Congratulations Karen Eppinger on being a 2023 Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Inductee!
Karen is now the 3rd generation of Eppinger’s inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. She joins her Great Uncle, Lou, and her Father, Ed, who were inducted in 1990. As an appreciation for reading about the Eppinger tradition, we would like to offer a special thank you.
The Eppinger Tradition began in 1906. Lou Eppinger spent a month in the Ontario wilderness, fishing, camping and thinking… all alone. He used a lure of his own design… a spoon weighing 2 ounces. The metal was hammered out so that it was thinner in the middle and thicker toward the edges.
When he cast it into the shallows it would swing from side to side, nearly turning over, but always righting itself… kind of like a Dardevle.
By 1912, Lou turned his prototype into a finished lure, the Osprey. It caught fish; lots and lots of them. Especially pike, a favorite sport fish in the mid west.
In 1918, Lou’s nephew Ed came to work in his uncle’s shop. They changed the name of the Osprey to Dardevle after the “Teufelhunden,” or “Devil Dogs,” the name given by the Germans to the 4th Marine Brigade — which successfully penetrated and captured the Germans in the Battle of Belleau Woods in 1918. The allies called these U.S. Marines “Dare Devils,” the name now used for Eppinger’s most successful line of lures.
The company sold around 500 lures a year is now an international success, and millions of Eppinger lures are sold each year. The original Dardevle has since spawned an entire family of lures. Now more than 16,000 different sizes, shapes and colors of Eppinger Lures are available to match every fishing need.
Since 1987, Ed’s daughter, Karen, has been at the helm and is now successfully leading this company into the 21st century. In 1994, Karen was joined by her daughter Jennifer, keeping this remarkable family-owned tradition alive.
Eppinger celebrated it’s 100 year milestone in 2006 as the leading company and innovator of high-quality fishing lures. Karen Eppinger proudly notes, “We’re still having fun in our business, but we’re so busy filling orders for over 1 million lures a year, we don’t go fishing often enough ourselves.”
Other companies have attempted to copy Eppinger’s designs and colors. They’ve used inferior materials and farmed the work out to factories overseas in order to sell their lures for less money. But their finished product cannot compete with the genuine Dardevle and Eppinger Quality.
At last count, one angler we know had collected over 300 different red and white striped lures imitating the original Dardevle. But does he fish with any of these imposters? Not a chance! His fishing success, he is quick to point out, comes from using only lures stamped with the Devle Head trademark from Eppinger.
More world record fish have been caught on Dardevle Lures than on all the knock offs put together! None of those record fish are any more important, though, than the fish you or your children will reel in on Dardevle Lures.
Eppinger takes pride in it’s history of American-Made Quality and for giving fellow anglers what works time after time. “We build performance, value and tradition into each and every Dardevle lure,” smiled Karen Eppinger.
The tradition of quality and excellence continues even today. Read more about our legacy here!