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Lacombe residents attempt to reel in world record for oversized fishing lure

The City of Lacombe, Alta. is hoping to add their name to the list of Alberta communities with 'world's largest' attractions with their large fishing lure.

The massive replica of the Len Thompson Five of Diamonds lure marks company's 90th anniversary

Thompson-Pallister Bait Company President Brad Pallister unveils their completed oversized fishing lure on May 24 in Lacombe. (Tricia Kindleman/CBC)

Residents of Lacombe, Alta. are hoping to catch the record for the world's largest fishing lure.

The 28-foot tall lure and its accompanying 14-foot tall hook are a replica of the classic Len Thompson Five of Diamonds design.

The fishing product is made in Lacombe by Thompson-Pallister Bait Company.

The oversized monument was built to celebrate the company's 90th year of business.

The company's president Brad Pallister says they have sold more than 55-million Five of Diamonds lures since the company launched in 1929. 
Brad Pallister (second from right) is joined by Alberta's Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon (left), Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins (second from left) and Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasy (right). (Tricia Kindleman/CBC)

Pallister's great-grandfather Len Thompson began selling his "fishing spoon" design as a part-time business in 1929 before opening up a factory in Abernathy, Sask. in 1945.

In 1959, the company relocated to Lacombe where they continue to operate as a family-run business.

At the unveiling on Friday, Pallister told the crowd the hook and lure were made in Lacombe after businesses in Red Deer and Calgary turned down the large-scale monument project.

"They were like 'Oh no, we can't do that' or 'It's going to be expensive.' So we just went to the local welding shop up the road and they said 'Oh yeah, we can do that. No problem.'"

But Comet Welding general manager Devon Hulsman said his team weren't initially convinced that they could do a project of this size. 

"We made the prototypes," Hulsman said. "From there, as we started getting more knowledgeable in building those, we decided that this was possible."

Devon Hulsman poses with his family in front of the massive fishing hook and lure in Lacombe.

The raw steel was brought into the shop where it stayed for about eight months as they worked to complete the monument.

Big things in Alberta

When the lure and hook are installed this summer, Lacombe will join a roster of Alberta communities with large monuments.

Drumheller boasts the world's largest dinosaur, Beaverlodge has a beaver monument and Glendon's well-known perogy are just some of the other oversized monuments found in the province. 

These types of projects don't come around often so when welder Ryan Riopel was asked to do the project, he jumped at the idea.
Ryan Riopel with Comet Welding was able to tap into his artistic side while working as the project lead on the hook and lure. (Tricia Kindleman/CBC)

"I tried to make it as an artist in Vancouver," Riopel said. "I wasn't making any money so I came back to Alberta to start welding. I found myself in Lacombe working at Comet, then this job came into the shop and I thought 'I'm going to build this.'"

The oversized statue inspired others in the city. Lacombe-based Blindman Brewery named their latest brew "Five of Diamonds Pilsner" in honour of the famous lure. 

The hook and lure will be installed June 1 at the Len Thompson Pond in Lacombe.

Pallister says they will be reaching out to the Guinness Book of World Records to verify their claim to fame. 

Lacombe is located approximately 120 km south of Edmonton.

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