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IGFA Hall of Fame Inductees

While river monsters and commercial crab boats are the flavor of the month in reality television, the International Game Fish Association is preparing for its 13th annual recognition of six anglers as IGFA Hall of Fame Inductees who have dedicated a lifetime to truly exceptional fishing. The 2011 IGFA Hall of Fame class includes conservationists, boat designers, industry leaders and some of the best sportsmen to ever cast a line. This year’s nominees include:

John R. Chibnall

A life member of New Zealand’s Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, John Chibnall has held every position including President and Chairman. For more than 40 years he has been part of the NZ Sport Fishing organization (a national council of 58 clubs and 30,000 members) and he currently serves on the fisheries management committee. Chibnall has been in the forefront of fisheries management issues for more than 30 years, promoting the first tagging programs in the country, organizing the first game fishing tournament, and serving as an IGFA Representative since 1983.

Al Lindner

World-renowned in the sport-fishing arena, Al Lindner was a co-founder, together with his brother Ron, of Lindy Tackle, and in 1975 of In-Fisherman. Lindner focused on advancements in equipment and knowledge, teaching people to fish through his In- Fisherman magazine, TV and radio shows, books, videos, websites, and professional tournament circuit. As Al Lindner played a significant role in developing and promoting many angling concepts, techniques and products, the Minnesota-based In-Fisherman became one of the leading fishing information companies in the U.S.

Allen and Buddy Merritt

In the 1930s, teenagers Allen and Buddy Merritt were already involved in their father Roy’s sport-fishing operation. In 1948 Merritt’s Boat and Engine Works was built in Pompano Beach, Florida. Allen and Buddy eventually took on the operations of the famed boatyard, but not before they made their individual marks on the sport. Allen was widely respected for his knowledge and skills, and when he started working for angler Bill Carpenter during the 1951 Cat Cay Tournament, it was the beginning of that team’s domination of the event through the 1950s and 1960s. Buddy was recognized for his innovations in both boat and tackle design and techniques, and was responsible for designing the Merritt 37, considered by many to be the perfect tuna-fishing boat.

Frank M. O’Brien, Jr.

Kip Farrington considered Frank O’Brien “… one of the best anglers in the world …” In 1935 O’Brien founded Tycoon Tackle, and his laminated wood and bamboo rods, which featured many innovations, quickly became the standard. They were used by the era’s great anglers, and from the 1930-50s more than 90 percent of world records were caught on Tycoon rods. During WWII Tycoon became a defense plant; after the war O’Brien opened a second Tycoon Tackle plant in Puerto Rico, where he played an instrumental role in promoting the sport in the country. An early conservationist, O’Brien was advocating the practice of catch-and-release in the 1940s.

Paxson H. Offield

A dedicated conservationist, Paxson Offield is a past chairman and current board member of The Billfish Foundation, chairman of the Catalina Seabass Fund, past president of the Avalon Tuna Club, and board member of the Center for the Reproduction of Endangered Species of the San Diego Zoological Society. A pioneer in implementing technology in marine conservation, he is Chairman of the Marine Conservation Science Institute’s Offield Center for Billfish Studies, the world’s largest research program dedicated to the study of billfish species. Offield has been member of the IGFA Board since 2007 and was appointed Chairman in January 2011.

The 13th Annual IGFA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Florida.

The ceremony will be emceed by IGFA Hall of Famer Mark Sosin, who lends his own journalistic wit and fishing insight to the evening.

As always, this year’s Induction Ceremony will be attended by some of the most famous and best of angling’s captains, artists, authors, and sponsors. Tickets are $200 per person. Sponsors may also purchase tables in several categories. For more information on sponsorships or to make reservations, please contact John Holley at 954-924-4240 or email [email protected].

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The International Game Fish Association, or IGFA, is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping. The IGFA are the official record holders for world-record and line-class records on both fresh and saltwater fish. For more information, visit igfa.org.