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Minnow Basics: Relics that Produce

Like many businesses, the lure industry seems to progress at an accelerated rate each year. Every season, more new baits are introduced compared to the previous season. Just last year, Pure Fishing introduced about 1,000 new or modified baits. And that was just one lure company.

Through the decades of change, however, a few baits have maintained popularity and remained constant, with little change to form or function. Examples include the Heddon Zara Spook, Norman DD22, Rat-L-Trap and Rebel Pop-R.

But before all those baits, there were minnow-imitating hard baits— also known as minnow baits or stickbaits.

Minnow baits are responsible for starting two of the world's largest lure companies, Rapala and PRADCO.

"Rapala was founded by Lauri Rapala of Vaasky, Finland, on a hand-carved, pine-bark Original Floating in 1936 — crude but equivalent to a No. 11," said Mark Fisher of Rapala. "Then it quickly evolved into balsa wood construction.

The Original Floating Rapala was followed by the Countdown Minnow in 1965 and the Jointed Floating Minnow in 1974."

"The Rebel Minnow, introduced in 1961, was the original Rebel Lure and, in fact, launched the Plastics Research and Development Corporation (PRADCO) into the fishing lure business," said Jeff Samsel of PRADCO. "Founder George Perrin was a big fisherman and wanted a minnow bait that offered a particular action. The first Rebel Minnow was the F10, which is the 3 1/2-inch version, and early prototypes were first tested in the pool at Mountain Harbor Resort on Lake Ouachita. The Rebel Minnow was an immediate hit, and Rebel was off and running, soon to expand size offerings and then to move to other shapes."

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