Lazy Ike Corporation
Lazy Ike Corporation
Lazy Ikes Successor to the Live Minnow. Lazy Ikes have been a staple in fishermen's tackleboxes for over eighty years. Since their start at Kautzky's Sporting Goods in Fort Dodge, Iowa through Lazy Ike Corporation and the sale to PRADCO, Lazy Ikes just continue to produce. Simple in design but deadly on the end of a line, the Lazy Ike just endures. Today they are collected and beloved just as much as they are fished.
Lazy Ike History | Size Chart | Lazy Ike Lures & Codes | Colors of Lazy Ike / Color Chart | Catalogs | FAQ
Lazy Ike History
The Lazy Ike Corporation began in 1897 founded by Joseph Kautzky, an Austrian immigrant. The Kautzky Manufacturing Company, as it was originally named, started in the gunsmith business and over the years expanded into other lines of sporting goods. Somewhere around the mid 1930's there was a fisherman in the Fort Dodge Iowa area named Newel Daniels that was hand carving what was to become the ike. Apparently Joseph Kautzky Jr. saw Daniels fishing the lure near the dam on the Des Moines River and remarked "look at that lazy ike." From there a legend was born.
From 1938 to 1940 the entire production was hand made by Daniels. When Daniels left the company in 1940 he turned over the rights to Kautzky. Production then shifted to "Pop" Shuck who hand made them until around 1945 when lathe production began. (Note there are some conflicting variations of the stories of these early years but it still ends with lathe production somewhere around 1945.) Once lathe production began sales really began to boom. From 60,000 Lazy Ikes in 1947 to over 900,000 Ikes in 1953! Wood production ceased around 1960 when the plastic version was made.
The Kautzky family sold the Kautzky Lazy Ike business in 1961 to a group of businessmen who organized into the Lazy Ike Corporation. The company was later sold to Dura-Pak / Great American Tackle Company out of Sioux City, Iowa before the eventual acquisition by PRADCO.
Kautzky produced many baits, the most famous being the Lazy Ike. The Lazy Ike and the other Kautzky lures are not generally considered to be highly collectible. However as the more famous lures are becoming a bit more scarce, the Lazy Ike Corporation and several other companies are starting to draw some attention.
For me, it's not about value with these lures. I have fond memories of fishing the Lazy Ikes and in particular the Flex Ikes for Northern and Bass as a kid. This is the lure that got me started in lure collecting and I still collect and fish with these lures today. The Lazy Ike Corporation actually played a fairly significant role in the history of fishing tackle. For one, the Lazy Ike is probably one of the most widely fished lures in the world. Lazy Ike's storied history included purchasing the Creek Chub Bait Company in 1978. Lazy Ike is now owned by Pradco. They have chosen not to even make them anymore. All the more reason to fish with the vintage ones!
Famous Red and White Lazy Ike
Important Dates in Lazy Ike & Kautzky Sporting Goods History
- 1897 - Joseph Kautzky starts a small gun shop in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This was the beginning of what would later become Kautzky Sporting Goods.
- 1912 - Joseph Kautzky decides to expand store to sell Sporting Goods as well.2
- 1919 - Kautzky Sporting Goods moves to 522 Central Ave., Fort Dodge, Iowa.2
- 1938 - The believed date when Joseph Kautzky Jr. first saw that "lazy ike" on the Des Moines River being fished by Newell Daniels.
- 1940 - Newell Daniels leaves the Kautzky Company and turns over the rights.
- 1945 - Approximate date of the beginning of lathe production
- 1945 - A second building was purchased at 510 Central Ave. near the main store. Boats, motors, engines, marines supplies, etc. are sold and serviced there.2
- 1947 - 60,000 Lazy Ikes produced1
- 1948 - 75,000 Lazy Ikes produced2
- 1949 - 600,000 Lazy Ikes produced2
- 1953 - 900,000 Lazy Ikes produced2
- 1954 - 11 "cutting machines" / lathes, 60 workers in lure production and another 15 in the sporting good store2
- 1956 - On December 8th a fire completely destroyed Kautzky Sporting Goods. To this day charred Lazy Ikes that remain are collected and displayed as "Fire Ikes".
- 1957 - November 18th-23rd was the Grand Opening of the New Kautzky Sporting Goods at 510 Central Ave in Fort Dodge, Iowa. The new store is over 7,500 square feet far surpassing the 2,820 square feet of the previous store. After sixty years, Kautzky Sporting Goods remains in a fixture in town.
- 1961 - August 28th - announced sale of the Kautzky Lazy Ike Corp. to the newly-organized West Des Moines firm known as Lazy Ike Corp. Company will continue operations without change in operations at Fort Dodge.
- 1962 - Lazy Ike was awarded one of "Fishing's Deadly Dozen" by Popular Mechanics magazine.
- 1978 - Lazy Ike Corporation purchases Creek Chub Bait Company out of Garrett, Indiana.
- 1979 - September 11th - Lazy Ike Corp files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.3 They will continue to operate under the terms of the bankruptcy agreement until being acquired by Dura-Pak.
- 1981 - September 30th - Announcement that Dura-Pak Corporation out of South Sioux City, Nebraska has acquired Lazy Ike Corporation and will now become the producer of the famous Lazy Ike fishing lures.4
1: 1954, December 7th: Des Moines Register
2: 1954, June 6th: Des Moines Register
3: 1979, September 11th: Des Moines Register
4: 1981, October 1st: Des Moines Register
Sizes of Lazy Ike Lures / Lazy Ike Size Chart
Lazy Ike Catalogs
Below are the codes you see above in the chart. If you can help add to the chart please let me know.
* Denotes catalogs in my collection. If you can help add ones I do not have please let me know.
† Denotes could use a better physical copy for my collection.
‡ Denotes could use a better online cover copy for this page.