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  • IGFA | Jerry McKinnis
    league baseball player for the Kansas City Athletics But Jerry had a passion for fishing too and a magazine article about float fishing Arkansas White River particularly intrigued him He saved up for that trip which turned out to be with an equally young guide by the name of Forrest Wood The two were a perfect match Jerry soon traded his bat for a rod and moved to Arkansas to try his hand at guiding One day at Little Rock s Lake Maumelle a local TV sports anchor noticed Jerry coming back to the dock with a huge stringer of bass and suggested he and the fish show up at the station for the evening s newscast That first appearance led to a weekly five minute fishing report and though Jerry wasn t sure what to make of it all he sensed it was a great way to increase business He rented a movie camera and began to film himself fishing which led to a new hour long show called Arkansas Sportsman For years Jerry shot footage rushed to the station to have it edited and was on the air 15 minutes later In 1963 McKinnis traveled to Indiana to assist with a new TV show but once there he was convinced to do the show himself This was The Fishin Hole From the beginning Jerry struggled to keep the The Fishin Hole at a national level which in those years meant syndication which in turn meant constant negotiating with individual stations to carry it In 1979 the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network better known as ESPN began In the beginning ESPN had plans to show movies mixed with sports since no one would think of watching sports 24 hours a day but they soon learned they couldn t buy the movie rights Jerry saw an opportunity and met with the ESPN executives in their office a singlewide trailer By 1980 The Fishin Hole had joined the fledgling network and was on its way to becoming a permanent fixture in the national media The Fishin Hole broke the typical fishing show mold It featured an ordinary angler fishing with ordinary guys for smallmouth trout and crappie on creeks ponds and lakes in the country s mid section The episodes revolved around places Jerry already loved or dreamed of visiting and he always chose material he was comfortable with and knew something about Viewers embraced the laid back presentation and The Fishin Hole became the longest running outdoor show final episodes aired in 2007 44 years after the series debut McKinnis branched out from The Fishin Hole to become one of the most influential producers in television outdoor programming Asked by ESPN for a tournament type show he introduced The Mariner Tournament Trail in the early 1990s When ESPN2 began in 1993 Mariner Trail expanded to an hour a Red Man event was covered and a few years later Jerry began producing and co hosting the FLW Tour s made for

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-McKinnis.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Allen and Buddy Merritt
    a charter fishing business in New York after World War I and when he took the fleet to Florida for the 1924 winter it became the first to operate seasonally between the states Roy s sons left school to fish full time when business began booming for the Caliban Fleet Allen was 14 when he started running his first boat Buddy was 18 In 1948 Roy opened Merritt s Boat and Engine Works in Pompano Beach Florida The facility had docks and repair services and within five years Merritt s was building boats By this time Buddy Merritt was making a name for himself on the fishing grounds of the Bahamas where he was known as theserious brother the thinker He was determined to outsmart and outfight the giant tuna found there and the modifications he made in tackle and boats forever changed that fishery Buddy s knowledge was vast his strategies techniques and even tricks were intuitive and revolutionary Years before the first tuna tower was built he added a seat and rope controls to a sailboat mast knowing the elevation would help him spot bait and maneuver the boat on the tuna By the 1950s Buddy was working full time in the boat yard and fishing only during tuna season yet he had earned the respect of the other captains and guides and that admiration grew whenhe showed up at Tuna Alley with the 34 foot Miss Belair Merritt s first sportfisher Buddy went on to win both the Cat Cay and Bimini Tuna Tournaments in 1963 and the Bimini event a second time in 1968 Allen Merritt was gregarious and outgoing but when it came to fishing the brothers were closely matched and though they were competitive they usually shared information eventually When Allen was puzzled by all the wahoo Buddy was bringing in a rare catch in the late 1940s Buddy let on he was fishing a line way back off the bridge The method worked for Allen too but the line tangled in the rigger baits so he ran the line from a Calcutta pole perfecting the technique and creating the center outrigger Allen excelled at tournament fishing He knew the tides understood the patterns anticipated where the tuna would be and never panicked and he built his reputation in the waters of Cat Cay He first fished with Bill Carpenter at the 1951 Tuna Tournament and went on to win eight times more than any captain in history In the unassuming Carpenter Allen had a natural at fighting big fish on heavy tackle and linen line and in less than 10 years the pair caught 300 giant bluefin For almost two decades the brothers Merritt reigned at Cat Cay And their rule continued inNewfoundland Canada where in the summer of 1968 Allen caught 15 giant bluefin in one day The next summer it was Buddy s turn and aboard the Caliban II a 43 Merritt built especially for him by his nephew Roy he

