The man how come with the idea for Rapala lure is Lauri Rapala, he started making the Rapala lure in 1936. Lauri Rapala was born in 1905 and died in 1974, Lauri Rapala was born in Finland.
Lauri Rapala was born in 1905 November 27 and as the story is told, the birth was an accident. He was burn out of wedlock to Maria Eerikintytar. Lauri Rapala was born on an island in lake Paijanne, the largest lake in Central finland and part of the Sysma Parish, in the village of Rapala. Lauri never met his father, but story says his father name was Kalle Sten. Times where hard for them his mother did find work it usually was as a maid or domestic help, and that was how she was able to take care of them both.
Lauri Rapala was called up to military service on September 11th in 1925 and finished his military service on September 3rd of 1926. He served as an infantry soldier and was stationed in the army barracks at Kouvola some 37 miles east of Lahti. When his service was over, he returned to live with his mother on the tommola farm in Sarkijarvi.
When Lauri was living with his mother a young lady came to work on the farm by the name of Elma Leppanen. The young lady was about two years younger then Lauri, and love blossomed between them. On September 29th 1928 they where married on the farm of Mattila and then they moved to a home in nearby village of Riihilahti.
When Lauri and Elma moved to Leppanen all the work theu could find was farm work for Lauri and Elma did the same type of work as Lauri mother did and that was maid and domestic help work. In the winter Lauri worked in forestry, felling trees, trimming branch’s and cutting firewood. Life was hard for the both of them and their income so low that it was almost impossible to buy decent clothes for the winters of Finland. Any free time Lauri had he would go fishing and us that to help supplement the usual diet of potato soup and pork stew.
In 1929 they had a son named Reino and in 1932 they had another son Risto and in the year 1933 Lauri and Elma decided that the way of life to which they had become accustomed was not for them. Lauri and Elma worked for pitiful wages and they decided the best course of action would be to find work for themselves and live by their wits. Lauri had become a successful fisherman and he could also turn to farming and forestry work. Lauri wife also had skills, Elma could make brooms and brushes from plants such as Christmas tree decorations from pine cones, which Lauri could sell on his fish stall in the nearby Lahti market.
Lauri would do his commercial fishing and he would have to row 20 miles each day weather permitting. He would fish all day or even into the next day and if Lauri had a good fishing trip he would take the catch to the market in Lahti and he would also take fish home to he’s family. One time Lauri went fish and he’s wife’s two cousins went fishing with Lauri and they had brought some lures with them. This is where the idea came to mind about carving his own lures. Lauri had two friends he stayed with when he went on he’s fishing trips and he talked with them and they started to carving and whittling new shapes for lures from locally available materials, such as cork and pine bark, experimenting with various shapes in the quest for the perfect lure.
But it wasn’t until 1936 before Lauri Rapala had carved he’s first lure out of cork. The lure that produced an off center and enticing wobbling action. The story of Lauri’s hunt for the correct action is well documented. He studied the habits of pike in the clear waters of Lake Paijanne, and noted that they would take a slower or off balance bait fish in preference to apparently more healthy fish. The lures carved by hand by Lauri and his friends were unlikely to travel in a perfectly strait line anyway, as they were all slightly off centered and the person carving the lure would incorporate ideas into the basic pattern. Lauri Rapala first successful lure was made of cork and this was extremely buoyant. Its buoyancy necessitated the use of an oversized swimming lip to get the lure to dive. The lure was sealed with a varnish containing flecks of gold colored metal. A number of coats were applied in order to seal the cork and achieve a reflective gold finish. The lure was painted black along the top. The first Rapala lure had been born.