CULLMAN, Ala. – For Immediate Release – The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Board of Directors today announced the Hall’s 2014 inductees. All four persons selected are being recognized for their profound and lasting impacts upon the world of bass fishing. The 2014 class includes Bassmaster Classic champion Rayo Breckenridge, legendary lady angler Penny Berryman, innovator, educator and communicator Doug Hannon and technology pioneer Blake Honeycutt. The former three are being inducted posthumously, while Honeycutt will attend the Hall of Fame’s Induction Dinner, taking place Thursday evening, February 20, 2014 in Birmingham, Ala. – a date and time that marks the eve of competition at the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.
Breckenridge, a cotton farmer from Paragould, Ark., qualified for the 1973 Bassmaster Classic at Clarks Hill Reservoir during his first year of professional competition on the Bassmaster Tournament Trail. His 52 1/2-pound total bested runner-up Bill Dance by more than 3 pounds and Breckenridge was crowned Classic champion as a rookie. He then parlayed his $15,000 Classic purse and sudden notoriety into a long and successful TV career in which his program, “Rayo Breckenridge Outdoors,” aired from 1974 to 1985 and shared programming blocks with shows by fellow BFHOF inductees Bill Dance, Tom Mann and Roland Martin. Breckenridge, who was born in 1928 in northeast Arkansas, fished club and regional tournaments since their inception in the 1960s and competed in 62 professional events. He qualified for six Classics in a 7-year stretch between 1973 and 1979. One of the most popular and respected anglers of his time – a “gentleman’s gentleman,” as one of his peers described him – Breckenridge died in 1995.
Berryman was born to be a champion. Among her pre-fishing achievements, she was first runner-up for Miss Kansas in the Miss USA Pageant and qualified for three professional waterskiing national championship. She then set her sights on bass fishing and became a full-time professional bass angler, seminar speaker and fishing instructor and enjoyed a career that spanned more than 25 years. She qualified for more than 20 Women’s Pro Tour Classic World Championships, claimed three National Championship titles and won the prestigious Bass N’ Gal Classic in 1992 and the Bass N’ Gal Angler-of-the-Year title in 1997. Berryman’s career was sidelined in 2008 when, at the age of 58, she was diagnosed with meningioma, which claimed her life 4 years later.
Hannon is known throughout the bass-fishing world as “The Bass Professor.” Across a career of writing, studying, publishing and education, Hannon caught and released more than 800 bass over 10 pounds. He was also an inventor with nearly 20 patents, as well as a diver, underwater photographer and musician. Alongside authorship of hundreds of articles published in newspapers and outdoor magazines, he was also co-host of an internationally syndicated TV show for more than 15 years. Hannon patented the weedless propeller, which revolutionized the trolling-motor industry and allowed anglers to fish vast areas of previously inaccessible weedbeds. He also invented the award winning WaveSpin System for spinning reels, as well as the MicroWave line-control system – a new train of rod guides for spinning rods. Hannon died in March 2013 at the age of 66.
Most fans remember Honeycutt of Hickory, N.C., as the holder of the all-time heaviest winning weight in a B.A.S.S. tournament – 138 pounds, 6 ounces at the 3-day Eufaula National in July 1969. A standout angler in the seminal years of the sport, Honeycutt qualified for three Bassmaster Classics and ranked in the top-20 in half the events he entered. But his contributions to the sport run much deeper. As a teenager, he helped Buck Perry test, design and market Perry’s Spoonplugs. Honeycutt later partnered with Tom Mann and Yank Dean to launch Humminbird. As the East Coast rep for Ranger Boats for 20 years, Honeycutt also helped design layouts for the Ranger TR series and developed an electric anchor for bass boats. Like his mentor, Buck Perry, Honeycutt is considered one of the fathers of structure fishing.
“Where better than Birmingham and the soon-to-be permanent home state of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame to induct the Class of 2014?” said Hall of Fame president Sammy Lee. “This will be the first Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville in 38 years. With our induction dinner slated for Thursday night – the eve of competition – the atmosphere is sure to be electric. Although three of the four members are no longer with us, we’ll honor them with members of their families present so they’ll know how much the bass fishing world respects their passion for the sport, and the memories they have left us will live on forever with their induction. This is one ceremony no fan of bass fishing will want to miss.”
In addition to the formal induction ceremonies, the Hall of Fame’s banquet also includes an exceptional silent auction featuring bucket-list fishing trips, premium rods and reels, hunting gear and special fishing-celebrity memorabilia. Visit BassFishingHOF.com for more details, or call 888/690-2277.