Helen & Webster Robinson

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Helen & Webster Robinson1900s
1998 Inductee

Dr. Webster "Doc" Robinson and wife Helen secured a place in the angling record books by landing the first sailfish ever caught on a fly. The fish was caught using an innovative team technique the Robinsons developed together along with Captain Lefty Reagan. The Robinsons' technique -- now in use around the world -- involves one angler teasing the fish up with live bait while the other angler presents the artificial fly. The record officially went to Doc who presented the fly and landed the fish. For a couple who contributed so much to sport fishing, it is astonishing that the Robinsons' serious angling careers did not begin until later in their lives. The Robinsons bought a home in Key West after Doc had survived a serious auto accident which temporarily interrupted his career as a financial analyst in New York. Doc and Helen enjoyed wading the flats and angling for bonefish and permit. Meanwhile, Doc was reading the books of big game anglers such as Zane Grey, and beginning to dream. In 1959, when Doc was 63, he and Helen set out to fish the waters off Panama, Peru and Chile. Four years later among many other prizes, Doc had caught 115 black marlin, more than double the total ever before taken by an individual. During the same period, Helen took a women's world record in the 80 pound line class (796 pound black marlin), and record for both men and women in the 50 pound line class (584.5 pound black marlin). In 1969, Helen became the first angler ever to post a world record catch in each of the six IGFA line classes. At the time, the line classes were 12, 20, 30, 50, 80, and 130. Doc Robinson was known for his amazing ability to research and absorb the tiniest details of angling techniques, then to expand on that knowledge or, when necessary, develop completely new approaches. After Doc's death, Helen Robinson fulfilled her husband's dream of producing a documentary film of his big game fly fishing techniques. The film, entitled Marlin to the Fly, aired on PBS. The BBC produced a special which featured Helen entitled The Old Lady and the Sea.