I love the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Love what it is, the folks behind it, the folks in it, the folks destined to be in it and the folks who go to the inductions every year. Because I, like you, love bassin’.
Went to this year’s induction at the Classic, and have a few tidbits to share. Here goes:
Jerry gave the keynote. Very good speech delivered with one of the things I like most about him: candor. He tells it like it is.
This time that candor was about how the bassin’ industry’s talked about getting youth more involved for decades, but overall hasn’t done a very good job of it. He challenged folks to come up with something to fix it. (I’m workin’ on it….)
> Jerry told a great story about Ray Murski, the owner of Strike King and Hall of Fame board member who died recently. Think that’s the only time I’ve seen Jerry get choked up. He wasn’t the only one….
“Crawfish” (nickname), the now-retired but long-time B.A.S.S. photographer, was inductee #1. He was single-handedly responsible for how we all “saw” pro bassers for much (most?) of B.A.S.S.’s existence. Great shooter, heck of a nice guy.
Since he never said more than 6 or 8 words to anyone at one time, we all knew he was a great guy from how he acted. But the induction changed all that. Gerald talked for 45 minutes. He could’ve talked for 2 hours – it’s his time after all – but by the end of it there was general merriment in the audience because none of us had heard him talk that much. Ever. Too funny.
Like many of the folks who’re in the Hall of Fame, we all owe him a big thanks. So thanks, Gerald.
> Think about this: For many events, including at least one Classic, he was the ONLY photographer. Unthinkable now.
> He said he’s probably the only guy who’s “been on every lake from Vermont to California and never wet a hook.”
Paul is a great guy. And as the Hall’s Sammy Lee pointed out, he semi-regularly brings new techniques to us anglers in the form of wins: the kneel and reel, the A-rig. Pretty cool.
Paul started his speech with a big grin because he felt the same way about Gerald’s speech as everybody did. First thing he said was, “When I die, I want Crawford to give my eulogy.” Maybe you had to be there, but it was hilarious.
Also told a story of how he was responsible for a new B.A.S.S. rule. Said it was on Guntersville. He was fishing a rockpile around some barges. Next day went back there and one of the barges (still tethered) had blown over his spot. He fished around it, tried to fish under it, but couldn’t get to the rockpile.
A tugboat was firing up, and he offered to pay the captain $100 to move the barge – but the guy refused. He must’ve yelled it because shortly thereafter a couple guys from a mill there offered to move the barge for him for that same $100. He said okay, they did and he paid.
When he got back to the check-in, he told Dewey Kendrick (former B.A.S.S. TD), and Dewey told him he’d be DQd. Paul said, “Hold on, the rule only says we can’t have help locating bass. I knew where the fish were, just couldn’t get at them.”
Dewey admitted he was right, but by the next tournament the rule was changed to say that competitors couldn’t have help “locating or catching bass.”
Paul also mentioned that his win with the Alabama rig also prompted B.A.S.S.’s ban of that rig on the Elites and in the Classic.
No point to be made, just telling stories….
At the end, he said the thing he’s most proud of is that all the folks he respects in this business – he reeled off a bunch of names – are his friends. That’s definitely what it’s all about.
Glen is the guy who produced Bigmouth. That unbelievably eye-opening movie about fishin’ for our favorite fish was brand new at the time (underwater shots), and led to a fairly wide-ranging career.
About all Glen said about that was that he made it because he wanted to see it. In other words, he’s a fish-head like us.
Most of the time Glen spent riffing on Jerry’s call to focus on youth. Bet you didn’t know that Glen was one of the creators of the “Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs,” program – I didn’t either. He said that program is still big in Europe but it’s heyday is over here in the States. “We need something new here,” he said.
Who? Mr. Thurmond – born 1894, passed in 1970 – was a diehard basser who developed a pointy-nosed, stable boat for catching bass that people nicknamed “the Mosquito”…or, eventually, the “Skeeter.” In 1948.
An interesting guy, Mr. Thurmond was represented by his grandson, who said his grandfather would definitely have been at the Classic diggin’ every minute of it if he was still around.
Who knows, maybe he was there.
All in all, a great event. Props to the Hall of Fame staffers and board for making it so.
Should note that usually the gang at this shindig is pretty much the same. Been around a while, a little older. But this time a bunch of younger folks in the biz were there, which was good to see.
If you can make it to next year’s Classic – if it isn’t iced out! – definitely see if you can buy or otherwise score a ticket to the Hall of Fame dinner. Awesome.
Almost forgot: Ray and Forrest are still going strong. Always great to see them.