In the world of fish and fishing, it’s important not only to get updated of the current news but also to learn a bit of history and the people. So, why don’t you check your list and find out if yours hit the top list of the world’s most famous and best anglers!
Top #11 Andy Mill
Placing in the eleventh of the most famous anglers that you should know is Andy Mill. He took a variety of career–broadcasting, writing and is a renowned world class downhill ski racer. But not only that, Mill is also a known Tarpon lover. He even has an endearment for it, which he calls “poon”.
Checking up his fishing stats, he’s best and killed fly rod tournaments with more wins than anyone. He is the only angler to have won a Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit tournament on the fly. Andy Mill has so much love for his first love that he wrote an award-winning book, A Passion for Tarpon.
It’s incredible to fall in love with fishing just because of a string. Yes, you heard it right, a string but no ordinary string because it was by Ernie Schwiebert. Goodman Ernie helped him with his first attempt at casting. The string was his love at first sight but it was the first trout that dropped the bomb to make Mill fall for fishing more.
This master and lover of Tarpon grew up in Aspen, Colorado. Mill described it as the place with the greatest mountains in the world. It’s full of ice good for skiing and when summer’s in, it’s the best for fishing that he would even spend his entire summers on the Roaring Fork River chasing fish till dusk.
During his childhood, Andy Mill dreamed of winning at night. He dreamed Big and for that, he spent decades of learning fishing with the best mentors and guides he could possibly find. He spends a lot of time fishing and fished 40 days a year chasing Tarpons.
Colorado was his playground! So, what do you know, maybe you should play too! Don’t take fishing too hard. You should enjoy it and have fun. That’s what Andy Mill did and look where it got him now—a five-time Gold Cup winner which is the biggest fly rod tarpon tournament just so you know.
And just like any other anglers out there, he also failed and lose but he manned up and was restless, determined to win. Andy Mill was full of hope. He finds a lot of hope with fishing and that’s why he loves doing it. He’s like a child hoping for a sunny day, for plenty of fish to be around and for them to take the bait and take a bite! Andy Mill has that child in him but also he has that determination and commitment of a man and that’s what you should be.
Top #10 Joe Brooks
Next, that landed the tenth spot is Joe Brooks. If you’re a fly fishing fanatic then you must have known this guy. Well, he’s just the guy who coined the term sportsman and not only that; he’s just the father of modern fly fishing! He practically pioneered everything in fly fishing, popularized and expanded fly fishing than any other individual.
This man is a star! He appeared and hosted on the very first outdoors TV series ‘The American Sportsman‘ in the 1960s. Joe brooks also wrote different articles and books about how to start to fly fishing and the techniques in fly fishing. He was born into a family of businessmen. He worked and tried but he was not definitely happy about it.
So Joe brooks pursued his two passions- writing and fishing! Hmm. There’s something fishy going on in here, don’t you think? Andy Mill and Joe Brooks, they’re quite alike. They’re both known writers and loves fishing so much. Joe Brooks knows what he wants. He listens to what his heart says— he loves fly fishing!
Joe Brooks loved it so much that he shared it with the world by teaching and mentoring traveling to different places like Argentina and the Everglades; exploring new ways or techniques using a fly in catching new and different fish species that wasn’t been tried or caught before. And that’s what makes Joe Brooks legendary!
Top #9 Michael Lerner
Coming in at number nine is the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) founder Michael Lerner, a researcher and one of the greatest anglers of the early times. Lerner and his wife set out a variety of fishing expeditions to explore and study different types of fish species, even those who haven’t seen the light of day. His works provided knowledge and understanding about the saltwater game fish and proved to be an important source not only for anglers but for scholars, biologists, and conservationist. Lerner was also honored in the IGFA’s Hall of Fame and received numerous award from different international bodies for his contributions in the scientific and angler community.
Top #8 Ray Scott
What’s your world’s favorite game fish? It’s the Bass! Bass became popular because of Ray Scott. He influenced a lot of anglers and even people who are not yet inclined to fishing to indulge into bass fishing through his television shows. He is known for the man who changed recreational fishing into a multi-billion dollar industry. He inspired a lot of people at home to fishing by letting them feel the joy of fishing while these people are watching TV! Scott was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the IGFA for his works, expanding the modern-day bass angling.
Top #7 David Moore
Now, down to number seven of the most famous is David Moore, a native Oklahoman angler whose name was included in the top 20 best anglers on the planet of the OurdoorLife. Moore who was a former Bass angler found Carp fishing more interesting. He participated at the World Carp Championship in 1999 and 2012 and at the 2009 World Carp Classic held in France. Moore and his fishing partner landed a total weight of 377lbs. 12 oz. at Nature’s Trophies Carp Challenge in 2010!
In 2004 he received a lifetime achievement award from the Carp Anglers Group for his dedication in promoting American Carp angling. He is the co-founder of American Carp Society who has a mission to change the Carp’s image and serves as a tournament director for Carp Tournament events.
