SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The last week of September was a quite an emotional week in the bass fishing world — there were moments where tears flowed.
The Daily Limit made a road trip to see B.A.S.S. coworkers inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, and the finale was a dramatic final day on the college circuit where one angler realized his dream of qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic.
Five of the eight men inducted Sept. 30 at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife have ties with B.A.S.S, two of them Classic champs and the other three big cogs in the world’s largest bass fishing organization.
Delayed a year because of the pandemic, the induction of the 2020 class was held in a ceremony with the 2021inductees. The former group was comprised of Bryan Kerchal, Jay Yelas, Ron Lindner, James Heddon and Steve Bowman. This year’s selections were Jason Lucas and B.A.S.S. employees Gene Gilliland and Trip Weldon.
Kerchal, the 1994 Classic champ on High Rock Lake, remains the only angler to win after qualifying from the B.A.S.S. Nation. Here’s a feature story on The life of Bryan Kerchal, and check out this slideshow of the Connecticut angler whose life ended way too soon.
Jay Yelas, a current Elite Series pro, was a dominant force in both B.A.S.S. and FLW. He won the 2002 Classic on Lay Lake and followed up with a Bassmaster Angler of the Year title in 2003, one of his three AOY titles. He earned more than $1 million on both circuits and might be the nicest guy on tour, prompting comparisons to Mr. Rogers in this feature. His latest passion is serving as executive director of the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, which puts children with special needs on the water.
Editor's note: See images from the BFHOF inductions ceremony.
Ron Lindner was co-founder of In-Fisherman with younger brother Al, who together built a fishing empire with magazine and TV and radio shows. Ron Lindner died just months after learning of his BFHOF induction, one of many halls he’s in. Read about the angling innovator and educator.
James Heddon was credited with creating wooden lures in the late 1800s, and his namesake company went on to revolutionize bass fishing. The Daily Limit recognized the great achievements by both Lindner and Heddon in this post.