On August, 18th and 19th, 2008 our Awards Committee met in Hayward, Wis.
They consist of a very talented and devoted cross section of our fresh water sportfishing leaders. They are: Bill Gautsche (Wisconsin); Larry Colombo (Alabama); Clem Dippel (Wisconsin); Mike Dombeck (Wisconsin);
Elmer Guerri (Indiana); Tim Lesmeister (Minnesota); Gil Radonski (North Carolina); Vin Sparano (New Jersey); Burt Steinberg (Missouri); Wendy Williamson (Wisconsin); Forrest Wood (Arkansas); Bruce Holt (Washington)
and Gregg Wollner (Minnesota).
Many candidates were considered, but only a few were selected for this prestigious honor. The results are as follows:
Elected for 2009 Enshrinement
Considered are persons who have made a lasting National or World impact to the benefit of fresh water sportfishing.
Lennart Borgstrom – Sweden
Len has for many years been a driving force in the sportfishing industry and, of course, at ABU Garcia. Mr. Borgstrom was instrumental in bringing the ABU line to the United States at a price most Americans could afford. He was instrumental in forging the relationship between ABU and Zebco. Len was, at one time, both the president of ABU and Garcia. He even wrote and published a waltz, aptly titled, “The ABU Waltz.”
Phil Jensen – Oregon
Phil Jensen is president and now sole-owner of the family owned business, Luhr Jensen. Phil is the third son of the founder, Luhr Jensen, Sr. Phil has taken an active role in industry matters and has served on the board of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), as well as being past chairman of the Environmental Quality Committee and the Governmental Affairs Committee of that organization. Phil is a founding member and has served on the board of the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, a member of Trout Unlimited, the Izaak Walton League, the Northwest Association of Steelheaders, the Pacific Rivers Council and the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.
Forrest & Nina Wood – Arkansas
Forrest Lee Wood is known worldwide for his success in the sport fishing industry. In, 1968, he founded Ranger Boats, now the largest manufacturer of bass boats in the nation. Wood has thus become known as an “outdoor legend and the father of the modern bass boat.” In 1968, he began building lake boats, setting up shop in the back of a filling station. He made six boats that year and Forrest’s Ranger boats, named after the Army Rangers and the Texas Rangers, began to attract attention. On January 1, 1969, Wood and his employees moved into an old nightclub and made 600 boats. By 1970, sales had topped 1200. On May 4, 1971, the boat factory was destroyed by fire, though Wood managed to salvage sixty boat orders from his desk in the burning building. Remarkably, Ranger Boats was back in business within forty days. That year, Wood qualified for the first Bassmaster Classic, and the following year, Ranger was named, “the Official Bassmaster Classic boat.” It remained so through 2000. Even after selling Ranger Boats in 1987, Wood remained a legend in the sport fishing industry. In 1996, Operation Bass, a tournament organization, was renamed using Forrest’s initials, FLW. The FLW tournament circuits have been a major factor in boosting the popularity of sport fishing. They have been broadcast in some twenty-five countries around the world, appearing on ESPN, Fox Sports Network, Matchroom Sport
and the Armed Forces Network. In 1998, Governor Mike Huckabee appointed Wood to the Arkansas Game and Commission (AGFC), where he served a seven-year term, the last year as chairman. The AGFC, in 2005, named its new nature center in Jonesboro (Craighead County) the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center. Since 1951 Forrest and his wife Nina have rarely been separated. Forrest has always credited Nina as being his driving force and reason for their
success. It is for this reason that Forrest and Nina are being enshrined together.
Elected for 2009 Legendary Angler
Considered are persons who have had at least regional lasting impact benefiting fresh water sportfishing.
Bob Mehsikomer – Minnesota
Bob began fishing as a youngster and developed his fishing methods to make him a successful angler. Wishing to share his knowledge with others, he began to conduct seminars and speaking engagements. He then initiated a TV show “Thunder on the Water,” an instructional, ground breaking and entertaining fishing show. Bob further promoted, “Please Practice C.P.R. – “catch, photo and release, the future depends upon it.” Since 1990 his show has been known as “Simply Fishing.” Bob is a holder of several world record catches. He has produced at least 24 fishing instructional videos.
