Four to enter BASS' Hall of Fame at the Classic

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Four legendary figures of bass fishing who have contributed greatly to the sport through education, angling achievements, innovations and communications will join 32 previously inducted men and women into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, Feb. 21.

The class of 2008 includes Charlie Campbell and Virgil Ward both of Missouri, Nick Crème of Texas and Buck Perry of North Carolina, as the seventh group of inductees. Crème, Perry and Ward will be inducted posthumously.

Induction ceremonies Thursday, Feb. 21 will take place at the Hyatt Hotel in Greenville, S.C., the evening before the start of the 40th Bassmaster Classic's three days of championship fishing on Lake Hartwell. The reception will begin at 6 p.m. followed by the induction banquet and ceremony in the main ballroom at 7 p.m.

Meet the honorees

Charlie Campbell

As a Missouri educator and celebrated coach for over 15 years, Campbell would spend after-school hours and summers guiding nearby lakes. Multi-dimensional he later owned a marine dealership, developed the "Charlie Campbell CC Spinner Bait," and was instrumental in the design of the Bass Tracker boat for Bass Pro Shops. He won a B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship, fished five Classics and won a total of 67 tournament trail events. Among his many honors he's been inducted into two other halls of fame.

Nick Crème

In 1949, Crème created the first rubber worms on his kitchen stove which made a huge impact as the invention revolutionized bass fishing with artificial lures in the 1950s and '60s.

When professional anglers began winning early B.A.S.S. tournaments on Crème Scoundrels and Shimmy Gals, the founder and owner of Crème Lures saw his business take off. Crème became one of the first tackle companies to sponsor a pro angler when, in 1967, Nick offered John Powell of Alabama an $18,000 contract.

Buck Perry

Perry is widely acclaimed as the "father of structure fishing," as he opened up America's lakes and rivers to a different style of fishing than anyone had ever enjoyed. Before sonar, Perry was using his Spoonplugs and trolling tactics to catch deep water and offshore bass that others did not even know existed. Perry spent his life educating others about bass migrations, habitat and deep water methods. Even though he passed away in 2005, his Spoonplugging school is still a serious educational institution for anglers.

Virgil Ward

Ward had one of the most popular TV showcases of bass fishing techniques for 27 years with his very successful Virgil Ward's Championship Fishing Show. Syndicated nationally for 20 years, Ward's show in 1985 was rated No. 1 overall. Millions of fishing fans followed his weekly shows on 253 radio stations and his advice in 450 newspapers. In 1955 Virgil and his son Bill, started the Bass Buster Lure Company, designed the feather jig and patented the fiber weed guard still used today by jig manufacturers.

"This group of four along with the other men and women inducted before them are among the true legends and innovators of the great sport of bass fishing," said BFHoF president Sammy Lee. "Their contributions and efforts have rippled through the waters of time and we applaud their inclusion into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame."

Among the currently enshrined Hall of Fame members are Ray Scott, Johnny Morris, Bill Dance, Cotton Cordell, Denny Brauer, Stan Fagerstrom, Roland Martin, Bob Cobb, Guido Hibdon, Jimmy and Chris Houston.

Tickets to the banquet are available through Feb.15th by calling 1-888-690-BASS (2277) or through the Hall's web site at www.bassfishinghof.com.

The evening will also include the introduction of the four newest members to the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board of Directors. They include Kathy Magers and Dick Hart of Texas, Gene Ellison of Massachusetts and Hobson Bryan Jr. of Alabama who were named to three-year terms beginning January 1 of this year. The board is comprised of 15 members from within the fishing industry.

Established in 1999, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, headquartered in Hot Springs, Ark., is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It's dedicated to promoting the sport of bass fishing through participants and fans and establishing a shrine to the men, women and companies who have supported and elevated this sport to anglers around the world.