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Merritts.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Johnny Morris
    tournament and went on to qualify for five straight prestigious Bassmaster Classics On the professional circuit he met anglers and lure makers from all over the country witnessed the changes taking place in tackle and quickly realized the importance of having the newest gear and gadgets Back home Johnny brought a list of this new equipment to Gibson s Department Store When Gibson s manager couldn t get permission from his corporate office to carry the items Morris went to his father and asked to stock some things in the store near Table Rock Lake With John A s support and an instinctive understanding of the market Johnny and a friend set out to fill up a U Haul at the best bass tackle stores in the country That was 1971 and the beginning of Bass Pro Shops Morris had no long term plan just a love for bass and an innovative idea to provide one stop shopping for specialized tackle not found elsewhere Tournament winners were considered heroes anglers were reading about them and about the equipment and lures they were using in B assmaster magazine Ray Scott was creating a bass fishing frenzy the demand for tackle was tremendous and Morris business took off Bass Pro Shops published its first mail order catalog in 1974 in response to orders received from fishermen clamoring to re stock their tackle boxes when they got home The catalog 180 pages and 1 500 items was an ingenious concept fishing tackle that was just a phone call away In 1978 Morris revolutionized the marine industry when he introduced his Bass Tracker fish ready package the first professionally rigged boat motor and trailer Today Tracker Marine Group brands including Nitro Fisher Pro Craft Kenner Mako and SeaCraft are among America s best selling

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Morris.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Roy E. Naftzger Jr.
    IGFA Mobile Weigh Stations Support Join or Renew Make a Gift Shop Upcoming Events Advertising Opportunities Contact Donor Opportunities Donor Societies Member Discounts Membership Benefits Roy E Naftzger Jr Click here for more IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame videos 1925 2007 2002 Inductee Ted Naftzger s love affair with swordfishing began more than 40 years ago It was in 1960 that Naftzger bought his first Rybovich shipped her to Los Angeles renamed her Hustler and hired Capt Art Cherry to run her On the West Coast in those days few bothered with swordfish preferring striped marlin But Cherry had considerable experience baiting broadbill in the East so Ted Naftzger began trying the same techniques in the Pacific The rest is history for since 1963 Naftzger has caught 49 broadbill on rod and reel believed to be more than any other person in the world And he is the master of daytime swordfishing surface baiting and catching this most difficult saltwater sport fish at the most difficult time of day Naftzger himself considers this nearly impossible in most waters but the only really interesting and sporting way to catch them Ted Naftzger s sportfishing accomplishments are many He was a member of the U S Team at the International Tuna Cup Matches from 1967 to 1970 taking the winning fish twice He is Past President of The Tuna Club where he still holds a Club record set in 1970 for a 503 pound broadbill swordfish on 80 pound dacron line and he remains on the records books in Massachusetts as well for a 131 pound white marlin caught off Nantucket in 1982 Naftzger frequently fished the prestigious Masters Tournaments and is a founding member of the Channel Island Broadbill Tournament and The Lizard Island Fishing Club Naftzger s dedication to IGFA