Bill Siemantel – California
As a youngster growing up in southern California, Bill couldn’t travel to the storied haunts of such legendary writers as Zane Grey or Ernest Hemingway to reach hallowed ground, but he could dream. He could dream of catching the biggest fish that swim wherever they called home. His dedication to big baits, specifically tubes and swim baits, has reordered how fishermen think. In southern California, tournament anglers quite literally had to battle Siemantel’s big bass theories on a weekly basis. For the most part, they lost. But, in a broader sense, they won something more valuable. They eventually realized that the next seminal moment in bass fishing had arrived. The era of big bass fishing, of actually being able to target bigger fish, on demand, was at hand. To this day, Bill’s incredible productivity continues unabated. While some struggle to find new ideas, Siemantel never seems to be lacking for inspiration. Instead of simply looking for the next big thing, he looks for solutions. When he finds them, he refines them and only then does he start the process of bringing a lure to the public. By the time an average fisherman gets a hold of a Bill Siemantel lure, it is a proven commodity.
Stu Tinney – Tennessee
Stu Tinney is named one of the 100 Living Legends of American Sport Fishing and is regarded as one of the nation’s top authorities on fresh water striped bass. A professional fishing guide, tackle designer, and lecturer, he has been featured in national outdoor magazines such as Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, as well as in newspapers coast-to-coast, television and radio shows and numerous outdoor films. He was the founder, editor and publisher of Striper Magazine and was the chief sponsor and organizer of fishing tournaments that not only raised money for charities, but also provided scientific data used today by all fisheries managers. Stu Tinney is a pioneer in the field of striped bass fishing. He is a promoter and educator of striped bass angling and is an inspiration; tackle designer, writer, publisher, professional angler and fishing educator. As a fishing guide on J. Percy Priest Reservoir in Nashville, Tennessee, Stu recognized an opportunity further promoting the tremendous potential of the striped bass as an economically valuable and dynamic game fish to the sport fishery for the benefit of anglers and state fishery programs nationwide. Stu’s efforts have benefited many state fisheries agencies allowing them to utilize information provided through his “Striper” organization. The result of this is better fisheries management programs affecting many different species of fish. Stu Tinney continues to design specialty
tackle and devise angling methods specially suited for catching striped bass to the benefit of anglers of all ages.
Elected for 2009 Legendary Guide
Considered are persons who have gained by their expertise and professionalism, a status of credibility and immortality judged so by their customers, the region and/or their peers.
Tony Allbright – Missouri
Tony Allbright was born in St. Louis and started fishing as a youngster with his parents and grandparents, plying the Meramec, Big and Bourbeuse Rivers as well as many small lakes and ponds near St. Louis. By 1961, at age 20, he “discovered” Bull Shoals Lake on the Missouri-Arkansas border. He fished it as often as possible, studying both the lake and the guides who led anglers on it—especially the late Bill Rose, truly a master guide. He experimented and learned the nuances of the big water and its various species of fish—everything from black bass to crappie to catfish to even gar when it got too hot to catch most anything else.
Tony shares his expertise and his “celebrity” often. He has been the honorary chairman of the annual International Union of Operating Engineers Charity Bass Tournament on Truman Lake, traveling to that sprawling impoundment at his own expense to help draw anglers. The tournament benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Tony Allbright truly is a legendary guide in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois and the surrounding states. Tony has done much to promote
sportfishing and good sportsmanship.
Tom Neustrom – Minnesota
Tom grew up in Chicago, close to the Lake Michigan waterfront, but that really wasn’t where this passion for fishing began. The Northern Illinois Chain of Lakes, located near the town of Antioch was kind of a breeding ground for Tom. As a very young boy, Tom and his family would drive nearly every weekend to Channel Lake and fish from dawn until dark. His Dad was instrumental in Tom’s fishing development and its continued growth. During the summer, the entire family would drive 450 miles to Northern Wisconsin for fishing adventures that truly paved the groundwork for Tom’s future. The family would head north to Wisconsin every year to the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes, north of Hayward. At 12, he was on the water every day and was a student of fishing and as Tom put it “school was in everyday.” He learned how to jig fish early on and is still considered one of the best in the country by his peers. Tom is considered the ultimate educator by his peers and his clients.
Elected for 2009 Legendary Communicator
Considered are persons who have developed a unique communication means or avenue, which was instrumental in introducing fishing to the public or in maintaining public interest or awareness.
