Daredevil Lure For Trout:
Sale and manufacture of the world-famous Dardevles, Red Eyes, Sparkle tails, Evil Eyes, Rex Spoons, fishing lures for Buel Spinners.
Daredevil Fishing Lures
The maker of this popular bait hand stamped all models personally.
He spent quite a lot of time in coming up with the signature oval design which was flattened all around but thick in the middle.
Right from its beginning, the Daredevil lure for trout has had an exciting story.
Traditional fishermen used perishable baits.
Pieces of pork strapped on to fishing lines, to be exact, this was the height of tradesman ship at the time.
The stripes of bacon were able to get the job done but with limited efficiency.
But Lou J. Eppinger saw opportunity where everyone saw limitations. So he took it upon himself to redefine the industry.
Over the years he continued hammering out products till he got the right one.
At a time when all effort was being poured into sustenance.
Eppinger devoted his attention towards innovation and set a trend that industries till date follow, innovation over mediocrity.
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The story thus far:
Before the Daredevil lure for trout changed the game, there were many other variants that tried to make a difference but failed. There were a number of critics that called out its makers for not sticking to the conventional wisdom and trying their hands at new things. But proving everyone wrong, the red and white metal baits greatly increased the number of catches that each fisherman made. They could be cast longer, remained stable for a longer period of time and did not splash around as much as traditional ones. Also, they lasted longer and the colorful pattern made it an instant favorite amongst the fishermen.
The trademark red and white design:
At the beginning of his career, he worked just as an apprentice. But after inheriting the shop (after the death of its owner), he converted the taxidermy company to accommodate for selling a small portion of fish baits.
Early fishing rods had no equipment to assist them, thus they had a slow retrieve ratio. Being confronted with this issue (though it was not his job exactly), he started experimenting with metals and how he could put it into an application.
And finally, after several tries, he came across the right one. He had named the first ‘Daredevil’ as Osprey, the finest fisherman he knew. Osprey, according to Eppinger, was the best fisherman of all times.
But in honour of the 4th brigade of Marine Corps that fought valiantly in the Battle of Belleau Woods, he renamed the products as Daredevil. It all started in the First World War, in 1918 when in fear of the US forces the Germany army started calling them ‘devil dogs’. The 4th brigade won accolades and Eppinger, his product name.
There is actually a quite interesting story about its color and how it came to be. Initially, the images came to be printed in black and white which prompted many to think that they were actually an even darker shade of red. There used to be countless bets lost in bars and pubs on its colors. When the company expanded its operations, it increased its range of products to include a number of combinations. Like green, grey and of course, the trademark red and white. The white in the middle was used to represent a pork stripe.
At the time of the great depression, when metal was in shortage for everyday purposes. The makers of the legendary ‘Daredevil’ decided to switch over to other options for making good on its production estimates.
Some of them went on to be a success story while others did not turn out to be so well. There were also experiments with the wooden version of this lure but that did not turn to do so well in domestic markets.
One of the most important needs of bait is that it needs to trail long. The wooden ones, being lighter in weight, could not travel very far when thrown and landed nearby the vessels.
The presence of a large ship scared the fishes and no one was able to catch enough. Though the new and improved bait increased the number of trouts caught it greatly aroused the fury of the more conventional sect of the population, one that was strict about adhering to traditional beliefs. The company had to let go of its ‘Daredevil’ tag name.
Including the name of Satan in a consumer product created a backlash for the image of the company. And on top of that, they had an advertised image of a ‘devil’, complete with horns on its products. To overcome this hurdle, they changed their product name to ‘Daredevle’.
It still retained all the original characteristics that set it apart but in a new avatar. The religious communities welcomed the change and it regained the lost ground it had conceded to its rivals. Thus, a game-changing product was back from the brink to be on top of its market again.
Copycats and imitations:
The founder had started the company with an eye on global domination.
There were quite a few hindrances along the way through. The huge success of the red and white Daredevil meant that it was bound to attract copies.
By an estimate, there were approximately 300 to 315 number of copies of the original at that time in the market. For segregating the original product from others, the makers decided to mark the baits with an image of the devil.
Later on, other legal measures were taken to ensure that the copycats cease and desist their operations.
The company continues to make huge profits today and is en route to fulfill the dream of its maker which was to have a Daredevil bait in every fisherman’s box.
There are vintage stores located in its native town of east Detroit that still keep a few of the original designs as souvenirs.
The original Daredevil lure for trout is not used for fishing but kept as mementoes by a retired fisherman who associates a sentimental value to them.