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AN OKIE WAY OF BASS FISHING

Bill Wright of Moore catches another bass on Lake Eufaula earlier this month on the "Okie Rig" that he created. The rigs are excellent for targeting bass on the bottom of the lake. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]  

Bill Wright of Moore catches another bass on Lake Eufaula earlier this month on the "Okie Rig" that he created. The rigs are excellent for targeting bass on the bottom of the lake. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]  

It was Jimmy Houston who first called Bill Wright's creation “The Okie Rig.”

Wright was filming a television show with Houston on Lake Konawa about catching bass with lipless crankbaits, only the bass weren't cooperating.

So Wright started fishing with his pre-made version of the Carolina rig, and began catching fish.

It wasn't long before Houston wanted to be hooked up with the rig, too, Wright said.

“We caught about 50 fish,” Wright said.

Houston told his viewers that it wasn't a Carolina rig those fish were caught on, but an Okie rig. It became the trademark.

The Carolina rig is a popular fishing technique for bass anglers. The basic setup of the Carolina rig involves use of a heavy weight (usually ranging in size from 1/2 to 1 ounce) and soft plastic lure trailing behind on a leader line.

It works well because it keeps the bait on or near the bottom and covers lots of ground.

Wright is an avid bass angler who spends much of his time on the lake, most often Lake Konawa or Lake Eufaula. He owns the Lake Eufaula largemouth bass record with an 11-pound, 14-ounce lunker he caught five years ago in October on a top-water lure.

Everyone was impressed with Wright's lake record except his wife, who told him that he spends so much time fishing that it was bound to happen someday.

Wright would fish with Carolina rigs but became frustrated with the standard pre-made options on the market. They always would kink or cut his fishing line.

“I really liked to fish braided line," said Wright, 69, of Moore. "I fished it on spinning tackle with a straight Carolina rig, letting the weight slide up and down that line, but as soon as I would drag it through rocks or something, it would just cut it.”

He started experimenting with making his own rig, and came up with a design using a 75-pound test titanium wire that he thinks is more durable than the other pre-made Carolina rigs on the market.

Wright likes to fish his "Okie Rigs" with small, soft plastic baits. "An elephant will eat a peanut," he said.

He fished with his homemade rigs for a few years, giving no thought to trying to sell them, until one day his granddaughter came to him and asked for a way to earn money to pay for her car insurance.

He suggested she try to sell some of his fishing gadgets on eBay, but his son-in-law suggested that he apply for a patent first.

“It took off from there,” Wright said.

The "Okie Rigs" then became a family operation. They are made by Wright's son-in-law at his home workshop in McLoud. Eighteen-year-old granddaughter Abby Johnson has become a pitch man, so to speak, for the product at tackle and outdoor shows and gives demonstrations.

“We've worked six shows this year and sold 2,000 Okie Rigs,” Wright said. “It is an item you have to sell to people. It's not something people walk up and recognize and realize what to do with it.”

Wright has equipped is boat with a GoPro camera and posted videos on YouTube of fishing with the "Okie Rig."

They can be ordered from okierig.com, and they also are sold at Lucky Lure Tackle in Oklahoma City and Boats-N-Moore.

The price is $5 to $9, depending on the size. They come ½ ounce, 1 ounce and 1½ ounce. Combination packs range from $9 to $12.

Wright, who was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2014, recently donated 50 Okie Rigs with purple-colored weights to the Wounded Veterans of Oklahoma for a bass tournament on Keystone Lake next month.

Wright was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his service in the Vietnam War. He returned to Vietnam in 1998 to help locate the remains of American soldiers missing in action.

Related Photos
<p>Bill Wright of Moore is an avid bass angler who invented the Okie Rig, a pre-made Carolina rig that he is now selling online and at outdoor shows. The rigs are also available at Lucky Lure Tackle and Boats-N-Moore. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN] </p>

Bill Wright of Moore is an avid bass angler who invented the Okie Rig, a pre-made Carolina rig that he is now selling online and at outdoor shows. The rigs are also available at Lucky Lure Tackle and Boats-N-Moore. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN] 

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-4402fff1b3de8e9f1b43306e931771c4.jpg" alt="Photo - Bill Wright of Moore is an avid bass angler who invented the Okie Rig, a pre-made Carolina rig that he is now selling online and at outdoor shows. The rigs are also available at Lucky Lure Tackle and Boats-N-Moore. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]  " title=" Bill Wright of Moore is an avid bass angler who invented the Okie Rig, a pre-made Carolina rig that he is now selling online and at outdoor shows. The rigs are also available at Lucky Lure Tackle and Boats-N-Moore. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]  "><figcaption> Bill Wright of Moore is an avid bass angler who invented the Okie Rig, a pre-made Carolina rig that he is now selling online and at outdoor shows. The rigs are also available at Lucky Lure Tackle and Boats-N-Moore. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]  </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f308c85f340218155acc341dabf491cf.jpg" alt="Photo - The Okie Rigs are sold in three different sizes. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN] " title=" The Okie Rigs are sold in three different sizes. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN] "><figcaption> The Okie Rigs are sold in three different sizes. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-b3678c65498d9465cac03d20acc84412.jpg" alt="Photo - Bill Wright of Moore catches another bass on Lake Eufaula earlier this month on the "Okie Rig" that he created. The rigs are excellent for targeting bass on the bottom of the lake. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]   " title=" Bill Wright of Moore catches another bass on Lake Eufaula earlier this month on the "Okie Rig" that he created. The rigs are excellent for targeting bass on the bottom of the lake. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]   "><figcaption> Bill Wright of Moore catches another bass on Lake Eufaula earlier this month on the "Okie Rig" that he created. The rigs are excellent for targeting bass on the bottom of the lake. [PHOTO BY ED GODFREY, THE OKLAHOMAN]   </figcaption></figure>
Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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