At its quarterly meeting held this week in Cullman, Ala., the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board of Directors ratified the Hall’s 2013 inductees. In recognizition of their major impacts upon the world of bass fishing, tournament angler Mike Folkestad, fishing electronics innovator Darrell Lowrance and legendary guide, educator and lodge owner Jack Wingate will be formally inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (BFHOF) during the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. The BFHOF Induction Banquet takes place on Friday, February 24, 2013 at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Tulsa, Okla.
Mike Folkestad, who makes his home in Orange, Calif., is nothing short of a fishing legend, although his name isn’t widely recognized outside of his native West Coast domain. However, he did fish back East in Bassmaster Invitationals in the late 1980s and later fished the Top 100s in the early ’90s. Folkestad’s accomplishments in the West are vast and unmatched. He’s a three-time WON Bass U.S. Open champion with back-to-back victories in 2001-02. He holds major titles in all western circuits including WON Bass, EverStart, Western Bass, B.A.S.S., West Coast Bass and US Bass. He’s fished one Bassmaster Classic and one Forrest Wood Cup. He holds the Bassmaster Invitational record for lowest winning weight, which he set at the Harris Chain in 1992 with a total weight of 14-10. And he’s not done. In March 2010 he set a new Lake Havasu all-time one-day weight record of 26.63 pounds.
As an avid skin diver, Darrell Lowrance learned much about the schooling habits and preferred locations of freshwater fish. Along with his father, Carl, and brother, Arlen, he set out to design a portable electronic device that would help fishermen and boaters determine depth of the bottom and other underwater objects. The famous ‘Little Green Box’ was introduced in 1959 and it revolutionized bass fishing. As president and CEO of the Lowrance company, Darrell was responsible for many breakthroughs in marine electronics, including the first sonars capable of high-speed performance (1965), the first graph recorder (1974), the first integrated sonar/GPS unit (1995) and many others. During 1983 and 1984, Lowrance served as president of the American Fishing Tackle Manufacturer’s Association (AFTMA), and was alsoa director of the National Association of Marine Products and Services 1989. Lowrance retired in 2007 following the company’s acquisition by Navico.
Wingate, who will be inducted posthumously, started out in the fishing business during Harry Truman’s presidency. Well-known throughout the South, Wingate supplied the names of many bass anglers who fished Ray Scott’s first tournament in 1967. He fished several of Scott’s first tournaments and soon decided that he could make a living for himself and his family by guiding and teaching fishing. As the long-time owner of Wingate’s Lunker Lodge, as well as a popular fishing guide on Lake Seminole, he helped promote both tournament and recreational bass fishing in its formative years. For more than 33 years he operated a summer camp on Seminole for youngsters, where he taught them the basics of fishing and outdoor appreciation. He taught fly-fishing and bass fishing to 12 kids a week. Wingate, who died in 2012, lived his entire life along the Flint River, except when he was in the Navy. As he said not long before he died, “My only wish is that I had more time on this earth to teach more young people the sport of just fishin’.”
“Expectations are high for the Tulsa Classic, and we’ll be going all out this year to make the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner one of the highlight events of the weekend,” said BFHOF president Sammy Lee. “Along with our program to recognize the new inductees, we’ll again bring back our exceptional silent auction featuring bucket-list fishing trips, premium rods and reels, hunting gear and special fishing celebrity memorabilia.”
Visit the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame web site, www.bassfishinghof.com, or call 888/690-2277 for more details on the BFHOF Induction banquet. The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to all anglers, manufacturers, tackle dealers, media and other related companies who further the sport of bass fishing.