Don Wallace – Oklahoma
All totaled, Don has had a 40 year career in broadcasting, both in radio and Television. Radio first, then he started the “Wallace Wildlife Show” in 1965 on WKY-TV in Oklahoma City, while he was still working full time on radio station WKY. After six years of doing both radio and TV (15 minute weekend show), plus promotional assignments from both entities, he began full-time on the Wallace Wildlife Show as a weekly 30 minutes prime-time or prime-time access show on Channel 4 in Oklahoma City. The show lasted another 17 years until his retirement in 1989. His show ran for a total of 23 years and was syndicated in parts of five states.Don wore many hats; he would film, edit, produce, sell, host and
syndicate for the show. He produced 40 new shows a year for a total of 929 shows and shot 800,000 feet of film in 23 years, having started out with an old (heavily used) Bell and Howell wind-up 16MM camera with one lens. His first camera cost him $25.00. In retrospect, Don says “It was the hardest job I ever loved.”Don won several writing awards from the OWAA in the “Television Communications” category. They were: *1974 – Deep Woods Award, 2nd place
*1976 – Deep Woods Award, 1st place *1977 – Deep Woods Award, 1st place In addition, Don won a 1st place award from the Sooner Outdoor Writers Association in 1974 for Outdoor Broadcasting.In 1980 Don received the “Governor’s Cup” award from the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association for his efforts in promoting Tourism in Oklahoma.
Elected for 2009 Legendary Artist
Considered are persons who’s creations introduce, encourage or inspire the enjoyment of fresh water fishing on a local, regional or national level.
Eldridge Hardie – Texas
Texas born Eldridge Hardie is well known to collectors of fine sporting art. His paintings and drawings enhance numerous books about shot gunning and angling. The have appeared in Sports Afield, Field and Stream, National Wildlife, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Sporting Classics, Double Gun Journal, Shooting Sportsman, Fly Fishing in Saltwaters, as well as other sporting magazines. His designs were chosen for two Texas Quail Stamps and a Texas Turkey Stamp. He was the inaugural Trout Unlimited Artist of the Year and an Atlantic Salmon Federation Artist of the Year.
The paintings of Eldridge Hardie—Art of a Life in Sport, a book spanning four decades of the artist’s career was published in 2002. Hardie was honored with the first ever one-man retrospective exhibit at The National Bird Dog Museum. He has exhibited at Artists of America, Great American Artists, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Gilcrease Museum, The C.M. Russell Museum and the American Museum of Flyfishing. He sums up his long career by saying, “I was born to hunt, fish and make art about these passions.”
Mark Hopkins – Colorado
Mark Hopkins is considered one of the premier sculptors in the United States today. From tabletop sculpture to monuments, his work is displayed in homes, offices, and public settings around the world.Mark Hopkin’s work is in everyway, a reflection of its creator. It reveals Mark’s total fascination with nearly every conceivable aspect of life: from history, children, sports, music and religion to wildlife of the land, sea and air. With a style so flowing and alive it has been called “bronze in motion,” the work is as passionate and expressive as the artist himself.In addition to his skill as an artist, Mark made himself a technical expert in the art of bronze casting. At his sculpture foundry, Mark monitors the casting process, insuring that the integrity of his work is maintained throughout its creation in bronze. With the help of many talented craftsmen, Mark endeavors to establish an enduring legacy of high-quality bronze sculpture.
Mark Hopkins constantly challenges himself to translate the richness of life and nobility of the human soul into enduring sculptural form. In his words, “I strive to express beyond the image, to catch spirit, to reveal deeper, emotions, and to share joy.” As he continues to rise to that challenge, his work is attaining an honored place in the history of art.Mark Hopkin’s sculptures are known the world over for their beautifully natural and flowing motion. While his work portrays a spontaneous moment in the life of its subject, it also portrays a spontaneous moment in the life of its subject, it also portrays the deep inner “spirit” of the human or animal being portrayed.
Ogden Pleissner – New York
Ogden Pleissner is best known for his paintings of the outdoors and gentlemen sports.Pleissner began studying at Manhattan’s Art Students League, under Frank DuMond and Frederick J. Boston. In 1932 the Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased an oil painting done by Pleissner, making him the youngest artist in the museum at the age of 27.After returning from World War II, Pleissner specialized in sport art. He had a gift for capturing the excitement of sport, whether it was hunting for grouse or fishing for salmon.Throughout his career, Pleissner believed “A fine painting is not just the subject. It is the feeling conveyed of form, bulk, space, dimension, and sensitivity. The mood of the picture is most important.” Pleissner demonstrates his belief through his obsession with exact composition and realistic depictions of human activity and anatomy.
