Forrest Lee Wood is known worldwide for his success in the sport fishing industry. In 1968, he founded Ranger Boats, now the largest manufacturer of bass boats in the nation. Wood has thus become known as an “outdoor legend” and the father of the modern bass boat.
In 1955, Wood began work as a private guide on Bull Shoals Lake, the White River, Buffalo River, and Crooked Creek. He became well known throughout the region as a top fishing guide. In 1968, he began building lake boats, setting up shop in the back of a filling station. He made six boats that year, and Forrest’s Ranger boats, named after the Army Rangers and the Texas Rangers, began to attract attention. On January 1, 1969, Wood and his employees moved into an old nightclub and made 600 boats. By 1970, sales had topped 1200.
On May 4, 1971, the boat factory was destroyed by fire, though Wood managed to salvage sixty boat orders from his desk in the burning building. Remarkably, Ranger Boats was back in business within forty days. That year, Wood qualified for the first Bassmaster Classic, and the following year, Ranger was named “the official Bassmaster Classic boat.” It remained so through 2000. Even after selling Ranger Boats in 1987, Wood remained a legend in the sport fishing industry.
In 1996, Operation Bass, a tournament organization, was renamed using Forrest’s initials, FLW. The FLW tournament circuits have since seen major success in boosting the popularity of sport fishing and have been broadcast in some twenty-five countries around the world, appearing on ESPN, Fox Sports Network, Matchroom Sport, and the Armed Forces Network.
Wood has been inducted into the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, International Boating Hall of Fame, National Marine Manufacturers Hall of Fame, Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame, Arkansas Game and Fish Hall of Fame, Arkansas Walk of Fame, and the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. More recently, he received the 2007 Golden Glow Award presented by the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.
As of 2008, Wood and his wife reside in Flippin, where they oversee an extensive cattle operation. In 2005, they opened to the public the Forrest L. Wood Outdoor Sports Gallery, displaying a collection of personal and Ranger memorabilia, including some early boat models.
Cobb, William H. Commonwealth College. In The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History &
Culture. Retrieved October 21, 2004
Jerry McKinnis, known as one of the most influential people in the outdoor fishing industry, created The Fishin’ Hole, a television show that aired for 44 years and was the longest running show on ESPN, behind SportsCenter.
More recently, McKinnis, along with two partners, purchased B.A.S.S., a 47-year-old company that encompasses Bassmaster Magazine, The Bassmasters TV show, the Bassmaster.com website, the Bassmaster Elite Series and other professional bass tournament trails, and the 500,000-member Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.
Truly a legend in the field of outdoors television, his ideas helped launch the FLW Tour, ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games, The Spanish Fly with Jose Wejebe, the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup and the Quiznos Madfin shark fishing tournament series. Additionally, Mckinnis developed and produced the Stihl Timberports Series and introduced the programming block concept to television. In 2001, he took over production of The Bassmasters on ESPN.
McKinnis’ strength has always been building teams of professionals while keeping a keen eye on opportunities for new programs and properties. He was on the ground floor with ESPN on properties such as ESPNOutdoors.com, the number one outdoor news web site in the world and was first to provide outdoor programming for the 1993 launch of ESPN2.
Throughout the years, he has been executive producer of over twenty different shows.
McKinnis, 73, has been inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame, the National Fishing Hall of Fame and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. He sits on the Arkansas Game & Fish Foundation board.
He is a resident of Flippin, Arkansas, although he splits his time between there and Little Rock, where his businesses are located.
In 1971, Bobby Murray won the first Bassmaster Classic. This put Murray on the bass fishing map, and has kept him there for 40 years. At 25, Bobby won the sport’s first world championship on Nevada’s Lake Mead in the fall of 1971. At this time, no one really knew where the sport was going or where it might take them.
That first Classic was a milestone for Murray. The winner-take-all format would give him $10,000, and helped jump start Murray into a career in the fishing industry — first as a tournament professional, but later as a tackle industry representative, television host and public relations professional. 40 years later, Murray is still a top name and brand in the industry
Bobby didn’t just win the first Classic, but also the 1978 championship on Mississippi’s Ross Barnett Reservoir.
He finished in the top 10 in the Classic four different times and in the top 10 of the AOY race seven times.
Being inducted in 2001, Murray was a first ballot hall of famer, — the very first year of the organization’s existence.
Billy Murray advocates fishing as a lifetime sport. There are few people in the fishing industry that have as well rounded fishing background. Billy started his fishing career over forty years ago as a fishing guide in Arkansas. Billy and his twin brother, Bobby, became two of the most successful, competitive fishermen in the U.S., winning titles from State Championships to the Bass Masters Classic.
Since that time he worked as a cinematographer in production of the “Fishing Hole” TV Series starring Jerry McKinnis. Billy has fished everywhere imaginable. He also has authored many articles, publications and books on the sport of fishing and designed products for several tackle and boat companies. He was founder and director of the nation’s largest fishing education program, The Bass Fishing Institute, conducted in many major universities across the United States.
