So I was not surprised and more than a little pleased when I discovered a couple of years ago there were a small but growing cadre of Rapalamaniacs on the internet, who, thanks to the work of Steve "Rapala-Guru" Wight, now have their own chat board in cyberspace. The "Unofficial" Rapala Message Board has pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about the collectable Rapala. From how to fish the Rapala, to how to distinguish rare Rapalas from the common, to a trading forum and an ebay discussion board, this site is pretty much the end all of Rapala collecting.
Rapala collecting offers both unprecedented opportunity and incredible challenges. As perhaps the best-selling brand of lures of the second half of the twentieth century, there are lots of them out there. But many, many of these Rapalas (particularly the early ones) were fished nearly to death, so finding them in decent condition can be a problem. In addition, color collecting offers its challenges, as a cursory perusal of the forums shows an almost surreal number of color variants. Add to this rare models that didn't sell well, advertising lures, signed Rapalas, and other variations, and you can spend a lifetime collecting this lure.
The great bonus in collecting Rapalas is, in my opinion, that if you need to catch a fish, you can always pluck a lure out of your collection and outfish any other lure ever made. This is reason enough--if any is needed--to think of the Rapala with more respect.
For those interested in a detailed history of the Rapala, check out The Rapala Guide (Normark, 1976) and Rapala: Legendary Fishing Lures by John Mitchell (MBI, 2005).
-- Dr. Todd