Chet Reneson – Connecticut
Chet Reneson, watercolor artist for over 30 years, features hunting and fishing scenes in all seasons of the year. Those enjoying these activities are included in almost all his watercolors.Following art school, Reneson worked commercially for a number of years before selling his first painting in 1966. Among his heroes are Homer, Cezanne, Wyeth, Hopper and Van Gogh.Chet has the rare distinction of being named Artist of the Year by Duck Unlimited, Trout Unlimited and the Atlantic Salmon Federation.When pursuing atlantic salmon Chet says, “I like those rough Canadian rivers, like the George and the Whale. The fish are rough, tough and ready, and when I paint the rivers I make ‘em just as powerful and rugged, and mean and nasty as I can.”His watercolors of wildfowl hunting and salmon angling are so deft and dramatic he sells them as fast as he paints them. They show brooding skies, perky retrievers, raised shotguns, curling back casts, white explosions of water; the blazing foliage and dank marshes of autumn and winds and snow squalls you can almost feel hitting your cheeks.
Brett James Smith – Louisiana
If ever there was ever an artist who has captured today’s sporting experience with yesterday’s sense of adventure, it is Brett Smith. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Brett is now considered to be among the best in his field.In his early years, Brett was introduced to the sporting life by his grandfather who exposed him to the gentlemen’s sport of quail hunting in the longleaf pine country of east Texas.His early introduction to sporting art came from his father who worked professionally as an illustrator and moonlighting as a fine artist contributing paintings for covers of the early outdoor and western magazines. In college as a fine art major, he realized that the contemporary art curriculum would not equip him with the background needed to pursue the area that interested him most-commercial illustration.It was at that time that he enrolled in the Famous Artist School that stressed painting and drawing of the human figure and designing pictures that tell stories.Brett’s preferred medium is transparent watercolor or oil pants. The subject usually dictates the medium used. He uses oils for large complex scenes. Watercolors are used when more spontaneous results are desired.Brett’s paintings hang in some of the most prestigious collections throughout the country. His work has been featured in such publication’s as Gray’s Sporting Journal, Ducks Unlimited magazine, Sporting Classics, Shooting Sportsman, and Double Gun Journal.
Bob White – Minnesota
Bob White is an artist whose work is an expression of a misspent youth. He paints in the classic style of those who illustrated the sporting books and magazines he was reading when he should have been doing his homework. A professional guide and artist for two decades, he has spent countless hours researching sportsmen and women in action; from the wilderness of Alaska and his rural Minnesota home to the wide-reaching expanses of Argentina.Bob has been influenced by such masters as Homer, Sargent and Fournier, and by more recent artist such as Pleissner, Jacques and Sloane. He works watercolors, oils, pencil and ink, grasping the essence of a scene in a brief sketch. His ability to capture a fleeting moment through the eyes of the sportsman has won him worldwide acclaim. His work hangs in the private and corporate collections of sportsmen on six continents.Bob was awarded Guide of the Year in 1988 by Fly Rod & Reel Magazine. As the 1994 Artist of the Year for the Alaska State Parks Foundation, Bob produced and donated the artwork for the first Alaska State Parks Foundation print. His work has been presented twice in Fly Rod & Reel Magazine’s Gallery. Bob has been featured as a guide and artist on ESPN’s “Fly Fishing the World” and “Fly Fishing America,” as well as on Ron Schara’s “Minnesota Bound.”
2009 Organizational/Governmental Award
Considered are organizations or governmental entities, which have demonstrated and/or performed a valuable service or act to benefit fresh water sportfishing within its jurisdiction or the boundaries of its organization whether local, regional or national.
Ohio Division of Wildlife – Fish Ohio Program
The Ohio Division of Wildlife created the “Fish Ohio Program” in 1980. They have awarded thousands of Fish Ohio pins each year for outstanding catches. This program has promoted a great deal of interest and participation in fishing in the state of Ohio. This program has probably become the best means for promoting the sport of fishing in Ohio.