Due to his countless contributions in the field of fishing, Billy was elected to the Sport Fishing Hall of Fame in 1986. His piers attribute his tremendous success to his down-to-earth approach to fishing as well as his ability to relate to the fishing public. Billy and Bobby were hosts for the fishing series, “People Who Fish”, which aired on the Outdoor Channel. Billy has worked for Pradco Outdoor Brands for 30 years and has been involved in creating many of the lures and techniques that fishermen are using today all over the country.
Spence Petros is one of North America’s most versatile and well-respected anglers. Author, fishing educator, magazine editor, guide, tournament angler, tackle designer, seminar speaker, and veteran of over 125 television shows, including three years on ESPN’s national show “The Outdoor Writers.”
In 1989 Petros was inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and is listed among the “Living Legends of American SportFishing,” a book authored by Larry Columbo profiling 100 of the top people in the sportfishing industry.
Spence was the editor of Fishing Facts magazine for 22 years, which was the first magazine to promote the concepts of “structure fishing” and give its readers a solid game plan to really understand how fish react to weather, and water conditions and the underwater terrain. He has taught fishing classes in the Chicago area for 41 years and has helped many anglers get started in the fishing industry. Petros has written for most of the leading fishing publications and is a regular guest on a number of TV shows. He also guides for bass on Southern Wisconsin lakes and hosts various fishing trips to Canada and Louisiana. Visit his website at spencepetros.com.
Kyle is a full time crappie guide in Southern Illinois and tournament pro. He guides full time on Rend Lake, Kinkaid Lake, and Lake of Egypt. Sponsors are B’n'M, Road Runner, Tru Turn Hooks, Lowrance, Titelok, Midsouth Tackle, and Engels Coolers. Some of Kyle’s tournament highlights include:
-Top 3 at the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters National Championship 2010 – 2012
-Top 10 in 5 out of 6 National Championships since 2010
-2012 Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Alabama State Champions
-2011 SICA Classic Champion
-6 – 1st place finishes
-23 - Top 3 finishes
-Top 5 in overall points in the 2012 Crappie Masters Trail
Saturday, Feb. 28: 11:00 am, 4:00 pm
Sunday, March 1: 11:00 am
Joe Thomas, grew up in southwestern Ohio with dreams of becoming a bass fishing pro.Before long Joe was beating anglers twice his age in some of the toughest fisheries. He would become a professional in 1980 and by 1990 he had won the prestigious All American Championship on Lake Erie. Joe is also Co-Author to “Diary of a Bass Pro” published in 1992. After gaining attention from experts he was offered and began producing “Angler on Tour” in 2001. Joe is a 30-year Tournament veteran and Outdoor Channel TV Host who will teach and entertain you with this Multi-Media Bass Fishing Seminar! Thomas will share his expertise on various techniques while allowing you to actually watch it happen on the big screen by utilizing some of his most exciting video segments from his fan favorite Show, “Stihl’s Reel in the Outdoors”. He will also share some of his funniest and sometimes embarrassing moments on the water. This presentation is sure to have something for every angler!
Joe will also teach you modern Bass techniques from the Tournament trail. This Seminar is geared towards helping you catch more fish on your local waters!
With over 30 years of bass fishing experience, Texas Roadhouse pro, Mike DelVisco, a full-time time professional angler and fishing personality has competed on the Bassmaster and PAA Tour, and is a 2007 and 2008 Grand Slam and 2009 Bassmaster Series National Championship qualifier. In addition to competing, Mike conducts seminars around the country at many popular sport shows and is a former Bassmaster University instructor. Mike writes for a number of online publications and host a number of video tip segments on the web and broadcast outlets.
1) Cranking up springtime bass – Learn all you need to be productive in using and selecting crankbaits leading into spring. Mike makes the process simple from location to technique to make you a better crankbait angler.
2) All season soft plastics – Too many plastic baits in your box not getting used? If you’re like many anglers you have an abundance of plastics that just don’t get used. Well, dust them off and get ready to learn Mike’s process for picking the right plastic for the job all year long.
3) Understanding pattern fishing – The key to catching bass is finding them first and it’s a question many want the answer to. Mike takes you step by step in determining just how to locate and catch bass from spring to fall.
4) A little finesse – Over the last several years many pros have found the power of finesse tactics, Drop shot, shaky head and other light line techniques are explained to make you a more well round angler.
5) Ice out bassin – Timely bass fishing tips if you want to catch some bass as soon as the ice is out. Great cure for cabin fever as Mike talks about some of his favorite and obscure baits used early in the season.
Todd lives in Central Indiana and is a full-time bass professional on the FLW Tour. He recently completed his 2nd season on the FLW Tour. His Tour stats include 3Top-20 finishes, highlighted by a 7th Place finish at Kentucky Lake. Todd has also appeared multiple times on television on the Outdoor Channel and NBC Sports Channel. In 2014, he will be the exclusive host for a new show on the World Fishing Network called the “Bass Dr.”
Todd’s fishing resume includes a BFL Regional Championship, 2-time BFL All- American, 8 top-10′s, and 6th and 7th place points finishes in the 2011 and 2013 Everstart Central Division. He also has an impressive 9 top-10
s placing in 62 FLW events.He has won multiple local, regional, and national team trail events – including the 2007 Midwest Sportsman National Championship, 2010 & 2012 Anglers Dream National Championships.
