Alberta family reels in record for world's largest fishing lure

The 28-foot long fishing lure — complete with a 14-foot long hook — towers over the banks of Len Thompson Pond in Lacombe, Alta., a few kilometres from the factory where its much, much smaller counterparts are manufactured. 

Fourth-generation bait company hopes spoon will lure travelling anglers

The 28-foot long fishing lure was erected in Lacombe, Alta., last June. (Thompson-Pallister Bait Company/Facebook)

You could call it a big catch. 

A central Alberta family with a passion for angling has reeled in a record for the world's largest fishing lure. 

The 28-foot long lure — complete with a 14-foot long treble hook — towers over the banks of Len Thompson Pond in Lacombe, Alta., a few kilometres from the factory where its much, much smaller counterparts are manufactured. 

The monument, installed at the stocked trout pond last year, is now Guinness World Record certified, dwarfing the previous record holder.

"There is one in Texas that was 15 and a half feet long," said Brad Pallister, president of the Thompson-Pallister Bait Company. 

"And we thought, if we're going to beat that, we might as well beat it good."

Thompson-Pallister Bait Company president Brad Pallister unveils the lure during an anniversary celebration last spring. (Tricia Kindleman/CBC)

The statue was commissioned by the company last year and is an exact replica of their Yellow & Red Five of Diamonds spoon. 

The company's most popular pattern has found its place at the end of at least 55 million fishing lines since the business began.

The outsized lure was installed last June to celebrate the company's 90th anniversary. 

The company dates back to 1929. Len Thompson, Pallister's great-grandfather, spent years perfecting a "fishing spoon" design that would better attract game fish. 

Thompson, a farmer, made and sold spoons as a side business before opening up a factory in Abernathy, Sask., in 1945.

In 1958, the company relocated to Lacombe where they continue to operate as a family-run business, crafting more than 500,000 spoons each year.

Pallister said the lure was inspired by Alberta's bizarre collection of large monuments, including Mundare's oversized sausage and Vegreville's giant Easter egg. 

"We wanted to do something that was commemorative, not only to the business but something for the community," Pallister said in an interview Thursday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

"One of our employees made a suggestion that maybe we should do the world's largest lure because he's from the largest sausage and egg part of the world. 

"We thought, 'Wow, yeah, that sounds like a great idea. Let's let's see what we can do.'"

The company started drafting prototypes, eventually commissioning Devon Hulsman with Comet Welding to complete the project. 

Getting the work into the lure into the record books was no easy task, said Jessica Pallister Dew, a fellow fourth-generation owner of the bait company. 

"The evidence requirements are lengthy," she said. "You have to provide a lot of video and professional affidavits and that kind of thing. 

"It definitely felt like a big accomplishment once that certification came through," she said. 

And while some naysayers in their own family suggested the statue might be ill-received, residents and visitors alike seem to have taken the bait.

"We've had such positive reviews and I think the story coming out, with all that's going in the world, is just a nice, positive news story that people can enjoy." 

For his part, Pallister hopes the statue will be a welcome addition to Lacombe's tourist tackle box and help lure anglers to the community's most coveted fishing spots. 

"Lacombe, it's a great community," he said. "Hopefully it's just one more thing that attracts visitors to our great little city."


Wallis Snowdon is a journalist with CBC Edmonton focused on bringing stories to the website and the airwaves. Originally from New Brunswick, Wallis has reported in communities across Canada, from Halifax to Fort McMurray. She previously worked as a digital and current affairs producer with CBC Radio in Edmonton. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca.