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Which lures catch the most record fish?

The Lure Love Podcast has crunched the numbers kept by the International Game Fish Association.

walleye caught on a jig
The Lure Love Podcast has crunched the numbers in its database and determined that jigs, by far, have caught the most record fish of any lure type among the nearly 20,000 records it has on file. The most popular lure brand for record fish is Rapala.
Clint Austin / 2010 file / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — The database of the International Game Fish Association has been scoured to find out which lure types and which lure brands have caught the most world-record fish, and the results probably won’t surprise many Northland anglers.

The folks at the Lure Love Podcast looked at 19,600 records for 1,649 species of fresh and saltwater fish, including 6,714 current record holders and 12,946 retired records, fish that once held the record but have since been beaten.

The fish species include everything from Acara Paragaio, to Zander Volga. There are 37 types of bass alone, including largemouth, smallmouth, guadalupe, striped, spotted and white, among others.

The results were released Tuesday.

Men caught 71%, of the record fish with women catching 29%. The records include the largest overall fish of each species and also line-class records for the size fishing line used.

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International Game Fish Association

The International Game Fish Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1939 and “committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices, through science, education, rulemaking, record keeping and recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of angling.”

The association maintains the world records for all species of game fish. You can search all records at igfa.org, where you can also download the application to submit a potential record, learn about scale certification and pretest your fishing line. You can catch the Lure Love Podcast at lurelovepodcast.com.

Many anglers hold more than one record, and 208 people hold 10 or more records each. The most records held is 433, by Martin Arostegui. His records include 85 fish species, from bluegill, to barracuda, to carp, to tuna.

Not all anglers submitted complete data with their record fish applications, so the lure type or brand isn’t known for all record fish. There were 2,877 different lure entries. Some anglers provided more detail than others regarding the lure they used to catch a record fish. Some entries just use the word "lure," without any other identification. Others provided minimal detail, such as the word "jig," without sharing the type, brand, size or color.

Rapala lures
The International Game Fish Association has searched its database and found that Rapala lures have caught more record fish than any other brand of fishing lure, although not all anglers submitted the lure brand with their record application.
Contributed / Rapala

And the winners are: Jigs have by far caught the most record fish — more than five times more records than the No. 2 lure, spoons. And Rapala lures have by far caught the most record fish, nearly five times the next-closest competitor.

Jigs are the most commonly used lures to catch walleyes — the most popular game fish in Minnesota — often in conjunction with live bait or plastic bait imitators.

Rapala has strong Minnesota ties. The Finnish company's U.S. headquarters are based here and the one-time handmade lures were first imported to the U.S., and first distributed worldwide, by Duluth native Ron Weber starting in the 1950s.

What lures catch the most record fish?

Most common lure types that have caught world-record fish

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Lure type
# record fish
Jig
1,105
Spoon
211
Plastic worm / grub
195
Plug
177
Spinner
110
Swimbait
93
Popper
67
Spinnerbait
57
Crankbait
31
Jerkbait
13

Most common lure brands that have caught world-record fish*

Lure Brand
# record fish
Rapala
489
Mepps
99
Yo-Zuri
90
Halco
60
Storm
60
Homemade lures!
59
Bomber
50
Mr. Twister / Sassy Shad
50
Rooster Tail
39
Rebel
38
Blue Fox
34
Berkley
32
Krocodile
27
MirrOlure
26
DareDevle / Eppinger
24
Cordell
18
Panther Martin
17
Bass Assassin
16
Rat-L-Trap
13
Road Runner
13
Zara Spook / Heddon
12
Little Cleo
11
Woodchopper (Luhr Jensen)
11
Bass Pro
10
Norwegian Jigger
10
Smithwick
9
Yamamoto
9
Bandit
8
Jitterbug (Arbogast)
8
Beetle Spin (Johnson)
7
Hopkins Spoon
7
Johnson Spoon
7
GitZit
6
Reef Runner
6
Z-Man
6

*Not all anglers submitted the type of lure they used to catch a record fish.

Source: The Lure Love Podcast

This story was updated at 7:45 a.m. March 27 to add the correct source of data analysis as the Lure Love Podcast. It was originally published March 26.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at jmyers@duluthnews.com.
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