TYLER, Texas — There is a Hall of Fame for just about every sport. And in Texas, we've got one for freshwater fishing.
The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is looking for its next members and is accepting nominations.
Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Director Tom Lang says Hall of Fame members all have one thing in common.
“These are the all the people, organizations and partners who have contributed to what makes Texas the best fishing destination in the world," Lang said.
More than three dozen anglers and organizations make up the Hall of Fame. The recently renovated hall is inside the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
Plaques, interactive displays, and a newly added members spotlight, highlight Hall of Famers such as Ed Bonn. He’s credited with bringing striper and hybrid stripe bass to Texas.
It’s not just anglers but also writers, scientists and organizations including he Lake Fork Sportsmen Association.
The history of Texas fishing traced through a series of interactive touchscreens.
Lang walked us through one of the interactive displays. It was Bob Kemp who was the division director of the inland fisheries division back in 1972. He’s credited with helping pave the way to bring Florida largemouth bass to Texas.
Lang recalls how Kemp stepped up when the budget was tight.
"When we first started stocking them in 1972, Kemp actually paid for those fish out of his own pocket. That’s leadership and we wouldn’t have the fishing today it wasn’t for guys like Bob Kemp."
Shane Wilson is the most recent inductee. He founded “Fishing’s Future." The retired school-teacher’s initiative led to thousands of families reconnecting through fishing.
Next month Gary Klein will be enshrined. Klein’s four-decade career includes 500 pro-level tournaments. Klein helped develop Major League Fishing.
And we can’t forget Sugar Farris. She co-founded "Bass n’ Gals," the first women’s pro bass circuit.
Lang sums up the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Hall of Fame like this:
“A lot of just tremendous things and we get to remember them here and honor them here and teach a little bit about our history and hopefully not just recognize and honor them but also inspire others to step up and do their part with whatever their background is to support great fishing in Texas.”
Do you know someone you think would be worthy of Hall of Fame honors, click here to nominate them! Nominations are being accepted through November 1, 2022.. The winner will be announced in the spring of 2023.