Who Really Invented the A-Rig?

Harold Sharp’s cartoon from the Spring 1969 issue of Bassmaster Magazine.

Bass anglers and tackle manufacturers are great about taking credit for something, even if they had nothing to do with it initially. Good examples of this would be a person who was shown a good spot and then when they take someone else out, they claim they found it and have been fishing it for years. Another example would be a company that “introduces” a “new” concept in bass lures only it isn’t new but a knockoff of something that’s been made before. That never happens – right?

Well, with all the hoopla in the last couple years after Paul Elias won the FLW event on Pickwick with the “newly invented” Alabama Rig ® – a bait delivery concept that’s been around for at least 50 years with the striper anglers, this cartoon I found in the Spring 1969 issue of Bassmaster Magazine really hit home.

What you see in the opening picture is Harold Sharp’s cartoon of an angler asking the Tournament Director (not Harold at that time) if it was okay to use this crazy contraption. The funny thing is who knew that nearly 45 years later this exact scenario would surface in professional bass fishing and it wouldn’t be so funny.

The Alabama Rig ® would bring to the forefront of bass fishing a ton of controversy both on the water and in the courts – some of which has been settled and a lot of which hasn’t.

One thing I am going to start pushing for, though, is that Harold gets his due as one of the earliest pioneers of the rig.

One a serious side note, what many don’t realize was Harold Sharp had the job as Bassmaster Cartoonist before he took the job with B.A.S.S. as their Tournament Director. In the old issues there are a large number of cartoons penned by Sharp. Over the course of time we’ll be putting them up for all to see. I’m sure you’ll like what he had to share back then as a number of them are still pertinent today.