10 Most Influential Fisherman EVER!

December 10, 2008

Reviews, Thoughts

This info was taken from a handful of fly fishing magazines that we subscribe too. For the Fly Fishing Frenzy group, we can only aspire. Enjoy!!

10. JOE BROOKS

Joe Brooks began his professional fly-fishing and outdoor writing career in the 1940s, pursuing the sport with zeal until his death in the early 1970s. Joe gave up the chance to be a major league baseball pitcher to pursue his passion of saltwater fly fishing. His penchant for writing provided a high profile of the sport during the 1940s and 50s in the pages of Field & Stream and Outdoor Life. He later attained the position of fishing editor for Outdoor Life. Besides authoring assorted books on freshwater and saltwater fishing, Brooks’ wit and good looks landed him roles on the American Sportsman TV series. He also mentored Left Kreh.

9. TED WILLIAMS

While no one can deny Williams’ impact on baseball, his interest in the outdoors landed him as a spokesperson for Sears Roebuck & Co. During off seasons with the Boston Red Sox, Williams fished the streams for trout and the flats for bonefish. Have 20 -10 vision and a competitive zeal that made him an all star baseball player also helped him to master the art of fishing. He popularized fishing as few athletes have.

8. BRAD PITT as PAUL MACLEAN

Even though the good Rev. Maclean and Norman (the narrator) Maclean contributed immensely to the sport of fishing, Paul (Brad Pitt) Maclean was the star. A River Runs Through It popularized fly fishing more than any other movie in the last 2 decades. Not to mention the classic lines and quotes that come from that flick like: Buster Wants to Fish and “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.” CLASSIC! Brad Pitt’s good looks and rebel attitude piqued young Americans interest in the sport like never before, and we won’t even talk about what it did to the women’s view of fly fishing. Let’s just say fly fishing is very sexy now. Thanks Brad.

7. Francesca LaMonte

This name won’t be familiar to you, but as founding member of Game Fish Association and perhaps the first to apply marine research to fish conservation, LaMonte deserves high billing. Without her research and interest in conservation, fisheries management would hve been set back for decades or more. She helped produce books on fresh and saltwater species from 1938 to 1966, and put together affiliations of many scientific associations for the betterment of fisheries resources.

6. STU APTE

Stu was a Navy Pilot turned Airline Pilot turned fishing guide/world class fly fisherman. A slew of world records adorn his name. He became a regular in the 50s and 60s on the American Sportsman TV series. He thus helped grow the sport through TV shows, videos, and his still-popular 1976 book, Stu Apte’s Fishing in the Florida Keys and Flamingo. Apte entered the IGFA Hall o Fame in 2005 and still owns the two longest-standingworld records on fly; a 58-pound dolphin in 1964 and a 136-pound Pacific Sailfish in 1965, both on 12-pound tippet.

5. LEE WULFF

No list of most influential anglers of all time could leave this man out. After receiving a degree in civil engineering from Stanford, he felt a need to pursue a different passion. His books and magazine articles on fishing the Catskill Mountains and Canadian wilderness struck a chord with millions of anglers. One American Author said ” If you had to invent a fly-fishing hero, it would have to be “Lee Wulff”. He later met champion fly-caster Joan Salvato, and soon the married couple traveled the world in pursuit of big fish on fly gear. They opened a fly fishing school on the Beaverkill River in the Catskills, becoming the model for ensuing schools. Lee invented the first fishing vest and became one of the earliest proponents of catch-and-release fishing.

4. RAY SCOTT

When Scott pronounced in the mid 1960s that one day he’d build bass fishing into a major tournament circuit attracting million of dollars, some people laughed. Not only are they laughing now, they’re standing with all others to applaud a true pioneer in what can only be called the man behind the big business of bass fishing. Scott left a highly successful insurance career to start the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) in 1968 in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, B.A.S.S. sparked a revolution in sportfishing and boating, creating a multi- billion dollar industry and pro tournaments with purses now hitting a million dollars. His persistent efforts also wrought a turning point in improved conservation and environment for his favorite fish, the black bass, most notably through clean waters and the popularization of live-release, which he promoted early in the Society’s history.

3. Michael Lerner

After founding the national chain of Lerner’s clothing stores, this entrepreneur turned his sights to the development of sport fishing. The main force behind the organization of the IGFA in 1939, Lerner could leverage ideas and money to make things happen. He and wife Helen caught marlin and swordfish galore, but they realized that a greter use of their resources could be the partnering of marine science with fishing experts. From the laboratories to the fish filled waters of all oceans, he put together expedition parties to all points of the globe and helped pioneer a deeper understanding of saltwater game fish. Lerner continued throughout his lifetime to generously fund the volumes of knowledge that would serve as the backbone of conservation efforts forever after.

