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

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 Lazy Ike
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

Sources:

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

 

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Sizes of Lazy Ike Lures
Sizes of Lazy Ike Lures / Lazy Ike Size Chart


Lazy Ike Catalogs (Click on photo for larger version)

Lazy Ike Catalogs

YEAR DESCRIPTION PHOTO
1956

1956 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

6 pages / foldout

LAZY IKE 1956 CATALOG COVER
1957
1958
1959

1959 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

2 pages / flyer style

2 Pages Chug Ike stamped NEW in red

LAZY IKE 1959 CATALOG COVER
1960
1961
1962

1962 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

2 pages / foldout

(Last Kautzky Lazy Ike Catalog)

LAZY IKE 1962 CATALOG COVER
1962

1962 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

6 pages / foldout

(First Lazy Ike Corporation Catalog)

LAZY IKE 1962 CATALOG COVER
1963

1963 LAZY IKE CATALOG*†

8 pages / oversize Catalog 863

1964
1965
1966
1967

1967 LAZY IKE CATALOG*†

8 pages / full size

Catalog 867

 

LAZY IKE 1967 CATALOG COVER
1968

1968 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

8 pages / full size

Catalog 868 (v1)

This catalog has the same catalog number 868 as the next one (usually the last 2 numbers are the year). It's postmarked 05/08/1969 and the prices are lower than the next one.

 

1968-1969

1968-1969 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

8 pages / full size

Catalog 868 (v2)

This catalog has the same catalog number 868 as the previous one (usually the last 2 numbers are the year). It's postmarked 12/01/1969 and the prices are higher than the previous one.

LAZY IKE CATALOG 1969 COVER
1969
1970

1970 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

8 pages / full size

Catalog 870

LAZY IKE 1970 CATALOG COVER
1971
1972

1972 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

8 pages / full size

Catalog 872

LAZY IKE 1972 CATALOG COVER
1973

1973 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

8 pages / full size

Catalog 873

LAZY IKE 1973 CATALOG COVER
1974
1975

1975 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

12 pages / full size

Catalog 875

LAZY IKE 1975 CATALOG COVER
1976

1976 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

12 pages / full size

Catalog 876

LAZY IKE 1976 CATALOG COVER
1977

1977 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

12 pages / full size

Catalog 877

LAZY IKE 1977 CATALOG COVER
1978

1978 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

14 pages / full size

Also had a full size color folder that would sometimes come with it and a lot of one page inserts to accompany catalog.

LAZY IKE 1978 CATALOG COVER
1979
1980

1980 LAZY IKE CATALOG*

10 pages / full size plus inserts

 

LAZY IKE 1980 CATALOG COVER
1981
1982
1983

1983 LAZY IKE (Dura-Pak) CATALOG*

12 pages / full size

LAZY IKE 1983 CATALOG COVER
1984

1984 LAZY IKE (Dura-Pak) CATALOG*

44 pages / full size

LAZY IKE 1984 CATALOG COVER
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992

1992 LAZY IKE / CREEK CHUB (PRADCO) CATALOG*

4 pages / full size

LAZY IKE / CREEK CHUB 1992 CATALOG COVER
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005

2005 LAZY IKE (PRADCO) CATALOG

4 pages / full size

Electronic only.  I have never seen a paper version.

LAZY IKE 2005 CATALOG COVER
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011

2011 LAZY IKE (PRADCO) CATALOG

4 pages / full size

Electronic only.  I have never seen a paper version.

LAZY IKE 2011 CATALOG COVER
2012
2013

2013 LAZY IKE (PRADCO) CATALOG

4 pages / full size

Electronic only.  I have never seen a paper version.

LAZY IKE 2013 CATALOG COVER
2014

2014 LAZY IKE (PRADCO) CATALOG

3 pages / full size

Electronic only.  I have never seen a paper version.

LAZY IKE 2014 CATALOG COVER
2015

 

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.