Todd is sponsored by Red Gold Tomatoes, Vicious Fishing, Stormr, Reaction Strike, Castaic Swimbaits, Vicious Vision, Bulldawg Rods, Optima Batteries, Pro-Cure, Daiichi Hooks, Elite Rod Sleeves, River Rat Tackle, and the Red Dirt Bait Company.
Outdoor writer and radio show host Dan Armitage will conduct his entertaining seminars on the Hawg Trough at this year’s sport show. Dan’s articles appear in “Outdoor Life”, “Sports Afield”, “In-Fisherman”, “Trailer BOATS”, “Bass & Walleye BOATS”, “Camping Life” and several regional outdoor magazines, and he works with the national “Hooked On Fishing,
Not On Drugs” program to conduct educational fishing seminars for youths across North America. His weekly outdoor radio program is broadcast on more than a dozen Midwest stations each Saturday.
Dan’s popular “Kids Fishing Fun” seminar is an entertaining, educational show involving the children in the audience.
In addition to his individual seminars, Dan will be Moderator of the Ask the Pros Seminar Series on both weekends.
Topic: Kids Fishing
Saturday, Feb. 21: 12:00 pm
Sunday, Feb. 22: 12:00 pm
Saturday, Feb. 28: 12:00 pm
Sunday, March 1: 12:00 pm
Gilbert Huxley has been fishing for carp for 33 years. He has placed in the top 10 of the ”Westside Bait/Hoosier Carpers Tournament Trail” for the past 5 out of 6 years of the trail. Hoosier Carpers was started 10-15 years ago with 7 guys getting together and fishing together for just the fun of catching one of the most powerful fresh water fish in the US. Over the years they have grown to over 200 members making Indiana the largest membership base for Carp Anglers Group.
Member of Carp Anglers Group for over 20 years
Member of the American Carp Society
Founder of Hoosier Carpers
Pro Staff; World Classic Baits
Huxley’s Custom Carp Tackle
Topic: Carp Fishing 101
Friday, Feb. 20: 2:00 pm
Monday, Feb. 23: 12:00 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 24: 12:00 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 25: 12:00 pm
Thursday, Feb. 26: 12:00 pm
Friday, Feb. 27: 12:00 pm
Billy has been fishing since the ripe old age of 5 at his grandparent’s farm in Tennessee. Fishing ponds grew to fishing lakes and along the way tournament fishing began to grow and the competition interested him. He experienced success in several tournament circuits at local and national levels.
Sponsors: Lucas Marine Products, Ranger Boats, Evinrude, ION Camera’s, General Tire, E3 Spark Plugs, Super Clean, Buck Knives, Strike King, Raymarine,Lews,Seaguar, Power Pole,Optima Batteries, Rigid Industries, Hydrowave, KMX Wheels, TH Marine.
Are you a catfish lover? Well, this is your seminar! The Indiana Catfish Association hosts a series of fishing tournaments for channel, blue and flathead catfish. They fish both rivers and reservoirs in Indiana, and they will be sharing their knowledge at this year’s show!
Some of the topics that will be discussed in this seminar are:
* Choosing the right tackle
* Bait and what’s right at the right time
* Controlled drifting for big blue catfish
* Cast netting for bait
* Where to fish locally
* Daytime vs. Nighttime
* Modern electronics for catfishing
* INDNR resources for catfishing and boat safety
* Conservation for big cats
* How to get your community involved in catfishing
Be sure to attend to learn this and more from professionals including ICA President Hector Carrillo, Chris Wallace, Ron Streeter, and Casey Tutorow.
We will see you there!
Friday, Feb. 20: 4:00 pm
Saturday, Feb. 21: 6:00 pm
Sunday, Feb. 22: 4:00 pm
Monday, Feb. 23: 3:00 pm
Tuesday: Feb. 24: 3:00 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 25: 3:00 pm
Thursday, Feb. 26: 3:00 pm
Friday, Feb. 27: 2:00 pm
Sunday, March 1: 4:00 pm
Matt will be holding a seminar filled with information about locations, fishing tactics, local resources and stories about fishing on Lake St. Clair. Lake St. Clair is a world class Musky and Smallmouth bass fishery, as well as great nothern pike, perch, walleye and sturgeon fishing.
Topic: Trolling for Musky
Sunday, Feb. 22: 2:00 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 24: 1:00 pm
Thursday, Feb. 26: 1:00 pm
Saturday, Feb. 28: 3:00 pm
• Co-creator / founder of CrappieCrazy.com, the world’s largest online
crappie fishing community
• Owner /operator of Crappie Hunters Guide Service
• First crappie angler to be part of the Indiana Bass Pro Shops State
• Member of Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff
• Outdoor writer & member of Hoosier Outdoor Writers, and AGLOW.
Contributor to newspapers, outdoor magazines and CrappieCrazy.com
• Public speaker and seminar facilitator
• Past tournament angler & director
Drop Retrieve over Brush
Patoka Lake Crappie
Fun Fishing for Crappie