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Hall of Fame honors sport’s trailblazers

Hall of Fame honors sport’s trailblazers

As winter begins to tiptoe into Michigan, I’m really looking forward to attending the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction ceremony next week in Springfield, Mo.

The gala event, emceed by Dave Mercer, will be Nov. 9 and is open to the public. It promises to be a very special night for all bass fishermen. If you are close come join me as we honor our sport.

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame always has had a special place in my heart because of the great people it honored in the past. Many of the legendary anglers that I idolized as a youngster are previous inductees along with bass fishing journalists, tackle manufacturers and conservationists who have made major contributions to our great sport. Most of them will be in the room that night, a gathering of fishing heroes like never before.

I’ve long believed that it’s very important to remember the pioneers and innovators of our sport and the Wonders of Wildlife Museum provides a perfect place for other people to learn of their contributions and the history of bass fishing.

Not only have I been able to enjoy a long career because of those contributions, but the sport continues to get better because of those efforts.

I’ve attended Bass Fishing Hall of Fame ceremonies before, but this one is truly special for a number of reasons.

First, the Hall of Fame now has a permanent home in the Bass Pro Shops Springfield complex along with other notable fishing/hunting groups. Wonders of Wildlife consist of an all-new 1.5-million-gallon aquarium, and more than a mile of trails and exhibits. It’s located next to the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters. While some folks have walked through the Wonders of Wildlife, this is actually the grand opening of Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, and it will be the first time any of us will get a chance to see first-hand the showcase of legacy and passion in one place.

This year’s list of inductees makes it even more special. For example, Shaw Grigsby, a good friend and Strike King teammate is someone I’ve admired throughout my career. In my early days, Shaw was a trailblazer in bed fishing tactics and has been the consummate pro and TV show host throughout his career.

And then there’s Bassmaster Senior Writer Louie Stout, a fellow Michigander I’ve known for 30 years and one of the top outdoor writers in the country. Not only have we done three books together and dozens of magazine articles, but we are close friends as well. His attention to detail and hard work with top anglers has provided a wealth of knowledge for novice and experienced anglers through the pages of Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times.  

Other inductees include the late Wade Bourne, another true pro, great writer and book author who passed away last year; Bob Sealy of Texas, who created the “Big Bass Splash,” world’s largest amateur bass tournament which has raised more than $2.3 million for the Ronald McDonald House and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; and Morris Sheehan, who created the American Bass Anglers 20 years ago, a circuit that has become the largest tournament trail for weekend anglers.

I encourage anyone who treasures the sport of bass fishing as much as I do to attend the ceremony.

Like me, these worthy inductees know that success is all about the attitude!

In addition to honoring new inductees, the Hall of Fame banquet features a dinner and a silent auction with several autographed items, fishing gear and guided fishing trips being offered. You can purchase tickets ($100) online at www.bassfishinghof.com/shop or by calling 501-541-6660.