The art of lure design

While you are reading this, I’ll be with the Rapala team developing new products. That means most of my activities will be a combination of work and fun. It’s work because we take product development seriously. It’s fun because I get to try out new things to make sure they catch fish and that they work properly before you spend your money on them.

We’re working on new colors, new jig designs and new hook designs, as well as hook placement. I can’t go into the specifics at this point — we want to keep everything a secret until they’re released — but I can tell you they’re really neat.

Our new color combinations will be especially creative. A lot of effort and money goes into them, too. Designing bait colors is complicated. It’s not as simple as making something that looks pretty or something that looks like the real thing to us humans. They have to catch fish.

There are a thousand examples of what I’m talking about out there. In a previous series of blogs, I talked about using a frog on Oneida. That was a good choice. And it’s been a good choice for a lot of other anglers around the country this year — especially all black and all white ones.

Now, maybe you’ve seen something I haven’t but in my experience there aren’t very many albino frogs around, and there are even fewer black ones. That means that the fish are seeing something different than we humans are seeing, or at the least they’re interpreting what they see differently. (This is true even if you think a fish thinks a frog is a surface feeding baitfish.)

The same thing applies to crankbaits, jigs and other baits. It takes hours and hours of testing to become comfortable with telling the angling public that one particular color will work. Both the Rapala team and I are careful about what we market. We’re not going to try to sell you something just so we can get your money. We want — demand — that it works in the real-world on Saturday morning.

I’m confident, though, that when we’re done you’ll be satisfied with our new combinations. We hope to have them out soon, definitely in time for next year’s catch.

While we’re doing all that, we’re also working on our line of jigs. We want new designs that are somewhat species- and condition-specific and that make hook setting easier. Note that I said easier, not easy. I don’t want to mislead anybody. Nothing will ever be easy with this sport. There are just too many variables. If you doubt that, read my blog from last week.

Once I finish up with Rapala, I’ll start thinking about filming the pilot for my new TV show. The details are sketchy at this point but I think you’ll find it interesting. City Limits has been successful and widely viewed. We hope to do even better this time.

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