Born in Sanford, Florida, in 1954, Bernie Schultz spent his youth along the shores of Lake Markham, and the Wekiva and St. Johns Rivers. Having few childhood companions within reach of his family’s lakeside home, he entertained himself by spending countless hours on the water or in the woods.
At age 14, his parents relocated to Miami, Florida, where he discovered the world of inshore saltwater angling. His father owned and operated Sunny Acres Fish & Poultry Market in Coconut Grove. This opened the door for fishing adventures with the commercial fishermen that supplied his father’s market.
After high school, he ventured back to north-central Florida to attend college at the University of Florida. His childhood interest in art had also developed and
he was now enrolled in the College of Fine Arts. It was there that he befriended one of his instructors who introduced him to the local bass club. Through this club, Schultz discovered the world of competitive fishing.
Since graduating college in 1979, Schultz has become one of Florida’s most accomplished anglers. His achievements include two Canadian and two U.S. titles, while qualifying for eight Bassmasters Classics and five FLW Championships – the sport’s highest levels of competition.
His pursuit of saltwater angling has also expanded. Over the years, Schultz has participated in numerous light-tackle tournaments around Florida, including many charitable events like the RedBone Series for Cystic Fibrosis.
When not on the water, he can usually be found in his studio producing art related to angling. Serving as a freelance illustrator, his works appear regularly in various magazines and books dedicated to the sport, such as Bassmaster and BASS Times. He is also a longtime columnist to Florida Sportsman magazine. Schultz is a devoted conservationist, concerned with the preservation of Florida’s fisheries. He has donated considerable time and original art to the Coastal Conservation Association.
Schultz is also an educator and promoter of angling. He conducts instructional seminars and clinics across the country at sports shows and angling club appearances. He serves as an advisor to several tackle and marine industry manufacturers, and he has been instrumental in the design of many highly successful products.
He has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, and has hosted six foreign instructional fishing videos for Shimano, both on bass and light-tackle saltwater angling. Recently, he hosted a series for ESPN called The Lure Collector – a ten-part series on antique tackle. Schultz has a keen interest in vintage tackle and studying the lore of the sport. He spends countless hours pursuing and researching what he calls “the tools of his trade.”
Currently, Schultz competes on both the BASS and FLW pro tours. He remains a consistent performer and has become one of the most sought after professionals in the business.