SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Possibly the most telling line of the night had been delivered some two centuries earlier.
Dr. James A. Henshall, author of Book of the Black Bass published in 1881, wrote, “I consider him, inch for inch and pound for pound, the gamest fish that swims.”
Repeated by emcee Dave Mercer, that summed up why more than 400 of the bass fishing industry’s luminaries gathered for the 2018 induction ceremony of the National Bass Fishing Hall of Fame at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium.
The six new inductees included two bass fishing stars, Kevin VanDam and Gary Klein, as well as former B.A.S.S. CEO Helen Sevier and veteran outdoors and Bassmaster TV host Tommy Sanders.
Along with Henshall, who is considered the father of bass fishing, Berkley Bedell, the founder of Berkley and Co. which has grown to massive product lines under the Pure Fishing umbrella, came from Naples, Fla., for the ceremony.
“It’s a wonderful industry in that we can make a job out of what most of us would like to do even if we didn’t get paid for it,” the 97-year-old said. “I’m one of those lucky people who’ve done that.”