Klein to be inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame | News
ATHENS – The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Committee is pleased to announce that professional angler Gary Klein of Mingus, Texas will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022. Klein is a pillar of the professional fishing for 42 years and an innovator on the cutting edge of the sport. Additionally, Klein generously gives back to the fishing community by volunteering with children and veterans.
“Gary Klein’s outstanding accomplishments as a professional angler rank him among the finest to have dominated the sport of competitive bass fishing,” said Dan Kessler, chair of the Water Angling Hall of Fame Selection Committee. sweet from Texas. “His leadership in bringing new ideas and innovation to the fishing industry is unmatched among professional anglers. On their own merits, these accomplishments warranted Gary’s consideration for membership in the Temple of fame. However, it is Gary Klein’s commitment to the conservation of our resources, his lifelong passion for educating current and future anglers, and his willingness to give back his time and resources to the community. of fishermen that resulted in unanimous support for his induction into the Hall of Fame.”
Klein officially started his professional fishing career in 1979 at the age of 21, but his first tournament was in 1973 on Lake Don Pedro in California at the age of 15. During his career, Klein has competed in 407 Bassmaster events, including eight event wins and 80 top-ten finishes. He has qualified and participated in the Bassmaster Classic Championship 30 times, which is the second most in history. Additionally, he is the only angler to qualify for at least one Bassmaster Classic in every decade from 1979 to 2019. Klein earned Bassmaster Angler of the Year honors in 1989 and 1993.
In 1988, Klein won the US Open championship on Lake Mead, an event considered one of the most competitive in the United States. In the 1990s, Klein competed in the Fishing League Worldwide, winning two of their events while also qualifying for six of their annual championships. In Klein’s more than 40 years as a professional angler, he has 161 top-20 finishes, 95 top-ten finishes and 10 wins.
The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, in cooperation with Klein and others, designed a revolutionary “Catch, Weigh, and Release Immediately” format for use in tournaments to minimize stress on fish. The new format debuted at the 2007 Toyota Texas Bass Classic in Lake Fork and it was a big hit. Klein, along with fellow professional angler Boyd Duckett, went on to co-found Major League Fishing and the monumental decision was made to use an adapted version of the “Catch, Weigh and Release Immediately” format in all MLF tournaments. The MLF thus became the first professional circuit to use this new format, ushering the sport into a whole new era.
The format incorporates the immediate release of fish where they were hauled, which reduces fish handling stress and eliminates the need to hold and move fish to shore weighers. In 2021, Klein co-founded the Major League Fishing-Fisheries Management Division to advance research, education, fishing improvement, and fish care initiatives for the organization.
As a leader in the sport, Klein was a founding member of the Professional Anglers Association and served on the organization’s board of directors as well as president. He was one of the original board members of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and is currently the immediate past president of the Major League Fishing Anglers Association.
Klein popularized the “flipping” technique which allows anglers to fish much closer to their targets and silently cast bait into the water. He worked directly with manufacturers to produce products for the technique and later developed additional baits and innovative fishing strategies. Some of these innovations include the double-taper round hook, an oval-shaped cobra head jig, and a rattle-back jig. He continues to create and stay at the forefront of new designs to this day. Klein is co-owner of Boss Outdoors and FishingSkirts.com which provides materials and videos for anglers to make their own skirt baits.
Off the water, Klein volunteers his time each summer as an instructor for the Young Brigades-Bass Brigade of Texas leadership camp for high school students. Klein donates many products from his sponsors to the camp as well as scholarship checks totaling $6,000. He also spends the winter months visiting high school classrooms to talk about being a professional fisherman, finding his passion, and the Bass Brigade.
Klein is also heavily involved in military veteran events, including playing a huge role in the annual Fishing for Freedom Tournament and Gala since 2013. The event is hosted by Cliff Brown at Texas Boat World and features over 200 competitors who bring a veteran for the day to participate in the tournament. Klein helps sponsors donate proceeds and funds to help make the event a reality.
“I am humbled and honored to be inducted into the prestigious Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, it is truly one of the highlights of my illustrious career,” Klein said.
The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is housed at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Its mission is to “recognize and honor those who have made lasting contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas, and to foster a sense of appreciation, awareness, and participation in the sport of fishing.”
Since 1997, the Hall of Fame has inducted 36 individuals and organizations, including Shane Wilson in 2020. An inductee was not selected in 2021 due to complications and uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Klein will be inducted as the 37th member of the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center later this year.
Nomination forms and instructions are available online or by calling 903-676-2277.
A video featuring 2020 TFF Hall of Fame winner Shane Wilson is available on the TPWD YouTube channel under the title: Shane Wilson, Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer.