Today in Big-O for Odis we’re doing to two-for Throwback Thursday. You may have heard of Fred Young, the guy responsible for whittling the Big-O wooden crankbait, but have you ever seen him? Today’s historical picture does just that, featuring Fred and his partner with a catch of fish from Norris Lake back in 1974.
The Big-O was named after Young’s ‘big’ brother, Odis. A 1973 article from a Kansas newspaper titled, “‘Big-O’ the Hottest New Bass Fishing Lure Goin,” stated, “The Big-O looks like a pregnant guppy and vibrates like a mad belly dancer, the Bassmaster people from Montgomery, Ala. claim. The Big-O took big bass in some of the tourneys sponsored for pro anglers by the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS) and Bob Cobb of that organization reports contestants were carrying the few Big-O’s they could beg, borrow or buy for outlandish prices in foam egg cartons to keep the paint intact.”
The article also mentioned that “Cotton Cordell of Hot Springs, Ark., bought the design from Young and has it under assembly production. Young hand-whittled the lure for himself and a few friends originally.” This would have been the plastic version they were working on mass producing, so that gives you an approximate timestamp for when the conversion was made, and why.
But let’s get back to Fred’s brother, the man the Big-O was named after. The article that accompanied the image above actually had Fred’s brother’s name spelled wrong. Fred’s brother spelled his name Odis with a D, not Otis with a T, as most people assume.
Just to show another example of poor journalism, we have another image to present today, this time of Odis himself.
Here’s the original caption of the image placed with the story published in March 1975, The Daily News Journal.
“THE ORIGINAL ‘BIG O’ – Otis Young of Maryville, Tennessee came to Murfreesboro this week for the Girls State Tournament. The Murfreesboro Baitcasters invited Otis to their Club meeting at the home of Mike Lourance on Tuesday night. The ‘O’ spoke on the success of his brother, Fred Young, designer of the Original ‘Big O’ and the lure that revolutionized bass fishing.”
There are a lot of things important in journalism but one of the big ones is to make sure you have a person’s name spelled right. I can understand why journalists would make the mistake by talking with Fred at an event. But in this case, Odis himself was on hand to ask how to spell his name.