Top #6 Curt Gowdy
Curtis Edward Gowdy, the only man behind the voice of every major sports event! Gowdy has both passion for announcing and fishing. He’s the famous American sportscaster of NBC Sports and has covered many nationally televised sporting events. He spearheaded the creation of “The American Sportsman” which is the first fishing show on television. Curt Gowdy has a total of 22 Halls of Fame from different award giving bodies in different fields, one of which is the International Fishing Hall of Fame in 1981, IGFA Hall of Fame in 2003 and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2005.
Top #5 John Wilson
Taking the number five spot is the best-known angler throughout Europe, John Wilson. He’s an angler for over sixty years, honoured and inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010 by the IGFA. In 1986, he started his show “Go Fishing” that ran for 18 years. Wilson inspired many of his viewers and readers to start and to rekindle their long lost love for fishing. He was recognized as the sole force behind the revival of sports fishing in the UK and was given a title as the “Greatest Angler of All Time” by the Britain’s weekly Angling Times.
Top #4 Mike Iaconelli
You’re almost at the top and the list is almost over. Mike Iaconelli was born in Philadelphia, is a professional Bass fisherman who won the 2003 Bassmaster Classic. He began fishing at a young age in the Pocono Mountains. He founded the “Top Rod Bassmasters”, a bass fishing club where he started participating in tournaments. In one of his tournaments, the Federation tournament, he broke a record of 19.58 pounds! And it was at the 1999 Bassmaster Classic that he finished in on the sixth place, Iaconelli received his first major sponsors.
He continued to bag his success and hauled in more than 4,000 pounds of bass, snagged five tournament wins and finished in the top ten for about 44 times! He is still on the top of his career, mastering the art and continuing his pursuit for the win. In 2014, Mike won the Bassmaster Elites at Delaware River and currently hosting “IKE LIVE!” a fishing talk show that features professional anglers in bass fishing and other fishing fanatics.
Top #3 Zane Grey
A one-time holder of over a dozen saltwater records, who is he? He is born on January 31, 1872, author and known for his popular adventure novels The Last of the Plainsmen and Riders of the Purple Sage. Got it? Do you need more clues? How about the first fisherman to drag around 471kg Pacific Blue Marlin? It’s Pearl Zane Grey!
Zane Grey contributed and popularized big-game fishing. He was a writer at the Outdoor Life magazine. He was inducted and received the IGFA’s Hall of Fame for his pursuits and contributions to the recreational fishing world. He mastered the methods to catch the elusive broadbill swordfish. He’s a devoted saltwater angler who spent most of his time in fishing earning him to triumph and become a champion in game fishing!
Top #2 Roland Martin
With over six decades of fishing experience in the water, one of the most decorated and a celebrated fisherman in the history of bass fishing is Roland Martin. He is considered as one of the found fathers of modern bass fishing. Martin was one of the first anglers to introduce and popularized the idea of patterning fish. Like many famous anglers, Martin’s light just shines brightly. He has TV shows on NBC, sharing his tricks and tips to young, less experienced anglers and avid viewers. He also has his fair share of fishing success winning in tournaments, a 19 pro tournament wins, almost 100 top 10 finishes and 20-second place B.A.S.S. finishes. He was also entitled nine times as the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year!
Top #1 Ernest Hemingway
Guess who’s the number one list of the world’s most famous and best anglers that you should know. It’s (keep the drum roll going) Ernest Hemingway! So, what’s Hemingway’s secret that put him at the top spot? Maybe it’s Northern Michigan!
Northern Michigan was his Eden. He adopted his father’s outdoor hobbies like hunting, fishing, and camping in the wood and lakes but it’s his personality and constant pursuit of adventure that shaped him into the man that he was. He found solace and serenity in the forest or in wading a stream. He was three when he started fishing and ventured into deep sea fishing in his early 30s. He won every organized fishing tournament. Incredibly, he caught one of the largest Marlins of all times weighing almost 533kg!
Other than that he is a Nobel Prize winner. He also received a Pulitzer award and is considered one of the great American 20th century novelists but did you know that he almost missed his wedding just so he could enjoy fishing in Sturgeon River? Well, good thing he got his wife really hooked up or else it would be another case of a runaway bride or in this case a busy fishing groom!
Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises and the famous Old Man and the Sea are just a few of his great works. You can check out these stories and try to read them. They’re full of adventure and fishing from real life experiences of the writer himself—his childhood memories, experiences, and his love for the place where he grew up and his passion for fishing. These stories did not only change literature forever, it also instilled enthusiasm and stirred up curiosity and appreciation for the art of fishing.
You like fishing because you felt solace and connection with nature. You have the right quality of an angler but not yet the quality of the best angler. You know you have it in you. So, if you want to be like these guys, loved by fans, and you want to inspire people, teach them how to fish, entice them to fishing, the answer is just simple, learn from the lives of those who were before you.
Like Andy Mill give in to the child that’s in you– DREAM and HOPE. Like Joe Brooks, you must find your happiness—LISTEN to your heart. Like Michael Lerner, Don’t be afraid to EXPLORE; ENCOURAGE like Ray Scott; EMBRACE CHANGE like what David Moore did. BELIEVE in yourself and NEVER QUIT like Iaconelli and the rest of these best anglers. Drive that passion and have FUN!