Giant Five of Diamonds lures Lacombe residents to Len Thompson Fish Pond

Comet Welding General Manager Devon Hulsman stands alongside Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. Co-owner Brad Pallister during the public unveiling of the unofficial World's Largest Lure at the Len Thompson Fish Pond on Saturday. June 1, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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The unofficial World’s Largest Fishing Lure proved it’s able to catch as many people as its smaller counterparts can fish.

Marked as the Len Thompson No. 90 – in honour of the 90th anniversary of manufacturer Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. – the lure was formally unveiled to hundreds of citizens, anglers and aspiring anglers Saturday morning at the Len Thompson Fish Pond.

The event, which coincided with the annual Kids can Catch event, where the catch-and-release pond was freshly stocked with Rainbow Trout for the season, saw its biggest turnout ever as a result.

“I’ve got a huge smile on my face today,” said Brad Pallister, who co-owns Thompson-Pallister Bait Co. with his sister Jessica Pallister-Dew and father Richard Pallister.

“It’s actually been a stressful project because we didn’t know if it was actually going to work and then we got it up to a point where we were pretty confident it was going to work, but now that it’s up, it’s extremely exciting.”

An HDR look at the newly installed, but unofficial World’s Largest Lure at its Len Thompson Fish Pond home on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Overall, the monument measures just over 40 feet, with a 28.5-long spoon and 14-foot long hook set to beat the 16-foot record set by a lure in West Texas, once they make the application to the Guinness Book of World Records. Combined, the spoon and hook weigh 3,500 lbs.

Many comments from those in attendance were surprise at how big the monument actually is, not to mention musings of what kind of fish such a lure would catch.

“Everybody’s pretty surprised at how big it is. They hear or see the specs, but when they get to see it, or sit on it, the thing I’ve heard most is: ‘Wow, that’s bigger than I thought,” he said.

Among those awed by the size of the lure was Coun. Jonathan Jacobson.

“To be honest, I’m more impressed with the hook than anything. The whole thing is beautiful, but that hook Is a tremendous piece of fabrication,” Jacobson said.

“It’s phenomenal – not that we weren’t on the map before, but this should definitely put us on the map for folks who are driving by and want to see something that’s certainly going to be in the Guinness Book of World Records.”

A view of the back of the unofficial World’s Largest Lure where it’s marked as a Len Thompson No. 90 in honour of manufacturer Thompson-Pallister Bait Company’s 90th anniversary. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

He first found out about the project five to six months ago when it came across the ECHO Lacombe Fund desk. He described it as a weird request amongst the more typical beautification projects, but after doing some research into the company’s history and achievements, decided it made sense.

“They’ve been a tremendous corporate citizen. I wasn’t even aware until I started researching this file just how popular this brand of fish hook was throughout the country,” he said.  “I’ve heard stories of people backpacking through Europe and staying in little hostiles there and the owners and fishers know about Lacombe because of this hook. It’s pretty interesting finding out how recognized around the world this hook is.”

Tommy Duke, 4, checks his tackle box for just the right lure during the annual Kids can Catch event Saturday at the Len Thompson Fish Pond. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Shaw Warawa. 8. watches as Gavin Siemens, 8, casts his line into Len Thompson Fish Pond during the annual Kids can Catch event Saturday. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Jesse Yates helps son Creighton Yates remove some greenery from his hook during the Kids can Catch event Saturday at Len Thompson Fish Pond in Lacombe. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Ezra Doef, 5, bites his tongue as he makes his cast during the annual Kids can Catch event at the Len Thompson Fish Pond on Saturday. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

Over 70 people line shore near the large fishing dock and the unofficial World’s Largest Lure Saturday during the Kids can Catch event. Even more attendees were scattered around the entire pond and shelters in what was the biggest turnout for the event ever. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

An estimated 50 million lures have been sold over the past 90 years, including more than 60 in Lacombe. Some anglers believe no respectable tackle box is without a Five of Diamonds, and other companies have tried to duplicate the pattern.

They’ll have a tough time duplicating the No. 90, which will entrench the Thompson-Pallister legacy in the community – and hopefully world – for years to come.

Now that it’s been formally unveiled, the application and official final measurements are expected to be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records next week.

“I hope it doesn’t get old. I hope it doesn’t blend into the environment,” said Pallister. “I hope it’s going to be a big source of pride for a lot of years – hopefully decades.

“It wasn’t cheap, but it was well worth it – every penny of it.”

abarrett@postmedia.com

Young anglers cast their lines along the Len Thompson Fish Pond’s shore during the annual Kids can Catch event Saturday, June 1, 2019 in Lacombe, Alta. Ashli Barrett / Lacombe Globe

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