Original Caption: Willie Robert, Sue George and Rose Charrier (from left) seal, assemble and 'hook up' original Rat-L-Trap fishing lures for Bill Lewis Lures. June 1982, The Town Talk, Sportsman's Paradise photos by Barbara D. Williams

In today’s Friday Finale historical photo, Behind Bill Lewis, we look back to 1982 at the inner workings of the plant.  The image features a peek at the assembly work going on with their then hugely popular bait, the Rat-L-Trap, responsible for putting the Louisiana company ‘on the map.’  The article details some of the steps with assembling the bait at the time, and gives a peek inside some of the sales and manufacturing details.  For example;

“Approximately 25 to 30 women work diligently in the small plant – with extra work being farmed out to women at home – doing what it takes to put together and ship approximately 20,000 lures a week. At the height of the season, some of Bill Lewis Lure manufacturing is done by James Heddon’s Sons, Dowagiac, Mich.”

The story also states, “The baits go to an estimated 150 wholesalers who then distribute them to ‘no telling how many’ retail stores all over the country. Bill Lewis Lures are also distributed throughout Japan, South America and Canada, with limited allocation in Europe.”

As for construction, it says, “The tiny plastic fish come split in half lengthwise. Rat-L-Trap lures are loaded with beebee shot, glued together, sealed, painted, varnished and ‘hooked up.'”

“Painting is the hard part. That’s where the most skill is required. It takes a certain knack. It’s an art in itself.” But the painting plays a big part in the selling of the lure.”