Tennessee Fishing Legands

Stan Sloan

Stan Sloan

Ray Scott held an All-American Bass fishing tournament on Beaver Lake in 1967. Stan Sloan, who at the time was a Nashville police officer and avid angler, entered that first tournament. Upon winning, he retired from his police work and began his own bait company — Stan Sloan’s Zorro Bait Company. That first tournament was so successful, Ray Scott turned it into the Bassmaster Classic in the early 70s.  Bobby Murray won that first Classic on Sloan’s bait: the Aggravator Spinnerbait.  The Aggravator, then and now, featured a unique rattle as well as thumping blade combination.  Zorro Bait Company was on it’s way. Stan Sloan is also credited for moving trolling motors from the back of boats to the front for fishing, and he invented the first black light used for night fishing, which we still make today. Sloan suffered from cancer and passed away in 2008.  The company continues to thrive through the legacy he left behind.

Jimmy Holt

Jimmy Holt

In 1969, Holt started co-hosting the "Tennessean Outdoorsman Show" on Nashville public television, which was broadcast statewide. The show became so popular that it was once featured on ABC’s "Good Morning America." Former President Jimmy Carter was a guest on the show. Holt began working at The Tennessean in 1952 as a photographer, then became the fishing editor and in the 1970s was the outdoors editor. Jimmy’s wit and sense of humor made the show a long-running success. One example: Jimmy and co-host Glen Smith were taping a show on a section of Center Hill Lake known as Indian Creek when they struck up a conversation. “Glen, I wonder why they call this place Indian Creek?” Jimmy asked. “Gosh, I don’t know, Jimmy,” deadpanned Glen, turning his back to camera – which showed an arrow protruding from the back of his life jacket. “Jimmy probably meant more to me personally and professionally than anybody I’ve ever known,” said Lebanon’s Jim Duckworth, a fishing guide, fishing-video producer and one of Holt’s pals for decades.

Mike Mad Dog Derrick

Mike <q>Mad Dog</q> Derrick

Mike Derrick never met a fish he didn't like. Touted as one of middle Tennessee’s foremost smallmouth experts. Always willing to talk about fishing and share his insight and perspective. Whether fishing the shallows of the Harpeth river or the depths of Dale Hollow...Mike always manages to get on the fish. Mike is also renowned for his practical joke and tall yarns. One time he happened on some canoers on the Buffalo river. "Hey! Ya'll are not gonna believe what just happened! There was a squirrel on the end of that log eatin’ a walnut and a HUGE bass jumped up and took him." The canoers had this dumbfound look..."But the damnedest thing happened afterward...That bass came back up and put the walnut back up on the log!"

Billy Westmoreland

Billy Westmoreland

In 1973 at the BASS Arkansas Invitational on Beaver Lake, a tornado went through the area, and the boat containing Johnny Morris (founder and owner of Bass Pro Shops) and Robert Craddock filled with water and sank. The cold was numbing and the two anglers realized they could survive but a short time in the water before hypothermia would set in. Their situation was so desperate that they were scratching a message to their loved ones on an old gas can when their prayers were answered. Westmoreland had seen the gas can from the launch area and decided to go pick it up. He was concerned that another boat might not see it and that it might cause an explosion. As Morris described it, Westmoreland's big hand came out of the sky to save them.

Charlie Brewer

Charlie Brewer

One day Charlie saw some boys walking down the road with their fishing gear and a string of fish. He stop them and ask how they caught those. It was a nice string. The boys had light rods, line, and small lures. This was not the way men fished but there must be something to it. Charlie decide to take what the boys had told him and try experimenting with light tackle. His first light tackle rod was a fly fishing rod cut down in size. Charlie watched minnows, in clear water, move through the water in a smooth way with no action. They were just sliding through the water with ease. Then an idea came to him. He knew that live bait was usually best. He needed to imitate live bait as close as possible. Watching the minnows, the rubber worms, and the methods the boys were using lead to a new method of fishing. Charlie is the founder of Slider Lure Co. and is considered the father of finess fishing.

Bill Captian Billy Bethal

Bill <q>Captian Billy</q> Bethal

Bill Bethal is a fishing guides guide, an outdoor enthusiast and advocate for fishing rights. He’s known throughout Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama for his uncanny fishing skills. Billy sports a who's who client list of Rock stars, county stars and pro football players. He's primarily known for catching huge smallmouth and strippers below damn tailraces. Chris Catignani recants this story: “I’ve never met a more avid fisherman in my life. Early one day me, Billy and Bobby Francescon went stripper fishing below Cheatham damn. We caught bait like always and somehow Billy got a hook in his palm. Well…we started catching a lot of fish and Billy would not leave. He fished all day with a hook in his palm.”

Bill Dance

Bill Dance

Raised in Lynchburg, Tennessee, Dance considered becoming a doctor, but changed his mind after happening upon a grisly motorcycle accident in the early 1960s. He then turned his focus to competing in bass tournaments. A fishing lure manufacturer that sponsored him suggested he should start a TV show to promote the product. The program originally began on WHBQ-TV, then the ABC affiliate in Memphis, in 1968. Bill Dance has 23 national B.A.S.S. titles, three-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year, 40 top-ten finishes and eight-time Bassmaster Classic Qualifier. Bill is the host and producer of “Bill Dance Outdoors” from his production studio in Collierville, Tenn.,

Jim Duckworth

Jim Duckworth

Jim Duckwoth is one of Tennessee's biggest promotor of fishing. He has several fishing video on all species of fish (Ducktrail Fishing DVD's). Jim was a guide on Old Hickery lake and could be found fishing the tailrace on the Cumberland River. He had is own set of technique specific rod make by B'nM in West Point Missippi. As well as being an outdoor writer, Jim partisipated in may outdoor shows and conferences through out the southeast.