Most of us have a hard time shelling out 20 bucks for a fishing lure. But like just about everything, it’s relative. You could spend more — a whole lot more. To prove it, here are 15 lures that will run you over $100 — and up to several times that much, making them among the most expensive lures in the world. They vary in type and purpose, with several being big swimbaits designed with big largemouth bass in mind, but of course they should (especially at those prices) work for inshore saltwater fishing as well. The list is in ascending order of price (to the nearest dollar). Those prices, by the way, are subject to change (I noted that some changed by a few dollars from one day to the next) so you might see something a bit different. Don’t count on, say, seeing “$9.99 special this week,” though.
None of the lures in the gallery can compete with that shown here — what I believe to be the priciest lure ever made.
MacDaddy's Million Dollar Lure
When introduced at the ICAST tackle trade show in 2006, the 12-inch MacDaddy’s Million Dollar Lure made headlines. Why so expensive? Might have something to do with 3-plus pounds of 14-karat gold and platinum, and the outer shell of 100 carats’ worth of diamonds and rubies. I don’t know where it is today, but I did learn that the Million Dollar Lure was put into service, according to Ryan Donovan at RedRum Sportfishing in Cabo, who tells Sport Fishing:
The Million Dollar lure did get wet, albeit for a very short time. There was an insurance policy taken out by the owner/jeweler, through Lloyd's of London. He was allowed to troll it for 30 minutes and had to stay inside the bay here in Cabo San Lucas. We were required to pull it from an 80-wide loaded with 130-pound test mono using a 12-foot piece of 500-pound steel leader. It was pulled the day before the Bisbee Black and Blue tournament aboard La Nueva RedRum with the then-governor of Baja California Sur and a few other invited guests. Unfortunately we had no knockdowns.
Jarmo Collectible Lure Balsa Minnow — $100
This lure maker hails from Finland. Name seems familiar, somehow: Jarmo Rapala. For your hundred bucks you get a balsa lure with scales hand-rolled into the outer foil and 14 layers of paint and lacquer. Jarmo personally tank-tests and tunes all lures, and then he autographs them. Each is presented in a wooden box.
Black Bart Heavy Tackle Breakfast Lures offshore trolling lure — $105
Capt. Bart Miller’s high-speed trolling lure for (serious) marlin fishing. If nothing else, when the fishing’s slow and you go into Homer Simpson mode you can be entertained: “The exciting movement and splash will make you think you are getting bites all day,” according to the seller.
Mann’s Giganticus 50+ deep diver — $112
The “50+” describes how deep this monster fishing lure dives — to at least 50 feet, says the manufacturer, who claims it has caught tuna more than 600 pounds and grander marlin. At 16 inches in length, the big-lipped lure will give you a workout just cranking it in.
Native Works Napalm 250mm popper — $117
The seller is all about superlatives when describing this 10-inch lure: “... incredible hand-carved workmanship all done by one of the greatest Japanese lure manufacturers in the world.” The action is “absolutely insane” with “the most erratic s-pattern you will ever see.” Not sold yet? Well: “This Native Works lure is without a doubt the most popular lure in the world at this moment.” Wow!
Big Reidee Slant Face offshore trolling lure — $125
Big Reidee Hawaiian offshore trolling lures are made individually and are generally, despite (or is it in part because of?) the price, in short supply. The **Slant Face** runs 9 inches.
Lucky Lures EXOX Adult Northern hard swimbait — $134
Lucky Lures — made in Holland — casts the body of this hefty 14-incher of solid resin and airbrushes it with pearlized paints, then applies what it calls MicroFiber fins (“never need to be replaced”) and taxidermy-grade eyes. Each is tested, signed and numbered. See it swim in the website video ... I’d eat it!)
ABT Lures Custom Series Suicide Glide 12” gliding swimbait — $135
Originally made for targeting Southern California’s big bass, the Suicide Glides are each hand-poured polyurethane.
Deps Slide Swimmer 250 swimbait — $180
Maybe this 10-inch jointed lure from Japan is so costly because it is, according to the seller, “completely silent as it swims.” Go figure. The hard poly body is covered with a softer plastic intended to feel less unrealistic to fish biting down.
Hammerhead C Cup SUS Abalone Special popper — $190
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information out there on this 6-inch Hammerhead model. It’s made in Japan, has a gorgeous finish and most places that carry it seem to be out of stock.
Gan Craft Jointed Claw Magnum 300 swimbait — $249
This 12-inch fishing lure is designed to swim with a scintillating S-pattern. The manufacturer says, it “swims on the path of like S-word, which never existed” which I believe has to with a claim of achieving some unprecedented action. For 250 bucks, that seems reasonable.
Moutoukenmaru Minopenmaru 25F-Super MG Abalone Shell stickbait — $293
Maybe the longer the lure name, the higher the price? These babies are handcrafted by master lure maker Tosasan in Japan using Paulownia wood. (I had to check: Wikipedia says it’s a soft wood that’s light but strong.) Covered with “countless coats” of urethane and through-wired.
Big Melosh Smoothie swimbait — $299
These 12-inch bad boys are made as one-offs, carved and painted per custom order. For two bucks you can get a little plastic lure stand — you don’t want to subject this beauty to slumming in a tackle box with your ordinary plugs.
Roman Made USA Mother swimbait — $436
Given the price, one would expect this foot-long lure to indeed be the mother of all crankbaits. Although the brand is Roman Made USA, the lures hail from Japan. The manufacturer offers this intriguing description: “It is not stale all from the retrieve to picking up. It is Mother. ... RomanMade is seriously opposite to the fish with the conviction in a dreamlike reality.”
House of Solid Gold spoon — $600
Handmade in U.S.A. of 24-karat gold over sterling silver, the spoon measures 1¼-inch long. “Built for the fisherman who dreams of turning his annual fishing adventure into an ‘extreme sport.’ The House of Solid Gold advises extreme care when attaching lure to the fishing line and is not responsible for loss if our fish likes this gold spoon more than you.”
(For 600 bucks, though, it ought to have a better split ring.)