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Naftzger.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Frank M. O'Brien Jr.
    business took him to Florida s east coast he heard stories of tackle busters giant tuna in the Bahamas that were destroying fishing rods Frank was one of the premier anglers of the day and the stories confirmed what he already knew that the rods were the weak link in the tackle chain In 1934 O Brien opened Tycoon Tackle in Miami determined to solve the problem by producing the strongest lightest and most flexible rods possible He began by studying the bows of champion archer Howard Hill and he observed and consulted with the anglers and guides at Bimini and Cat Cay For a year Frank traveled back and forth with prototypes demonstrating and testing the rods and new features When one of his three wood vertically laminated five strip rods landed a 601 pound broadbill off Nova Scotia Tycoon Tackle was on its way The Bimini King appeared then the HRH Royal Hickory and Regal and soon Tycoon was responsible for more than 90 of all world record catches As the sport grew so did Tycoon Years of ideas improvements and innovations lay ahead culminating in premier finely crafted rods that set the standard O Brien still found time to fish and participate in tournaments where he and his crew his Irish Navy were always contenders In 1939 Frank competed in the first Cat Cay Tuna Tournament in the 1940 contest with 3 638 pounds he placed second When war broke out in Europe in the fall of 1939 Frank knew that for the next few years the world would be concerned with more serious matters than chasing fish and in 1940 Tycoon Tackle took on its first Navy contract With untrained employees and machinery designed for rod making the contract proved challenging but the Navy was pleased In 1941 Tycoon moved to larger quarters and by June 1942 when tackle manufacturing was suspended by the Government O Brien was running three shifts a day seven days a week to keep up with orders and by war s end employed 700 Recognized as one of the best production plants in the country they never missed a deadline and never went over budget Tycoon Tackle received a nearly unprecedented five Army Navy E E for Excellence commendations from the War Department As servicemen came home and world economies began to improve the factory returned to the business of fishing tackle On January 1 1949 Tycoon became the exclusive distributor of Fin Nor reels which for years had been companion pieces to their rods and in 1956 became Tycoon Fin Nor Corporation Shortly after the war O Brien once again heard stories of big fish this time coming from Puerto Rico and when he opened a second factory in San Juan in 1950 he quickly realized and zealously promoted the area s sportfishing potential Soon a top notch charter fleet was in place thanks to Frank s efforts and for a decade his newspaper column kept anglers informed about the

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-OBrien.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Paxson Offield
    received a degree in economics in 1975 from the University of Denver In 1978 he was teaching at the Catalina Island School when he was asked to join the Santa Catalina Island Company Formed in 1894 the Company is responsible for the stewardship of developable lands on the Island located off the southern California coast and it has been guided by the Wrigley and Offield families since 1919 Packy is the fourth generation to serve the corporation he has been Board Chairman President and CEO and remains a Board member He also was the first Board Chairman and remains a Benefactor member of the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy a nonprofit corporation established to protect Catalina s ecological heritage and in this and other endeavors he continues his family s dedication to preserving and enhancing the Island s natural beauty Packy s expertise in pelagic fisheries has made him a passionate advocate for marine research and education and a leader in implementing technology in both For more than two decades he has been involved in tagging Pacific billfish and the Offield Center for Billfish Studies under the auspices of the Pfleger Institute for Environmental Research has been conducting groundbreaking research on marlin species since 2000 More than 450 satellite tags have been deployed since the OCBS began the project making it the largest billfish tagging program in the world Though the program initially concentrated on striped marlin throughout the Pacific in recent years it has widened its focus to include black marlin and more recently blue marlin and tagging locations include Ghana Madeira Venezuela Dominican Republic California Mexico Panama Ecuador Costa Rica New Zealand and Australia In 2009 the Offield Center for Billfish Studies partnered with The Billfish Foundation and Peruvian fisheries scientists to explore the waters off Cabo Blanco Packy fishing from his boat Kelsey Lee took part in this historic marlin tagging effort in the hope that scientific data collected by the archival tags will provide insight into the relationship of Cabo Blanco s marlin to those found in other parts of the Pacific A tagging program for California s white seabass has also been funded by Offield throughthe Pfleger Institute As a Director of the University of California s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies Packy provides guidance and support to the science center as it expands into a broad range of environmental issues He was instrumental in establishing the Institute s fisheries management program in 2000 and his involvement continues to transform the Institute into a state of the art research laboratory and teaching facility Fully realizing the importance and necessity of producing future leaders well trained in fisheries biology and policy Packy endowed a professorship at the University of Southern California in 2003 the Paxson H Offield Professor of Population Ecology A past President and current member of the Tuna Club the world s oldest sportfishing club Packy Offield has three Club record fish on three thread linen and eight pound Dacron line Esteemed for his ethical

