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Delong Lures Blog

The History of Delong Lures

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In 1946 David DeLong poured his first six-inch Kilr worm in Akron, Ohio. He would go
on to form the Delong lure company, which set up business in nearby Cleveland. The
company expanded and moved its operation to Centerville, Ohio, to operate for the next
several decades.
In Centerville, the company hit its stride and would be at the forefront of fishing
innovation. Not only did Delong produce some of the most life-like artificial baits of the
day, but it was the first company to produce a scented lure, and the company also held
several patents for innovative weedless hooks that are still used today.
Delong Lures were a staple in bait and tackle stores across the country and were
famous for their rigged Killer worms and their unrigged Act-alive series. Delong made
lures for everything. Everyone seemed to have their favorite Delong lure; they range
from the tiny little trout worms to 16-inch Giant Witch. He made all sorts of bugs,
including mayflies, bees, and grasshoppers. Eels, crawfish, shrimp, minnows, tadpoles,
and countless other creatures rounded out the company’s line.
In the early 1980s, Delong Lures was sold to a tire manufacturer in Warren, Michigan,
just outside Detroit. The company would continue to produce many of the same lures,
but as the demands of anglers began to shift towards other lures, the company’s focus
began to move. The company saw profit in using the worm molds and plastic in a
venture that made testing strips for testing ponds for algae, so the fishing lures took a
back seat.
By the mid-1990s, Delong Lures was just a former shell of the great company it once
was. You could still find fishing lures, but few stores carried them, and you had to look
hard to find them. That is when the savior of Delong, Ed Pivarnik, rescued the company.
Ed had been fishing with Delong lures since he was a young boy, and eventually, his
favorite worms became harder and harder to find. Finally, he called the number on the
back of the pack and started dealing with the company directly. After a few years of
buying lures from them, the girl who ran the lure section of the company said her father
might be interested in selling the fishing lure part of the company and asked if Ed was
interested in buying it.
In 1998, Ed talked to his friend David Lachowicz, and they decided to buy the company
and move it to Valparaiso, Indiana. The pair resurrected the company and brought back
the Kilr worms that made it famous, but as they were digging through some of the old
saltwater molds, they discovered some lures that were designed for the ocean, but Ed
knew they would be fantastic for Muskie, so they launched a line that took the Muskie
world by storm.
For the next 12 years, Ed ran the company with help from Dave and returned the
company too much of its former glory. Giant snakes were once again winning bass
tournaments in Florida, the flying witch was a top Muskie lure, and you could once again
walk into bait and tackle stores across America and find Delong Lures hanging on the
shelf. The good ol’ days were back, but they would not last.

A series of unfortunate events in Ed’s life caused him to close the company in 2012, and
it would remain closed for nine years. Still, a company like Delong cannot stay down
forever; like a Phoenix, it rose from the ashes once again, this time rescued by an
unlikely trio of outdoorsmen. Who got their start in the outdoor industry as bloggers
writing articles at
Brothers Aaron and Brandon Futrell and their cousin Stephen Ziegler were first turned
on to Delong by Brandon, who picked up DeLong’s Twin Tail Weedless Tadpole back in
2004 when Brandon was still in high school, and man did it catch fish. He shared his
new favorite lure with Aaron, who became hooked as well. Delong became their go-to
bass lure until 2016, when the local bait and tackle shop finally ran out of what they had
on hand. Since then, Brandon always kept an eye out for them, but they never showed
up; but in early 2021, Brandon decided to see Google DeLong and found that the entire
company was for sale.
A few phone calls and some quick negotiations later, the boys bought the company and
moved back to northeast Ohio, where it all began. They started in Stephen’s parent’s
garage but located a suitable building in Canal Fulton, a small historic town in Stark
County, where they got the company up and running and producing the high-quality
fishing lures that DeLong has made famous throughout the years.