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Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas. Find out how to nominate an individual or organization for this honor.

Please welcome our 2022 inductee:

Gary KleinGary Klein

Gary Klein has been an anchor and innovator in professional fishing for more than four decades. Klein popularized the “flipping” technique, which allows anglers to fish much closer to their targets and silently deliver a bait into the water. He worked directly with manufacturers to produce products for the technique and went on to develop additional baits and innovative fishing strategies. Some of these innovations include the round bend double taper needlepoint hook, an eye forward oval shape cobra head jig and a rattleback jig. In Klein’s more than 40 years as a professional angler, he boasts 161 top-20 finishes, 95 top-ten finishes, and 10 wins. He qualified and competed in 30 Bassmaster Classic Championships and won two B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year titles (1989 and 1993).

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in cooperation with Klein and others designed a revolutionary “Catch, Weigh and Immediate release” format for use in tournaments in order to minimize the stress placed on the fish. The new format debuted in the 2007 Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Fork, and it was a great success. Klein, along with fellow professional angler Boyd Duckett went on to co-found Major League Fishing (MLF) and the monumental decision was made to use an adapted version of the “Catch, Weigh and Immediate release” format in all MLF tournaments. MLF thus became the first professional circuit to use this new format, leading the sport into a whole new era. The format incorporates the immediate release of the fish where they were reeled in, resulting in reduced handling stress on the fish and elimination of the need for their retention and relocation to on-shore weigh-ins. In 2021, Klein co-founded the Major League Fishing-Fisheries Management Division to further research, education, fisheries enhancement, and fish care initiatives for the organization.

Klein generously has given back through volunteer work at the Texas Brigades-Bass Brigade youth leadership camp. Klein donates many of the products to the camp from his sponsors along with scholarship funding. Klein is also heavily involved in military veterans’ events, including playing a huge role in the annual Fishing for Freedom tournament and gala since 2013. The event is facilitated by Cliff Brown at Texas Boat World and features over 200 competitors who take a veteran out for the day to compete in the tournament. Klein facilitates sponsors donating products and funds to help make the event a reality.

Previous Inductees