- Roberto Abramowitz
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Call it the perfect holiday present for the angler who has everything.
The only catch?
This gift is a real fishing lure encrusted with gold, platinum, diamonds and rubies and a price tag that might break the bank, and then some.
Called the Million Dollar Lure, this shiny, saltwater bait is the brainchild of 53-old-old Shell Beach, Calif., entrepreneur Mac Burney, the head man of the MacDaddy Lure Company.
"The Million Dollar Lure has over 4,753 diamonds and rubies," Burney said. "It's got over 3 pounds of gold and platinum and over 100 carats of gemstones."
Burney, whose company also creates other gold- and diamond-encrusted lures and flies, said he got the idea for the expensive tackle at annual outdoor show in southern California.
"A company called High Five had made the winning lure of the Bisbee tournament last year," Burney said. "We were making freshwater lures and someone held up the winning lure and asked if we could make saltwater lures. I said why not?"
According to Burney, that reportedly drew the attention of Wayne Bisbee, one of the head men in the renowned Bisbee billfish tourneys held every year off the west coast of Mexico.
"They all thought I was crazy as a fruitcake," Burney said. "He said if I built it, come on down. Two months later I called him and told him it was complete."
Not only was it complete, it was ready to rock and roll behind the boat. According to the lure's designer, the pricey bait that measures more than 12 inches long "trolls perfect behind the boat, absolutely perfect."
You read that right. Burney said such lures are designed to be fished with, not just put in a safe or a shadow box for the wall.
In fact, he said that he used the Million Dollar Lure last week while fishing in the prestigious 26th annual Bisbee's Black & Blue Marlin Tournament off Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur.
Any luck with the high-dollar tackle Burney was tossing into the brine?
"The governor (of Baja) got tapped by something and the lure lost a couple of stones," Burney said. "Then we fished it (ourselves) the next day on the big yacht called the Kahuna. We had a big blue (marlin) come and do a pass by; the film crew and everyone saw it."
"I just wish that a 500-pound fish would have grabbed it, but it didn't."
What if a big fish actually grabs it and makes off like a bandit with the jewel encrusted tackle?
Burney said that the lure one of a limited edition of 25 is insured by Lloyds of London.
"We're the only company in the world that Lloyds of London insures our tackle box," Burney quipped. "We fish the most expensive lures in the world."
Burney also said that two pieces of special equipment are on the lure to ensure that it hooks a fish but isn't lost at sea.
One is called a Quick Rig, which features two very strong stainless steel hooks. The other device is a specially built titanium split-ring called the Ultimate Smart Link.
"Those two products are designed especially for the Million Dollar Lure," Burney said. "We take every precaution, but when it comes down to it we stand back and let it go."
What's next for these collector lures encrusted with jewels and covered with precious metals?
Easy, said Burney, more fishing.
"Next time, we'll use the lure in Florida, Hawaii or one of the (locations of one of the) other major tournaments."
Ever the salesman, Burney said "It's the ultimate gift for the trophy room."
For a cool million bucks, you can make that determination.
17hPat McManamon and Jeremy Fowler