2. Zane Grey

It’s impossible to underplay the importance of promoting sport fishing in the public eye, and few did so better than Zane Grey. Grey indulged his interest in fishing with visits to Australia and New Zealand. He first visited New Zealand in 1926 and caught several large fish of great variety, including a mako shark a ferocious fighter which presented a new challenge. Grey established a base at Otehei Bay Lodge on Urupukapuka Island which became a magnet for the rich and famous and wrote many articles in international sporting magazines highlighting the uniqueness of New Zealand fishing which has produced heavy-tackle world records for the major billfish, striped marlin, black marlin, blue marlin and broadbill. He held numerous world records during this time and invented the teaser, a hookless bait that is still used today to attract fish. Grey also kept meticulous notes on his geart and diaries of conditions while fishing, he became a wealth of knowledge and reliable authority to all who came to know him.

1. Ernest Hemingway

Bingo. Papa earns the title as the single most important/influential angler ever! In 1940 Hemingway became Vice President of the IGFA, a title held until his death in 1961. Already an icon in American literature, his novel The Old Man and the Sea and the ensuing movie by the same name starring Spencer Tracy can only be described as immeasurable PR for fishing in general. Hemingway’s Gulf Stream battles off Key West, Havana, and Bimini became legendary along with his penchant for an adventurer’s life. Pictures in newspapers across the world showing him next to a grand marlin or giant bluefin tuna formed impressions that last to this day.

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19 Responses to “10 Most Influential Fisherman EVER!”

  1. chubbsypeterson Says:

    Great List. It is hard to narrow it down to only 10.

    Reply

    Dave Hancey Reply:

    Great list chubbs! I’m suprised Brad Pitt didn’t beat out Ernest Hemingway for #1. And who knew Ernest Hemingway was such a fisherman?

    Reply

    chubbsypeterson Reply:

    The ‘Old Man and the Sea’ was the classic interpersonal struggle told through the eyes of a fisherman. Big E Hemingway was quite the man when it came to fishing. i never really knew til i did a little research on the man. I was gonna have Hoss listed at number 11. :)

    Reply

    Dave Hancey Reply:

    Who can forget the classic “Old Man and the Sea”! I think Hoss would be a great fit at #11, but I have to tip my hat towards Aydelotte for the simple fact he can “saddle em up” with the best of em using his 9 foot 10 weight!

  2. Nate Moller Says:

    What a list! I’d have to say my favorite of all of them would be Ted Williams. What an effect he had on the “Great American Pastime”; I never even knew he was also an avid fisherman – I guess if he would have played for the Yankees I would have followed him a bit more:)

    Great post!

    Reply

    Big Hoss Reply:

    thanks for comments Mr. Moller. Can you name any Yankees that were also avid fly fisherman?

    Reply

  3. Dr Gillespie Says:

    I love the list! As for me Brad Pitt and the movie was one of my driving forces to try fly fishing…I also think Jack Dennis, Lefty, Denny Breer, Emmitt Health, Steve Schmit, Lance Egan, Chris Matthews, Randy Harrop, Angling Exploration Group and Hoss…are huge influences to me and the world of fly fishing in the present and future generation.

    Anyone up for the Provo tonight?

    Dr Gillespie

    http://www.xstreamoutdoors.blogspot.com

    Reply

    Big Hoss Reply:

    Doc, you should do a post/list of all those you just named and talk about them, i think it would be a great post.

    Reply

    chubbsypeterson Reply:

    Dr. i would love to get your vast insight on a list part deaux with those guys. that would be awesome.

    Reply

  4. Troutdawg Says:

    What a great list of influential people! I definitely have Ted Williams at the top of my list and all of the stories, large fish and influence he had on the industry. If only I could have fished with that guy and learned some stiuff!

    Reply

    Chubbs Reply:

    Thanks for you comment troutdawg. Williams was definitely the man.

    Reply

  5. ross slayton Says:

    Hwy what about Jack Nicklaus/ He was a world class sport fisherman in his day and I do believe still hold a IGFA bill fish record of somekind

    Reply

    Chubbs Reply:

    Ross, i agree that Jack was very influential and could have easily cracked the top 10. It is so hard to narrow it down to just 10.

    Reply

  6. Tam Funderburg Says:

    Do you individuals have a facebook fan web page? I appeared for one on twitter however couldn’t uncover one, I would love to change into a fan!

    Reply

    Chubbs Reply:

    here you go. http://www.facebook.com/flyfishingfrenzy

    Reply

  7. Barry Shildneck Says:

    Although he was 9 years younger, my dad used to run around a little with Joe Brooks, when Joe lived in Waynesboro, PA in the late 1920’s and early 30’s — and before he became famous. Not only was Brooks a good fisherman and apparently a fine baseball player (I didn’t know that until I read this article), he was also good at pool and bowling (Dad said he saw Brooks bowl perfect games in rubberband duckpins on two occasions). Brooks sometimes made references to the East Branch of the Little Antietam Creek (just outside Waynesboro) in his articles in Outdoor Life. I spent countless hours trout fishing in those same waters when I was growing up, but that was 35 or 40 years after Brooks lived there.

    Reply

    Chubbs Reply:

    awesome story. thanks Barry!

    Reply

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  9. Martin Pitts Says:

    Hey Guys,
    Nice photo of Ted Williams. Ted’s passion was not trout but Atlantic Salmon…

    Also you may want to include the name of another old-timer, Lee Cuddy.
    Cheers,
    Martin Pitts

    Reply

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