In the late 1920’s Drew McGill and Stan Wright formed the Wright & McGill Co., for the tying of high grade fishing flies. Drew was on the upper Colorado River pursuing his favorite sport, fly fishing that magnificent stream.
It all happened when he stopped to light his pipe and take a short rest.
The morning’s fishing had not been as good as it could have been, for it seemed that even though the rainbows and native Trout were rising, they were difficult to hook. While thinking of this and the ways that he could improve his fishing techniques, he watched the lazy circles of two large eagles. As he sat quietly enjoying this wilderness scene, one of the eagles slowly spiraled downward and landed beyond him in the top of a dead cottonwood; the tips of the bird’s talons lightly gripping a weathered bare limb. His thoughts turned to the penetrating power of those lethal claws, and then to the penetrating power of the fishhooks he was using.
As the powerful bird took to the air, Drew took his fly and holding it by the tiny leader pulled it across the leather of his fishing creel. The point scraped along the leather, but did not penetrate. Using his fishing pliers, he changed the shape of the hook by slightly curving the point. He tried the fly again and found that, this time it would penetrate. He quickly modified several flies and was back on the stream. The results were encouraging, and he eagerly tested shapes and sizes until driven from the stream by an afternoon thunderstorm.
Returning to the fly factory in Denver, Drew started working to produce a fishhook design with greater penetrating power. A hook that would exert this power in the direct line of pull of the leader. From this research came a fishhook that had sweeping curves and sharper points. It was forged for strength and was double offset for greater hooking qualities. The hook’s point was in direct line of pull and shaped like the talons of that mighty bird.
The rest is history.
This design quickly swept the country, for it offered the first improvement in fishhooks in hundreds of years.
When Drew and Stan sat down to name their new product, what else could it have been except Eagle Claw? That’s how it all happened, and that’s the story of the bird that built a fishhook business.