Here is everything you need to know about the vaunted Rapala fishing company.
Rapala is often considered the first name in fishing lures. In fact, the Rapala legend has come to be known not only for its effective and innovative fishing lures, but for its many other products as well.
When Lauri Rapala started by hand making his first lure from cork way back in 1936, the local fishing community took notice. Once they made it across the pond to North America, things really started to pick up, and the rest is history.
If there is a fisherman out there who hasn't heard of the Rapala brand, they've got a lot to learn.
Let's look at how it all began, what they've come up with over the years, and how well their gear helps you catch fish. It's said that Rapala lures have caught more world record fish than any other brand, and that sort of legacy is what this company has achieved.
The Rapala Story
As Rapala says, "It all began with a hungry Finnish guy and a carving knife." Lauri Rapala actually did use a shoemaker's knife, some sandpaper, and a chunk of cork to create the first lure to perfectly imitate a wounded minnow. It must have been some kind of eye-opening moment for him when the first big fish attacked his new creation.
As it says in the video, "Tinfoil from chocolate bars formed the lure's outer surface. Melted photographic negatives the protective coating." That sure is a long way from today's lure manufacturing. But as the saying goes, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
The lures gained popularity in Scandinavia, and slowly spread from there. What truly put Rapala on the map was an extensive story in Life Magazine. It happened to be the same Life issue that covered the death of Marilyn Monroe, meaning it was heavily read and led to even more business.
Rapala himself set the lure-creation standard by hand tuning and hand testing each one before deeming it ready for mass production. Today, Rapala manufactures roughly 20 million lures each year, with much of the same principles established by Lauri, and they are sold in over 140 countries around the world. Rapala's American subsidiary does business as Rapala USA out of Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The Rapala Collection
Once you see the incredible performance and action of a Rapala fishing lure for yourself, things become pretty clear. The original floating minnow lures (one of the first stickbaits ever) often represented the first time an angler was introduced to Rapala, and to say it was a good first impression is an understatement.
Rapala makes jerkbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, stickbaits, blade baits, and other hard baits; so many that it's hard to remember them all. In my humble opinion, one of their best all time baits is the amazing Rapala jointed minnow.
The company also makes items in multiple fishing tackle categories including knives, pliers, clippers, scales, tackle and rod storage, apparel, and many other accessories. The VMC Corporation also makes hooks, jigs, spoons, terminal tackle, ice fishing gear, rain gear, and cold weather gear.
Along with VMC, Rapala's family of brands includes Sufix, Storm, Blue Fox, Luhr Jensen, Williamson, Dynamite Baits, Mora Ice, StrikeMaster, Marttiini and Peltonen.
Each of these brings their own unique brands of gear to anglers worldwide with factories in Helsinki Finland, France, Ireland, Estonia, and China.
Rapala as a Definitive Fishing Brand
As a fishing gear manufacturer and distribution network, Rapala is arguably unmatched in their ability to reach and influence nearly every fisherman on the planet. New products continue to show up each fishing season to the delight of fishing enthusiasts, and the supply chain never seems to end.
With retailers everywhere continuing to keep their shelves full of Rapala products, it's only a matter of time before another saltwater or freshwater fisherman lands another record fish. From a block of wood to the first cast that you make with one, Rapala lures and gear are some of the most trusted fishing tackle products made and millions of fishermen the world over would agree.