I was shocked to hear about the passing of the legendary “Bass Professor,” Doug Hannon, this past week. Hannon, who died March 28, was 66 and apparently died of complications from neck surgery.
I got to know Hannon over the past couple of years. He was a guest on my radio show a number of times. The first time I had him on the program, I was so entranced by his bass fishing knowledge that I kept him on for an extra segment. I had never done that before.
I’d call Doug to line up an interview, a task that normally consumes a few minutes, but I’d be on the phone with him for a half-hour at the minimum.
Doug was truly amazing as a fisherman, an inventor and a communicator
As an angler, Hannon specialized in giant bass. He and his guiding clients put more than 800 bass in his boat that weighed more than 10 pounds in his guiding career. That is truly astounding. I asked him how that amazing feat could have been achieved.
“In those days, there were more big fish swimming around than there are today,” he said. “I also only fished waters that I knew had the potential to hold bass that grew that big. I also fished only at the times when I knew that big bass would be feeding. I didn’t just go fishing all of the time.”
Hannon was a believer in fishing at night if that was what was called for by his “Hannon Moon Times.” Hannon developed his tables from the existing solunar tables. Hannon refined and popularized the system. He developed a weedless propeller that kept lake weeds from fouling the props on electric trolling motors. The props were put into use by all of the motor manufacturers.
Hannon’s name was on a product he invented called the “Doug Hannon Fishingsnake System.” He invented the product and let an acquaintance who was not doing well manufacture it and sell it. Doug let the man put Doug’s name on the product but never reaped the reward for its phenomenal sales. He did it because he was trying to help a guy out.
Hannon was one of the hosts of the “Sportsman’s Challenge” show on ESPN. He wrote hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles on bass fishing. Hannon wrote three books on the subject. He has been featured on countless TV programs.
His plaudits include being inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and being named by Outdoor Life magazine as one of the Outdoor Life 25, “People whose lifetime achievement has had the greatest positive influence on hunting and fishing.”
Hannon worked hard his whole career and never made his fortune. He was a better fisherman, inventor and teacher than he was a businessman. He did, though, have a legion of fans that swore by what he wrote and talked about. I am not sure if there is anyone other than Doug Hannon who has done as much to make more people become more successful fisherman. He will be missed.
• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a website for outdoors enthusiasts, OExperience.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.