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Bill Dance

When this Memphis, TN, native began fishing, it was apparent to friends and relatives that he had a unique talent. His skills as an angler, and his ability to communicate these skills, would make him the first “superstar” of tournament fishing. When most bass tournaments where still made up of weekend anglers, and fishermen who dreamed of one day fishing for a living, Mr. Dance made catching big stringers of fish, and winning tournaments, the dream of every weekend angler.

During the early years of B.A.S.S. tournaments, his “structure” fishing prowess proved to fishermen around the country that bass could indeed be caught year-round, if an angler spent the time necessary to learn the movements and habits of deep-water fish.

His tournament performance proved that his deep-water techniques really worked! In the early years of the B.A.S.S. tournament trail, he won seven times, captured the coveted “angler-of-the-year” title three times, qualified for the Bassmasters Classic 8 out of the 9 years that he competed on the B.A.S.S. circuit, and in all, he won 23 different national bass tournament titles.

Needless to say, this brought his name to the attention of fishermen around the country. Additionally, he was awarded the 1978 Congressional National Water Safety Award; and was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 1986.

However, it was the television series that he began in 1968, and his trademark orange “Tennessee” hat, that truly made him an international hero and household name.

His easy-going, laid-back style was a natural in delivering educational “how-to” programming that has enabled millions of anglers to learn how to catch more bass over the years.

Inducted: 2001 (Founding Class)

Inductee In The News
Bass Pro Shops awarded Bill “Fisherman’s Best Friend Award” at the recent 2016 Bass Pro Shops Conservation Partners of the Year

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