I remember being in 6th grade in 1976, and our teacher ran a debate in class on who would make the next best President…either Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford. As a 6th grader, the smiling peanut farmer seemed to appeal to me more than the stern looking Gerald Ford.
While people can now argue that Carter was possibly a “below-average” president, his post-work presidency work has been outstanding and an example for all to follow. And, just recently, he announced that he has beat cancer (melanoma) at the age of 91.
Carl Richey Cordell Jr, nicknamed “Cotton” due to his light colored hair, was a well-known Arkansas fishing guide and commercial fisherman. One year he developed a lead-head jig in his kitchen using hair from his Irish Setter to dress the hook. And, before you knew it, a new lure manufacturing company was born.
In 1952, Cotton Cordell, Inc was established. The company was an immediate success and made lures for major tackle companies such as Heddon, Pflueger, and Creek Chub Bait. Two years later, Cordell was branding his own lures and he became famous. Lures like the Gay Blade, Red Fin, and Hot Spot began to fill tackle boxes.
In the early 1970s, Cordell produced the “Big O” lures designed by Fred Young. It sold more than a million baits in the first year alone.
In 1976, shortly after Jimmy Carter was elected as the 39th President of the United States, Cordell came out with a smiling peanut lure to honor the man from the neighboring state of Georgia.
In 1980, his company sold to EBSCO Corporation. At the time of sale, it was the largest lure manufacturer in the world, making 22,000 lures per day.
Cordell was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 1988. He passed in January of 2015 at the age of 86.