2009 Special Recognition Award
Recognizes individuals, groups or organizations for their programs enefiting fresh water angling which clearly are not covered by other recognition categories.
Irwin Jacobs – Minnesota
Mr. Jacobs is Chairman of Genmar Holdings, Inc. Today, with 14 premier boat brands, approximately 4,500 employees and 8 manufacturing centers in the United States and Canada, Genmar is one of the world’s largest builders of recreational boats and the industry’s technological leader.Among his personal accomplishments, Mr. Jacobs underwrote and served as Chairman of the 1991 International Summer Special Olympic Games, which were held in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Jacobs has personally funded the buildings, furnishings and overall operations of Dells Place, a group home for developmentally challenged individuals. He is a major supporter of the Pacer Center, a local non-profit organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and training of developmentally challenged individuals; Functional Industries, an occupational workshop for physical and mentally disable individuals and The Art Center of Minnesota.
Billy Chapman, Jr. – Texas
ew men have had a greater impact on the world of bass fishing than Billy Chapman, Jr.Today thousands of bass fishermen have had the good fortune to sample the tremendous bass fishing now available in Mexico. Most know that Chapman is the owner/operator of Anglers Inn Lodges on Lake El Salto and Lake Mateos.What many fail to realize is that Chapman is also the man who led the way in providing the wondrous bass fishing now available in these and other Mexican lakes.It was Billy’s father—Billy Chapman, Sr.—who first introduced Florida strain largemouth bass to Mexican waters. Once he was reunited with his dad it wasn’t long before Chapman started working as a guide. That was his first step. The second was to begin work as a booking agent. This energetic young man did his guiding in the wintertime and his booking for the following season in the warm months of the summer.Mexican bass fishing is just one of the doors Chapman has opened for the world’s anglers. He was still in his 20’s when he expanded his bookings to include fishing for the fantastic peacock bass and other fresh water species of the Amazon River and its tributaries in Venezuela. Within his first five years in the jungle he supervised the construction of the first two bass lodges in that area of the Amazon.
Capt. Sam Romano – Illinois
Sam was a pioneer in the success story of salmon fishing in the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Michigan. His interest and energy were the catalyst in forming the first charter fishing organization in Illinois. He was co-founder of the Chicago Sport fishing Association. Initially he served as secretary, then vice president from 1978-84 and then as president from 1984 until 1994. In addition he was the co-founder of the National Association of Charter Boat Operators and served as a director from 1993 until 1996. Captain Romano also served as the Illinois director to the Great Lakes Sport fishing Council a basin wide organization to promote the health and welfare of the Great Lakes.In Sam’s 30 years as a charter captain he introduced thousands to sport fishing. Not only was his interest in Lake Michigan, but he had a real passion for getting youth involved in the outdoors, especially in the world of fishing. To this extent, he prevailed on the Chicago Park District to hold an annual youth fishing derby, which ran the entire summer. He involved tackle manufacturers, so the kids would have tackle available for them to use. This fishing derby continues to this day and is one of the most successful programs in the park district.He has also played the role of educator, conducting many seminars around the city of Chicago the adjoining suburbs.Sadly, Sam suffered a fatal heart attack after rescuing his wife and son from a house fire in the year 2000.
Edward (Ed) Makauskas – Illinois
In the mid-1970’s Ed served a 2-year term as President of Salmon Unlimited, a Lake Michigan sport fishing/conservation organization of over 2,000 members. During this time the recently created Salmonid fishery was blossoming and there were many hurdles to clear to properly manage this resource. Ed’s leadership and council helped the government agencies responsible for devoloping this fishery, clear many of those hurdles.Following his term as Salmon Unlimited President, Ed served as the club’s representative on the Illinois Conservation Congress, attending numerous meetings and helping to find solutions to problems vexing the Illinois and Michigan fishery.Ed also served on the Illinois Hatchery Advisory Commission. This commission’s efforts eventually led to the building of the Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery, which produces all the salmon and trout annually stocked in Illinois waters, as well as many cool and warm water species.As notable as all these important accomplishments have been, perhaps Ed’s most important work came after he was appointed, in 1980, by the Governor of Illinois to the Federal Great Lakes Fishery Commission, (G.L.F.C.), where he continues to serve as a sport fishing advisor to the Commissioner.