The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors announced this week that five individuals, each of whom has made a substantial mark on the sport of bass fishing, have been selected for induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The Class of 2019, with formal induction ceremonies taking place at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield on Thursday, September 19, 2019, includes three stars of professional bass fishing — Mark Davis of Mt. Ida, Ark., David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., and Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C. – along with noted artist/illustrator, the late Chris Armstrong, and the founder of Zoom Bait Company, the late Ed Chambers. The inductees were nominated by supporters of the Hall of Fame and elected by a 30- member panel of sportfishing industry leaders, members of the outdoor media, professional anglers and current inductees of the Hall of Fame. “All these men, in both what they have done and continue to do, reflect perfectly on the Hall’s mission to celebrate, promote and preserve the sport of bass fishing,” said John Mazurkiewicz, vice president of the Hall of Fame Board and Nominations Committee chair. “We are confident that the selection process first implemented last year helps ensure that we will continue to induct the most deserving bass fishing innovators and pioneers.”
The five will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame museum, which opened in November 2017 within theWonders of Wildlife complex at the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield. On display in the museum are artifacts, photos and biographical information about 71 members of the Hall of Fame who have been inducted since 2001.
“Many have said the annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame enshrinement dinner has become a must-attend event for anyone interested in bass fishing,” said Donald Howell, BFHOF Board president. “Last year’s event was sold out and we expect that this year’s class will draw an equally vibrant and star-studded crowd as we honor the newest members of the Hall of Fame.”
Information on event and table sponsorships, dinner seats and tickets for a special VIP unveiling reception, along with details about the Hall and its mission are available at www.BassFishingHOF.com, or by contacting BFHOF executive director Barbara Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ed Chambers – (1940 – 2018)
While working full time selling and repairing jukeboxes and pinball machines, Ed Chambers turned his hobby of pouring plastic worms that he couldn’t find anywhere else into a business. That endeavor became the Zoom Bait Company, one of the most popular, respected and copied creators of soft plastics the sport has known. Chambers was integral in the development of numerous colors and lure styles that became industry staples, including “pumpkinseed,” the Brush Hog and the Super Fluke, and his products have contributed to literally millions of dollars in tournament winnings. He remained active in product development at Zoom well into his seventies. His other “hobby,” carving hand-made crankbaits, produced the “WEC” lineup of lures, which have become the most sought-after custom crankbaits in the fishing industry.
Davis fished his first Bassmaster tournament at 23 years old, but by that point he’d been guiding on waters near his Arkansas home for a decade. He has continued to compete as a touring pro for more than three decades and has earned wins on multiple circuits.
His three Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles put him in elite company, but he is best known for becoming the first pro to win the Bassmaster Classic and the AOY title in the same calendar year. That magical season earned him an invitation to the White House.
His influence has been substantial on lure design and he has helped to popularize a number of products including the Bomber Fat Free Shad. He is also heavily involved in youth activities and most recently has led the Mt. Ida High School Fishing Club to numerous titles while contributing to the birth of the Arkansas Bassmaster High School Series.
Fritts is one of the handful of anglers who have won both the Bassmaster Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup, and he furthermore won the Angler of the Year title on both of those major circuits. While his five B.A.S.S. wins and six FLW Tour victories speak for themselves and provide an unimpeachable record, Fritts is perhaps better known as the leading deep cranking practitioner the sport has ever known. In an era when electronics were comparatively rudimentary, he dominated the offshore game. He contributed to the development of numerous products used in that pursuit and continues to be an innovator today.
Davy Hite took a risk, giving up a rock-solid career in the SC National Guard to pursue his dream of becoming a professional angler. Over the course of twenty-four seasons he excelled, winning two Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, the 1999 Bassmaster Classic and the 1998 FLW Forrest Wood Cup. His ledger includes eight Bassmaster victories along with the FLW Championship.
After retiring from competition upon the conclusion of the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series season, Hite slid seamlessly into a new role as a co-host on Bassmaster LIVE and The Bassmasters TV show.
Davy serves on the Board of Trustees for the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a charitable organization whose mission is to provide the means for fathers to be great dads. He also donates his time to a number of other worthy organizations. Without a doubt, Davy considers his greatest accomplishment in life to be the two remarkable sons he and Natalie have been blessed to call their own.
Chris Armstrong – (1948 – 2014)
During a career as a freelance artist that spanned over three decades, the incredibly prolific Chris Armstrong made bass fishing come to life for generations of anglers. He was raised in Florida and earned a degree at the Ringling School of Art before joining the staff of the Jacksonville Times- Union.
He started contributing to B.A.S.S. publications in 1981 and went on to illustrate techniques, lures and the lifestyle of bass fishing for all of the sport’s leading publications. His work appeared in almost every issue of Bassmaster magazine for 30 years, and it has graced the pages of B.A.S.S. Times, In-Fisherman, Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, North American Fisherman, Western Outdoors and countless others.
He illustrated numerous books on bass fishing and produced educational materials for both tackle retailers and manufacturers.