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Offield.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Hidenori Onishi
    1998 2006 Inductee Hidenori Onishi was a conservationist a well respected fisherman and an influential leader in recreational angling As a child Onishi fished in Japan s countryside After graduating from Keio University with a degree in economics and attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota he returned to Japan where he established a successful real estate business And he also returned to fishing though some 30 years later it was the sea that lured him The Japanese take their big game fishing very seriously and Hank Onishi became one of its most zealous enthusiasts In 1978 he competed in his first Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament HIBT where he landed a 593 lb Pacific blue marlin and earned the award for individual high scorer When Onishi revisited the Tournament in the early 1980s he brought with him a prototype of the sportfishing bird The technique was immediately embraced and fishing with teasers was quickly adopted by offshore trollers throughout the world Hank Onishi was a pioneer at home as well the first person to troll Japanese waters for pelagic species in his private fishing boat But Hidenori Onishi is best known as the long time Chairman of the Japan Game Fish Association JGFA Impressed with the IGFA rules used in the 1978 HIBT and with the organization itself he envisioned a similar body in Japan to promote the sport and the angling opportunities in the country Just one year later with the cooperation and guidance of Hawaii s Peter Fithian Onishi Ryuzo Nishikawa and Junzo Okada founded the Japan Game Fish Association in the heart of Tokyo The organization s mission according to their first announcement was to promote the development and raise the level of salt water sports fishing in Japan and to encourage the preservation and conservation of oceanic sportsfish by conducting and sponsoring research From the beginning the JGFA kept records of catches made in Japan using the same system as the IGFA But they did much much more Chairman Onishi was a formidable and vocal proponent of marine conservation and of tag and release fishing in particular In October 1985 JGFA began a tag and release program that to date has resulted in the successful tagging of more than 100 000 game fish of 65 species and the re capture of more than 1 000 of those tagged fish The organization has always worked closely with the Fisheries Agency of Japan in 1994 Onishi was selected to serve on their Ocean Utilization Council and with Japanese commercial fishing interests recognizing that coexistence is essential to the future of recreational angling in the country And he was extremely optimistic about the future Nowadays our younger big game anglers are more interested in the sport itself and in the ethics of the sport he said in 1992 Their view is that unless it s really an exceptional catch there s no justification for killing a fish simply for the sake of establishing a record and of course

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Onishi.aspx (2016-02-11)
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  • IGFA | Monserrate "Monty" Padilla Nicolin
    the age of seven Monty was captivated by the sea and the sport His passion came from his father Mario Padilla Campiz who spent hours at sea teaching and training the young boy During Monty s lifetime this love affair has taken him to Acapulco Puerto Vallarta Tampico the Yucatan Baja California and inland Mexican waters as well as to Nova Scotia Vancouver Puerto Rico Guatemala Costa Rica Panama Dominican Republic and the United States Even today it remains a source of joy to him Monty s father also introduced him to Dr Roy Dean He knew his son would learn much about saltwater species and their conservation from the learned dentist who after arriving in Mexico in 1925 began devoting himself to the study of local fish and waters Dean involved Monty in his research projects and fishing trips and the young man absorbed all he could from his teacher and friend One of Monty s most important lessons was the value of catch and release for it was Roy Dean in 1944 who created a program sponsored by the Sailfish and Tarpon Club of Mexico for tagging sailfish The tags used were two rudimentary pieces of plastic joined by a hook of nickel and the program the first of its kind in the world signaled a major advance in the conservation of a species long coveted for trophies Monty has continued to build upon that early groundbreaking conservation initiative participating in satellite tagging research trips in Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas that bear little resemblance to the tagging programs of 70 years ago Today s state of the art tags cost more than 3 000 each and remain on the fish for two months transmitting crucial information about position behavior depth movement etc to scientists As the first President of the Mexican Sportfishing Federation and since 1990 a personal advisor to the Secretary of Fishing in Mexico Monty has worked tirelessly to protect and promote recreational angling in his country cognizant of the hundreds of millions of dollars it generates each year for the economy and of how essential it is with some of the country s most popular destinations built on their billfishing opportunities to establish sound fisheries management Padilla works with the Tourism Ministry to bring together sportfishing interests through conferences and trade shows and develops educational materials for anglers sharing his knowledge and expertise on topics from the proper rigging of circle hooks to reducing post release mortality The Mexican Secretary of Tourism recognized Monty Padilla in the first session of the Ministry s Executive Committee on June 23 2008 commending him for his extraordinary work on behalf of the protection of marine species intended for angling Monty Padilla has been a member of the IGFA International Committee since 1973 In 2005 he was honored with an IGFA Conservation Award for his billfish efforts in Mexico and in 2008 he received the Billfish Foundation s Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award He is a founder past Vice

    Original URL path: https://www.igfa.org/Museum/HOF-Padilla.aspx (2016-02-11)
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