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For more than 30 years Bill Dance has been sharing his fishing knowledge with others. As a boy in Tennessee he was introduced to the joys of the sport by his grandfather. In the mid-1960s, Bill worked a regular job but dreamed of the fishing business, and his skills were already creating a sensation in local fishing circles. This dream became reality in 1967. When Ray Scott began searching for 100 top-notch anglers to participate in his first bass tournament, the name of one young fisherman -- Bill Dance -- kept popping up. Bill accepted Scott's invitation to fish the All-American Bass Invitational on Arkansas’ Beaver Lake, and within two minutes of lines in the water, Bill caught the first bass in the first-ever bass tournament. This was the dawning of professional bass fishing and Bill Dance’s dominance of the B.A.S.S. tournament trail. It was now possible to fish for a living and Bill made the most of it, setting records along the way. In the 14 years he fished the tour, he won 23 national titles. Of his 78 total B.A.S.S. entries, he finished in the money 64 times. In 1968 he won three B.A.S.S. events; in 1969 he won two. In 1970 he won three more, and the first of three B.A.S.S. “Angler of the Year” titles. The sport of bass fishing was less than a decade old but Bill Dance was already a legend, the personification of the word professional. In 1970 Bill quit his sales job and became a full-time pro (the first, along with John Powell). Tournaments were already having a profound influence on bass fishermen: anglers wanted to see their favorite pros, try out their techniques, and fish with their equipment and gear. Dance began working for plastic worm innovator Nick Creme, teaching seminars and entertaining vendors. The job even came with a company car. Clearly, sponsorship relationships between pros and tackle companies had been set in motion. In 1980 Bill Dance retired from the tournament circuit. He was just too busy. One thing keeping him busy was Bill Dance Outdoors, his television show launched in 1968. In the early days Dance was producing, shooting and editing the shows, lining up guests, doing promotional work, handling sponsor commitments and hundreds of outdoor shows a year, while fishing an increasing number of tournaments. But stressed or not, Bill was a natural on TV and Bill Dance Outdoors was an immediate success. Now in its 38 th year, carried on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN) since January 2004, the series has aired more than 2,000 shows, making Dance one of fishing’s most recognizable icons. With his love of the sport and his irrefutable skills, he is the perfect fishing buddy. Dressed in jeans, sneakers, polo shirt, and his trademark University of Tennessee baseball cap and sunglasses, Bill Dance is an idol to millions of anglers. Dance shares his expertise in additional ways: he's the author of seven books; his articles have appeared in most major outdoor magazines including Sports Afield,Field & Stream, Bassmasters and Outdoor Life; and he's a monthly columnist for Mid-South Hunting and Fishing News. He’s also produced more than 36 educational videos on a variety of fishing-related subjects, including three hilarious out-take or blooper shows. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 1978 Congressional National Water Safety Award, Dance is an inductee in the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame (1986) and the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame (2001). Described as off-beat, humble and charming, Bill is as good with people as he is with fish. He'll tell you that fishing has been his life, that it's afforded him the opportunity to meet the greatest people: other fishermen. He'll tell you that fishing is a spiritual thing that brings the people who do it closer together. And he'll also tell you that his biggest thrill was being present when all of his children caught their first fish. For his unprecedented achievements, his remarkable aptitude for education and entertainment, and for the passion and enthusiasm he continues to share as one of sport fishing’s most outstanding ambassadors, IGFA salutes Bill Dance.