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Would You Rent a Lure for $160 A Day?

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March 13, 2013

Would You Rent a Lure for $160 A Day?

By Joe Cermele

If someone told you they had a lure that was so revolutionary, so potent, and unlike anything fish had ever seen before, would you be willing to pony up a $160 security deposit to rent that lure for the day? Me neither. But according to this very interesting little story in the New York Times, that's exactly what anglers were willing to do to fish a Rapala Minnow in the early 1960s, long before these Finnish imports were readily available. That rental fee factors in inflation. The real deposit back then was $20, but after Life magazine called the Rapala "a lure fish can't pass up," fishermen apparently would do anything to get their hands on one.

Considering that you can pick up a Rapala Minnow at lakeside gas stations or in Wal-Marts from Kansas to Kazakhstan these days, it's almost hard to believe that a lure could cause such a ruckus in the angling world. By the sound of it, even the recent Alabama Rig craze isn't a flash in the pan compared to how the Rapala changed fishing. Even more interesting is the war it spawned between Rapala and Rebel.

According to the story, Arkansas native George Perrin saw that the balsa Rapalas weren't easy to get state-side, and it fueled him to develop something similar out of plastic, which wasn't very easy. But he made it happen, testing prototype after prototype in a neighbor's pool. I never knew that in terms of availability, Rebel beat Rapala to the punch by several years. By 1963, Rebel had already sold half a million lures. Rapala didn't even have it's U.S. factory completed yet. This short story is definitely worth a read.

And it begs the question: are you a Rebel Minnow or Rapala Minnow loyalist?

Comments (12)

Top Rated
All Comments
from mkorpal wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Rapala Minnows all the way but gotta give some love to the Rebel Crawfish as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

ehh, Not huge on either. When it comes to hardbaits I usually reach for the Strike Kings.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Have used the F5 and Rebel Craw with equal success but the obvious better quality construction and graphics would go towards Rapala.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The consistent quality of the Rapala brand has the edge over lures from Rebel in my opinion, likely why the cost of a Rapala is usually so much higher. The big "however" is that when you get a Rebel crankbait properly tuned, it can be a fish-catching machine. I've got Humpbacks, Super R's and Deep Wee R's that are ready to draw social security and are still catching fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Albert Walker wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I remember vividly remember "renting" a Fred Young Big-O during a trip to Santee Cooper/Lake Marion in the early 70's for $25 plus a $50 deposit. I did not go back for my deposit. later that year the tackleshop started keeping your drivers license to insure return of the lure. I luckily discovered another great crank made in this same time period that outfished the Fed Young Big-O five to one and only cost $3.85. The Charlie-O Carin-O made in Columbia , SC.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I'm a Rapala loyalist! They just work and work well anywhere I go.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ffsnuffy wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I wouldn't pay that to rent a lure. I could see paying to rent a rod and reel. However, I do enjoy my Rapala lures, and have caught many species of fish on them. Last year while fishing the Lehigh Canal system here in Pennsylvania, I snagged my Original Floatant in Perch Color on some brush. I actualy waded out in chest deep swampy water to get it. They are awesome lures, unfortunately like everything else in this economy the prices keep going up. Yes I'm thrifty, or as some may say cheap. Tight lines everyone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I personally fished with George Perrin, Cotton Cordell, and Jim Bagley. I liked George's old Rebel lures for speck fishing and caught quite a few other salt water fish on them. I just never cared for the Rebel lures for bass fishing though, I liked cotton's and Jim's alphabet lures better for bass.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bates Caster wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The Rapala J-11 and J-13 (black and silver) have afforded me the best bass fishing--I suspect I've caught well over 50% of my fish with these Rapalas. Running a close second is the Mepps #3 through #5 with the squirrel-tails.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

As a Rebel an until I found the Bomber. It is my favorite and GO TO LURE. I really like the tight wobble of the square bills. I have even caught muskie on a bomber salt water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Gendreau wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I am a live bait guy Leeches ,Minnows and Nightcrawlers in that order. I fish alot of walleye and fish them mostly with live bait and a lindy rig. Although this year with buying a new to me boat I am going to try more trolling. Using a line counter reel and lead core line. I use rapla's and knock off lures they all seem to work the same. Most lures are great at catching cash from your wallet and sometimes fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Richard McGowan wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

