The Herald Bulletin

April 3, 2013

Rick Bramwell: Farewell to one of fishing's all-time greats

— In the late 1970s, bass fishing was really taking off. A name at the forefront was “The Bass Professor” Doug Hannon. He had caught and released more huge bass than any other angler in America. In the last 30 years, Hannon has done more for anglers than any other person in America. Hannon died last week at the age of 66.

When a broken elbow put me on sick leave, my dad and I took a trip to Florida. We went down the west coast and up the east. When we got to Tampa, dad wanted to eat at the Kapok Tree Restaurant, and I wanted to visit Doug Hannon.

Hannon lived on a small lake and had a koi-type pond. In the pond swam a 12-pound bass. It really lit my fire to see that hawg swimming under some lily pads.

I probably bought every book Hannon wrote and used to annually get his lunar fishing tables.

Hannon invented the weedless trolling motor prop that most anglers take for granted today. He has more than 20 patents. His most recent inventions are the Wave Spin reel and the Guide Train.

The Wave Spin is the first major improvement in spinning reels in more than 50 years. This new design prevents line twisting.

The Guide Train is being implemented on quality rods. It enables the angler to make longer casts with less line friction.

Hannon was the TV host of “Sportsman’s Challenge,” a film maker, sports show speaker and lure designer. He liked to run and used to play guitar in a rock band.

Recently, Hannon had surgery on his neck. It is believed complications from this operation caused his untimely death. I consider myself blessed that I got to meet this icon who, among many accomplishments, caught and released over 800 largemouth bass weighing 10 pounds or more.

Amid reports that a few small black morels were being found in Central Indiana, I headed for the woods Tuesday evening. There was no green and little sign of life. I walked to a creek crossing and found a nice set of buck tracks. I jumped to the far bank and took the deer trail uphill.

In the back of the woods, silence was broken. A flock of crows were pestering a bared owl. The predator, turned prey, was not going to get any peace until the crows went to roost. It is difficult to express, but I needed to see and hear this malaise of nature.

The morels are coming and with them some fun activities. Simply Music, Simply Mushrooms, Morel Festival is being held at the Bill Monroe Memorial Music Park and Campground in Bean Blossom from April 18 through April 20.

That same weekend, you might choose instead to attend the Second Annual Morchella Festival at the Grateful Goat Vinyard in Palmyra.

The big yellows should be up for the Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival and Car Show on April 27 and 28.

The last hope may be at The Morel Mushroom Festival at Brown County State Park in Nashville on May 4.