Wright & McGill Co. has a rich history that dates back over 90 years and began with two young fishermen in Denver, Colorado. In the late 1920’s Drew McGill and Stan Wright formed the Wright & McGill Co.
The innovative hook company that is now Eagle Claw all started when McGill was spending time doing what he loves most, fly fishing the upper Colorado River. That morning’s fishing had not been as good as it could have been, and it seemed that even though the rainbows and native trout were rising, they were difficult to hook.
As he rested, Drew noticed the effortless flight of two large eagles flying above him. As he sat quietly enjoying the pine and sage-scented wilderness around him, one of the eagles slowly spiraled downward and landed in the top of a dead cottonwood, its sharp pointed talons pierced effortlessly through the weathered wood. McGill then recalled the eagle’s amazing ability to catch fish in its talons mid-flight over water and his thoughts turned to the penetrating power of those lethal claws, in comparison to the penetrating power of the fishhooks he was using.
McGill was intrigued by his newfound insight and felt compelled to test his own fishhook by dragging it over the leather strap of his creel. While the hook left a mark on the bag’s strap, it did not penetrate it. McGill then used pliers to bend the hook to resemble the specific shape of an eagle’s talons and retested the hook on the leather strap, this time the hook punctured the thick leather. McGill went on to alter the rest of his hooks that day and with new hope returned to the water to fish away the morning until an afternoon storm rolled in. The results of McGill’s hook alteration spoke for themselves as he had a creel full of fish and a new prototype in mind.
McGill quickly began work on his new and improved hook shape incorporating a razor sharp tip and the curved design inspired by the eagle’s talon. When Wright and McGill sat down to name their new product, what else could it have been except Eagle Claw? The design swept the country, as it offered the first improvement in fishhooks in hundreds of years. That’s the remarkable story of the bird that built a fishhook business.
“Playing the trout until securely hooked is the safest policy for the angler. The next step is to bring the trout to the net. Lack of good judgment in this process has caused the loss of many a good catch.”
Drew McGill, Co-Founder of Wright & McGill Eagle Claw
Growing and Expanding
In 1938, the Wright & McGill Co. officially registered Eagle Claw as a company trademark and Wright & McGill Co. continued to expand, producing a line of flies, fishing lures, and the Eagle Claw fishhooks. Eagle Claw fishhooks were in high demand and Wright and McGill knew that they had to find a way to produce the Eagle Claw fishhooks more efficiently, which lead to the development of machinery to create the fishhook products. Over the next several years, the company would break new ground in developing one-of-a-kind fishhook machines.
As production of Eagle Claw fishhooks ramped up the company refused to lower their standards and vowed to make service and quality a part of the company’s everyday operation.
“Our products at the Wright & McGill Co.,” wrote McGill “taking the Eagle Claw fishhooks as a case in point, have always sold for slightly more than any of our competitors. The success of this company was built through the depression, when people realized that even though the cost of a product might be a trifle higher, the additional service given by that product would warrant the extra price that he was paying. I believe that this is a prime example of the selling of quality merchandise.”
By 1948, the Wright & McGill Co. owned and operated the world’s only automatic hook-making machines. The new machines barbed, shaped, eyed, and pointed the famed Eagle Claw hooks in one operation. The Wright & McGill Co. soon produced thousands of hooks per day on the new equipment.
In 1985 Eagle Claw introduced the Lazer Sharp line of fishhooks. These hooks are ultra-sharp, smooth, and strong. Over the years the process of creating these hooks has been improved and perfected giving anglers a fishhook that is consistently sharp and strong.
In 2002 the Wright & McGill Co. purchased the assets of Laker by Jadico and named the new company Laker Fishing Tackle. Laker Fishing Tackle is based in Camdenton, MO and specializes in importing a wide variety of products including rods, reels, tackle accessories, and many products for private label programs with major retailers throughout the U.S. Also, in 2002 the Wright & McGill Co. started marketing a full line of terminal tackle products. This product line currently features over 1,500 items, such as fishing line, floats, swivels, sinkers, nets, scales, cricket tubes, tools, and many other accessories.
Lazer TroKar was introduced by the company in 2009, and was touted as the world's first fishhook created with Surgically Sharpened Technology®. Created with technology out of the medical supply field, Lazer TroKar quickly garnered the recognition as being the sharpest fishhook in the world.
Today Wright & McGill Eagle Claw is considered the most innovative fishhook company in the world and is the only fishhook manufacturer in the U.S.A. We’re proud of our 90-year heritage yet are simultaneously constantly on the lookout for the next best thing, ways to improve our product, and how to meet the needs of anglers all over the world.
We manufacture and distribute premium quality fishhooks, rods, reels, terminal tackle and the newest addition of mobile ice shelters throughout the U.S. and in over 40 countries worldwide. We proudly outfit anglers with the Eagle Claw, Lazer Sharp, TroKar, Eagle Claw Shappel and Wright & McGill brands.
We love being America’s fishhook company and continue to grow and expand our line of products while improving existing products and releasing new ones year after year.