Doug Hannon — a man perhaps unknown to many everyday anglers, but nonetheless a legend in modern fishing — died unexpectedly last week at his Florida home. He was 66.
His death followed complications from recent neck surgery.
Hannon was widely known as the "Bass Professor.''
A brilliant innovator, Hannon most recently developed the WaveSpin fishing reel, which produces tangle-free casts.
Hannon was widely know for catching and releasing more than 800 largemouth bass weighing 10 pounds or more.
I fished with him in the 1980s in Florida, and neither of us caught bass that big on that outing — though we did catch a lot of bass.
He was a classy guy and a lot of fun in a boat.
“He was deeply analytical and had an exceptional ability to visualize and solve complex issues, especially when it came to fishing tackle, lures and components geared to helping anglers enjoy the sport,” said Russ Riley, a longtime friend and president of the company Hannon launched eight years ago to produce and market his new fishing reels. “You could instantly see and feel his passion when he was showing anglers at fishing shows his engineering designs. He absolutely loved the sport.”
Hannon’s WaveSpin spool design won nearly every award including the “Best of the Best” from Field & Stream Magazine. It was called the “first significant advancement in spin fishing in more than 50 years,” by Outdoor Life Magazine.
In 2000 Hannon was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis..
“Anglers found him to be very approachable,'' Riley said.
A conservationist, Hannon often railed against the irresponsible use of herbicides in lakes and rivers.
He wrote three books, "Hannon's Field Guide for Bass Fishing,'' "Catch Bass,'' and "Big Bass Magic,'' and produced videos for 3M called Understanding Bass, Catching Big Bass, and Bass-Formula for Success.
He published the Hannon Moon Times nationally for TV, magazines, newspapers and radio, and an annual pocket guide for anglers called the Moon Clock now in its 32nd year.
Born in Winnipeg in 1946 to a Canadian mother and a father from Texas, Hannon moved to the U.S. at age 7. He attended Governor Dummer Academy in Massachusetts and graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans.
He was an accomplished guitarist, playing in rock and roll bands, and was a lifelong runner.
Hannon's wife, Lynn, died of cancer in 2006. They had no children.