Lee Wulff


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Lee Wulff1905 - 1991
1998 Inductee

Lee Wulff's contributions to the world of angling are among the greatest of any single individual. Wulff popularized fishing all of his life and reached millions through his books and magazine articles, films, and productions for the television series, The American Sportsman. In filming one episode, he met champion fly-caster, Joan Salvato, whom he married. Wulff's career began in advertising in New York. He had earned a civil engineering degree from Stanford, wanted to be an artist, but loved sport fishing best of all. He soon bailed out of big business to pursue his passion. In 1931, while Wulff was teaching anglers to tie flies, he conceived and designed the fishing vest which is in popular use today. Soon he was writing for fishing magazines as he pursued his passion for angling, especially in the Canadian wilderness. Wulff had a zeal for catching fish on light, inexpensive equipment. In 1967 off Ecuador, he landed a 148-pound striped marlin on 12-pound test to set a long-lasting IGFA record. As satisfying to Wulff as the record was the fact that he had set it with a rod and reel that nearly everyone could afford. After 1979, Lee and Joan Wulff operated a fly fishing school on the Beaverkill River in the Catskill Mountains. Here, Wulff encouraged and taught others the sport of his lifetime. He was also very active in conservation efforts, and instrumental in popularizing catch and release practices. He coined a phrase which became a rallying cry for angling conservationists: "Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once."