;

some more. “Customers like Shad Raps,” Fisher said. Over the years, the line grew to include jointed Shad Raps, Minnow Raps, Glass Shad Raps, Rattling Shad Raps, and the future may bring even more fish-catching models. “As each came

D e v e l o p m e n t

Outdoor Traditions - Edition 6 Issue 2  

Summer 2011 Outdoor Traditions Magazine • A Classic Weekend • Fishing Small Lakes • It’s Hip To Wade • Attracting Orioles • Rapala Lure Deve...

Outdoor Traditions - Edition 6 Issue 2  

Summer 2011 Outdoor Traditions Magazine • A Classic Weekend • Fishing Small Lakes • It’s Hip To Wade • Attracting Orioles • Rapala Lure Deve...