Pleasing design pops up when you least expect it. In this case I found it in a bait and tackle shop in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
We just got back from our summer vacation, which was 3 days in a rented log cabin situated on 80 acres of campground surrounded by 3 lakes on an island. Our oldest son Ivan is 4 years old, and this was going to be our first time out doing the whole roast hotdogs on a stick over the campfire thing, and I had this fantasy in my mind that we would go fishing together and that I would get to see him catch his first fish and we would have this wonderfull Norman Rockwell moment together. This trip was the reason that I rushed the lacquer job on my ukulele project a bit, I really wanted to be able to sit around the campfire and strum the uke, while telling lies about the one that got away.
Iv’e never been too much into bloodsport, and we didn’t own any fishing gear, so in preparing for the trip, I bought a couple of cheap Zebco spin-cast packages that came complete with a little assortment of tackle. I figued as long as we had bobbers and hooks we would be all set, so I didnt buy any extra stuff. All you do is put a worm on a hook and reel ‘em in right? If worms don’t do the trick, then you just switch over to my father’s old tried and true bait, Velveeta cheese. Yep, we’d be pulling them in all morning, in fact, I was sort of thinking about how to handle it when we had 2 fish on at the same time.
Well, not so much as a nibble.
The next day when we ventured into to town, I ducked into a tackle shop and stood in front the wall of lures, plastic worms, jigs, rigs, spinners, bobbers, etc. I was kind of hoping to find some miracle fish pheramone bait or something to try. That’s when I spotted the Rapala.
The Rapala Original Foating Minnow immediately stood out from the rest of the products on that rack on a number of fronts. The design is sleek and minimal, with a form follows funtion aesthetic that would make Mies Van Der Rohe proud. Sure, it’s highly stylized fish, it doesn’t have any fins because it doesn’t need them. Yet, it still manages to look very much like an actual taxadermed fish, with its hand-sprayed airbrush paint job and big yellow eye with black pupil. When you look at this thing you feel like you are sitting in a Tiki bar drinking out of a coconut shell and looking up at the stuffed swordfish trophy on the wall. It’s just an appealing object.
When I noticed that the Rapala Floating Minnow was made in Finland, that sealed the deal. It turns out that the lure was designed in the 1930′s and although Rapala has added other products to their line over time, the original minnow has remained unchanged. I’m thinking of getting some more Rapalas just to display in Riker mounts.
Oh, yeah and they are great for fishing too. Ivan caught a largemouth bass 5 feet from the dock, and I got my Norman Rockwell scene.