Ernest Hemingway

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1898 - 1961
1998 Inductee

Ernest Hemingway's literary prowess and thirst for adventure brought him world renown. His crowning literary achievement, The Old Man and the Sea, melded two of his deepest passions, angling and writing, and led to the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. Hemingway's first angling experiences were as a youngster in the lakes and streams near Petoskey, Michigan, where his parents owned a summer cottage. He continued to fish freshwater in his adult life. But in 1921, on a ship in the harbor of Vigo, Spain, Hemingway witnessed something that set his swashbuckling course on saltwater angling: six-foot tuna "leaped clear of the water and fell again with a noise like horses jumping off a dock." Anyone good enough to boat one of these great fish, he decided, should "enter unabashed into the presence of the very elder gods." In 1928, his literary career already well-established, Hemingway visited Key West, Florida, for the first time. Enchanted, he spent the next three decades fishing the Gulf Stream waters, living first in Key West and later in San Francisco de Paula, Cuba. He absorbed knowledge and lore about the ways of saltwater fish and the people who stalked them. He understood the complexity of the sport and pioneered new techniques. Hemingway was among the best of his day and knew how to share the experience. In deceptively simple prose he touched, taught, and inspired an audience far beyond the angling public, and this stands as Hemingway's greatest contribution to the sport. In August 1940, Ernest Hemingway was named a Vice President of the IGFA, a title held until his death in 1961.