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P.H. Rainey
Opa Locka , Florida

In the late 1940's, Perry Rainey was a Chief Petty Officer for the US Navy and was supporting flight training activities for weekend warriors at Naval Air Station in Opa Locka, Florida. The base was mostly deactivated at that time and much of the property was owned by the City of Opa Locka. The Rainey family lived in one of the five Chief Petty Officer quarters on the base. Directly across the street were barracks that the city of Opa Locka rented or leased to private companies. NAS Opa Locks
An early photo of the Opa Locka Base under construction

Perry Rainey was an avid fisherman and spent many days fishing the waters of South Florida, particularly Lake Arbuckle, which was the site of an annual family vacation. He came up with an idea for a wooden fishing lure and used his machine tool skills to fabricate the specialized equipment necessary to produce it. In 1948 Rainey decided to lease space in one of those buildings across the street so he could begin manufacturing Rainey's Secret fishing lures. He bought hooks, spinners, and other hardware from Herter's and went to work making lures in his off time. He had four or five off duty sailors working with him to make lures on their days off. Rainey would carry boxes of finished lures to tackle stores in the Miami area and leave them for sale. He also gave away many lures to fishermen he met along the way. Business was good.

Rainey applied for a patent on his lure in 1948. By the time the patent was granted four years later, a serious drought had occurred in south Florida. Many of the lakes in the area simply dried up. Lure sales pretty much dried up too. Rainey decided it was time to sell the production rights to his lure. Family members do not recall who the buyer was. Rainey's Secret lure appears in Carl F. Luckey's book as a Shakespeare product, but it is not clear that they were the buyer or that they ever manufactured any Rainey's Secret lures. Family members do recall that the buyer made a decision that they could not produce the lures efficiently and returned the rights to Rainey, who apparently did not make any more baits.

Patent drawing for Rainey's Secret The patent drawing from Perry Rainey's 1948 application is shown here. Some Rainey's Secret lures have Rainey's Secret Pat. Pend. stenciled on the back. Rainey's Secret stencil

Face of Rainey Secret lure

The face of the Rainey's Secret lure has grooves that would cause the lure to roll from side to side as it was slowly retrieved. Rainey made the cutting tool that shaped the lure face.

Rainey's Secret lures are found with painted and carved eyes. I believe that the painted eye lures were made by Shakespeare. Rainey's Secret Eyes

So what exactly was Rainey's Secret? According to the paperwork that accompanied the bait "Rainey's Secret" revealed is the darting, rolling motion, or the action of an injured minnow rolling belly up or darting on it's side....More color patterns have been spotted than the nine listed in the paperwork. In fact, Rainey said If you have a favorite or special color combination or paint design, send a sketch and we will finish a "SECRET" in your style.

The lures shown here are part of our collection. Click on the thumbnail pictures to see a larger image

Rainey's Secret Lures
Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure
Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure Rainey's Secret Lure
Rainey's Secret lures in a variety of different colors

Rainey's Secret Box

Rainey's Secret lures were sold in plastic top cardboard boxes. The plastic top had ANOTHER RAINEY'S SECRET stenciled in gold.

One example of a two-piece cardboard box for the Rainey's Secret lure has also been found.

Rainey's Secret Box top

I would like to extend special thanks to Perry Rainey's son and daughter who graciously shared information about their father and his lure.

We are always interested in adding to this collection. Please send an email if you have any old Rainey's Secret lures or boxes for sale or trade.
Visit my page about Antique Florida Lures to see other lure makers from Florida.

Send e-mail to jyates@ix.netcom.com with questions or comments about this web site.
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