There are some things that are made so well the first time around you wouldn't dare monkey with the design. These vary greatly, including such common items as fry pans and spatulas to beer kegs and long-neck bottles. Most of these classic designs haven't been changed for one simple reason - they work perfectly for what they are intended.
This theory spills over into the outdoor world, as well, and there's a perfect example sitting in tackle boxes on just about every fishing boat that trolls on Lake Superior out of Marquette, as well as many other ports on the upper Great Lakes.
These magical pieces of fishing tackle are Finn Spoons, which were developed nearly 60 years ago in Ironwood by Gust Kuismi. Kuismi was quite a character who I had the pleasure of meeting about 25 years ago when he was cruising around the Upper Peninsula hawking his spoons.
Brad Muscoe holds up a nice chinook salmon they caught using Finn Spoons. (Brad Muscoe photos)
He was looking for Capt. Jim Maki of the Catch-a-Finn charter to give him some spoons, which I gladly passed along to Maki who I fished with occasionally.
In addition to being a top-notch lake trout fishing guide, Kuismi was a part-time inventor, mainly of things relating to fishing.
The most successful of his creations is, of course, his Finn Spoons line, which I hadn't thought of much until two years ago this month. That was when I did a story with the new owner of the company, J.D. Neiswender, who wanted to expand the operation after it sat basically dormant under two other owners between him and Kuismi.
Now there are new owners once again and they have some very ambitious plans for the company they renamed Finn Tackle Inc.
Brad and Holly Muscoe of Marquette purchased the company in April and are shifting into high gear in expanding the product line and marketing.
Lake trout and salmon anglers don't need to worry, though, Finn Spoons will still be the trademark lure for the company.
However, the Muscoes - both avid anglers who are raising their two daughter in the same mode - wanted the company name to better reflect the expanded line of tackle they plan to create.
"The reason for the name change is we'd like to introduce other products to our selection in the future," Brad said. Including "casting spoons, trolling flies, attractors/dodges, spinners, crawler harnesses, etcetera."
He said they've already added some new colors to the Finn Spoons as well as different types of reflective tapes. There is no doubt the lures work, just ask anybody who trolls the depths of lakes Superior, Michigan or Huron.
Kuismi tried several designs until he got what he believed was just the right shape for the spoons to work perfectly. Then when he found that design and created his company in 1954, he had the design patented. In addition, the dies that the spoons are cut with were given to a Minnesota company more than 50 years ago and Finn Spoons - now Finn Tackle - has exclusive rights to use them.
The spoons are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes and are sold through dozens of stores across the region. To check out the product line, as well as get more information on the company, visit the website at www.finnspoons.com.
Old Gust is now trolling the big waters of the beyond, but there are two things that are pretty certain - he's using Finn Spoons and he's happy with the way Neiswender and now the Muscoes are handling his company.
Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270.