The magnum 14 in Green Mackerel is my number one choice, if I had only one lure to fish with, that would be it. Of course they got discontinued years ago and I had to buy some off of an auction sight, bidding against COLLECTORS! At one point I LOST three of these in FOUR casts, big barramundi, taking me right into the trees. the regular floaters are good too, but not nearly as tough as the magnums, and the two large hooks are preferable to the three smaller ones. I DO have several F5's here in brook trout that had faulty glue on the lips though which all fell out in short order, I NEVER heard back from Rapala on those........

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from mkorpal wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Rapala Minnows all the way but gotta give some love to the Rebel Crawfish as well.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The consistent quality of the Rapala brand has the edge over lures from Rebel in my opinion, likely why the cost of a Rapala is usually so much higher. The big "however" is that when you get a Rebel crankbait properly tuned, it can be a fish-catching machine. I've got Humpbacks, Super R's and Deep Wee R's that are ready to draw social security and are still catching fish.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from SD Bob wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I'm a Rapala loyalist! They just work and work well anywhere I go.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ncarl wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

ehh, Not huge on either. When it comes to hardbaits I usually reach for the Strike Kings.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

Have used the F5 and Rebel Craw with equal success but the obvious better quality construction and graphics would go towards Rapala.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from John Albert Walker wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I remember vividly remember "renting" a Fred Young Big-O during a trip to Santee Cooper/Lake Marion in the early 70's for $25 plus a $50 deposit. I did not go back for my deposit. later that year the tackleshop started keeping your drivers license to insure return of the lure. I luckily discovered another great crank made in this same time period that outfished the Fed Young Big-O five to one and only cost $3.85. The Charlie-O Carin-O made in Columbia , SC.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ffsnuffy wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I wouldn't pay that to rent a lure. I could see paying to rent a rod and reel. However, I do enjoy my Rapala lures, and have caught many species of fish on them. Last year while fishing the Lehigh Canal system here in Pennsylvania, I snagged my Original Floatant in Perch Color on some brush. I actualy waded out in chest deep swampy water to get it. They are awesome lures, unfortunately like everything else in this economy the prices keep going up. Yes I'm thrifty, or as some may say cheap. Tight lines everyone.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from santa wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I personally fished with George Perrin, Cotton Cordell, and Jim Bagley. I liked George's old Rebel lures for speck fishing and caught quite a few other salt water fish on them. I just never cared for the Rebel lures for bass fishing though, I liked cotton's and Jim's alphabet lures better for bass.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bates Caster wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

The Rapala J-11 and J-13 (black and silver) have afforded me the best bass fishing--I suspect I've caught well over 50% of my fish with these Rapalas. Running a close second is the Mepps #3 through #5 with the squirrel-tails.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

As a Rebel an until I found the Bomber. It is my favorite and GO TO LURE. I really like the tight wobble of the square bills. I have even caught muskie on a bomber salt water.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Chris Gendreau wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I am a live bait guy Leeches ,Minnows and Nightcrawlers in that order. I fish alot of walleye and fish them mostly with live bait and a lindy rig. Although this year with buying a new to me boat I am going to try more trolling. Using a line counter reel and lead core line. I use rapla's and knock off lures they all seem to work the same. Most lures are great at catching cash from your wallet and sometimes fish.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Richard McGowan wrote 1 year 4 weeks ago

The magnum 14 in Green Mackerel is my number one choice, if I had only one lure to fish with, that would be it. Of course they got discontinued years ago and I had to buy some off of an auction sight, bidding against COLLECTORS! At one point I LOST three of these in FOUR casts, big barramundi, taking me right into the trees. the regular floaters are good too, but not nearly as tough as the magnums, and the two large hooks are preferable to the three smaller ones. I DO have several F5's here in brook trout that had faulty glue on the lips though which all fell out in short order, I NEVER heard back from Rapala on those........

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment