Salmo lures is one of true success stories in the fishing business. Owners Peter Piskorski and Rado Zaworski both attended the same college in Poland and graduated with degrees in fisheries biology over 15 years ago. This was also a very difficult time for Poland as it was about to break free from the former Soviet Union and become an independent country again. Under Soviet rule they were paid $25.00 per month and with both Peter and Rado now married and with children, they began to sell hand carved lures to their friends to make a little extra money on the side. When the Iron Curtain fell, both were out of jobs and they decided to find a way to take their love of fishing to a new level.
Rado is a true "MacGyver" in every sense of the word. He began a quest to find a material superior to the balsa wood they were currently using with their hand carved minnow imitations. Using a plastic injection molding process is inexpensive for sure, but they found there was almost no way to insure the consistency from one lure to the next.
Rado Working on a Lure Body Design
Rado discovered a new process of producing lures using a high density space-age foam material. He knew this would be a challenge since he had to create his own blend of chemicals to produce a foam that delivered both consistency to every lure, and superior durability. Ironically, many lure companies in the United States also discovered the same technology, but the foam body design had a major flaw, it was very difficult to paint. Lure companies in the United States could not justify the time it took to paint these foam body baits. To the American consumer at the time, spending more than $3.99 for a lure was crazy. Back in the Salmo test laboratory in Poland (Rado's Apartment) the two lure pioneers felt the extra time needed in the painting process was worth the effort, because the end result was a far superior lure body material for both durability and performance.
One of the outstanding features of all Salmo lures is the quality of the finish. This is where lure designer and artist Peter Piskorski put his skills to work in designing a type of finish to the lures that break with traditional painting methods. Salmo quickly became known world-wide for their quality of finish and high standards of consistency in every lure they produce.
Peter Designing a New Lure
In a recent story published in the North American Fisherman magazine, an experience professional angler makes it a point to test run all his lures and specifically marks the lures that run best. The story goes on to say he would expect to test several lures of the same color and style to find one keeper lure to fish in competition. We have found that many professional anglers have similar procedures in place to find that one special lure that seem to be magic, while five others that look exactly the same are worthless.
With a Salmo, every lure is designed to be exactly the same as the next, so you never need to sort through a box of baits to find one that actually works. Guides and professional anglers have proven Salmo's consistency in lure making time and time again. One professional guide, Jason Mitchell of Devils Lake North Dakota has been using Salmo for three years. He fishes about 200 days a year with Salmo and has never found a bad lure, but more importantly he has had some lures take as many as 250 fish and are still catching!
I've gone as long as two weeks without even touching the lures I have on my rods, stated Mitchell. I am simply amazed by the durability of these lures and how consistent they are. If white with a red bill is hot, and I lose it in the trees, the very next lure out of the box that is white with a red bill catches just as many as the one I lost. In the old days when I lost my favorite Rap, it might take three or four days to find another lure that runs the same or seems to produce the same, with a Salmo, the concept of one lure being twice as effective for some magic reason is 100% gone. I know this is something many experience crankbait fisherman will find unbelievable but that is only because they have never ran a Salmo. I sure don't know how they do what they do, but it is truly amazing to experience.
Being semi-isolated from the fads and gimmicks of the American sport fishing industry, Peter and Rado developed an exacting process that insured every lure be exactly the same as the next, after all, why wouldn't you want this level of consistent performance?
Salmo Hand Painting Process
Nearly every crankbait bait company in the world is running to China for production of their lures and some try to keep it their costs low. These very large lure companies are not interested in quality or consistency, just low prices. The Salmo founders hate almost everything about China manufacturing and how it has changed the way fishermen around the world look at the lure business. The days of hand-crafted lures is coming to an end in favor of mass production. Salmo will always fight to be the exception to this trend. China has already tried and failed to duplicate the secret Salmo foam body receipt and their painting process. China knows there is a market for Salmo knock-offs that sell for cheap. While the lures try to resemble a Salmo lure when it is in the box, the Salmo copycats have failed miserably on the water.
Rado is quick to point out that the process for making a Salmo lure took many attempts to get the right performance in the field. The use of a foam body is not new of course, we knew the technology was being explored by many companies, the advantage we had working out of my apartment is that I would build a test lure then Peter would fish each batch of foam I created. Some blends were very buoyant, and not durable, others were like a solid chunk of plastic and had almost no buoyancy. It seems like thousands, but maybe it was only hundreds of variations were developed and tested. It was almost six months later before we finally felt we had a blend that would offer the best of everything. Next, we had to design a manufacturing process to make the special mixture over and over again. It was an entirely new set of challenges to develop a painting process that would be as amazing as the internal design of the lures. Peter would actually hand draw the scales on every lure and have special decals created that would be applied to each lure by hand to give the lures our now classic Salmo look.
Salmo Worker Airbrushing Lures
From the time they start a lure in production until it is in the package is three months! This was a very hard thing for Salmo-USA to comprehend at first. During the summer of 2006 they began the first Salmo rationing in the history of the company. When Salmo- USA became a Distributor for Salmo in 2002, they really did not understand the time and effort put into every Salmo lure. They felt Salmo was just like a Bomber or Rapala, if you want more, just turn on the machine and make more. With Salmo, you simply can't rush the process, and will not change the way the lures are made, so a nation-wide shortage of Salmo Hornets took place and boy I understand a lot of people were mad about that.
The Salmo Hornet shortage of 2006 was an eye opening experience for us at Salmo-USA, stated Marcy Zenanko, director of operations. It was a very strange call when we asked for an additional 30,000 Hornets to cover a sudden burst in orders and they simply said that will be three or four months before delivery. Salmo simply will not change anything they do just to get orders. This is good I guess, but it was surprising to me they don't have a large warehouse full of lures sitting in Poland just waiting to be shipped. Salmo Poland is a custom order production facility, each lure is hand-crafted and tank tested before it leaves the factory and they will not change their way of building lures for anybody. You can see why Salmo is so widely respected in Europe and is the #2 selling lure in Europe right behind Rapala.
Final Lure Testing
Now in 39 countries around the world, Salmo is one of the fastest growing lure companies in the world. In the United States alone, sales increases of 130% per year for the last two years have out-paced orders, and it seems the growth of Salmo in the United States will be limited only by the amount of lures Salmo Poland can make.
It is clear the lifetime performance guarantee on fishing lures is a big hit with anglers in the USA. This is the first time in the history of fishing that a company stands behind a lure with a lifetime guarantee. The great thing about this guarantee is that it is very simple and there is no fine copy in it. If for any reason your Salmo lure fails to run true or breaks, except for the hooks of course, send it back to Salmo-USA and we will get you a free replacement. No secret charges, no $10.00 fees for postage and handling. All you need to do is send the lure to Salmo-USA and they will replace it, no questions asked, for as long as you own the lure.
When you design and build lures to the highest standards in the fishing industry, it is only logical to back it with the best warranty in the world. Salmo is earning its reputation on the water every day and it is true, anglers really do INSIST ON SALMO.