A beloved angler and huge part of the fishing community in the Ozarks died Friday night in Northern Arkansas, and another was injured when their bass boat collided with the U.S. Highway 62/412 bridge on Norfork Lake near Henderson, Ark. The deceased angler was identified as Max Atkinson of Mountain Home, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. His fishing partner, Steve Curtis was carried to an unmentioned Missouri hospital.
Atkinson was one the truly great guys in bass fishing around the Ozarks. He was very active in his community and with the school systems as a Farm Bureau agent in the Baxter County area, and he absolutely loved bass fishing. Everyone from that area have been posting tributes after this tragic accident. You can tell from those posts how much the angling community loved him.
According to an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesperson, Atkinson was driving the boat when they struck the bridge. They were fishing the Friday Night Buddy Bass-O-Thon Tournament and they crashed around midnight Friday night. Authorities said both anglers wore personal flotation devices, and alcohol was not a factor in the collision.
Game and Fish is still investigating the accident in cooperation with several local authorities and volunteer fire departments that responded to the call that night. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and that angling community.