The American Sportsman

Remembering the man who brought fly-fishing in salt water to mainstream America.



Image courtesy

Legendary sportscaster and fly-fishing proponent Curt Gowdy passed away February 20, 2006. I had an opportunity to interview Gowdy several times for both print and broadcast projects concerning his longtime friend and fishing partner Ted Williams, the Splendid Splinter.

Although interviewing an icon like Gowdy seems intimidating, he always managed to put me at ease. In the end, I couldn't help feeling as though he had actually interviewed me.

Volumes could and have been written about Gowdy and his accomplishments. But little has been written about his contributions to fishing in general and fly-fishing in salt waters in particular.

Without Curt Gowdy, our sport would never have received notoriety or exposure on both ABC's Wide World of Sports and, later, The American Sportsman. Angling greats like Lefty Kreh, Stu Apte, Lee Wulff, Joe Brooks and Flip Pallot might never have appeared on the radar screen. By pairing these fishermen with sports and entertainment legends like Jack Nicklaus, Jonathan Winters and Terry Bradshaw, Gowdy introduced the sport and its purveyors to prime time.

While remembering Curt Gowdy and what he meant to our sport in particular, we can't help but mention just a few of his many achievements. Over a span of nearly seven decades, he entered 20 different halls of fame, including the International Fishing Hall of Fame, IGFA Hall of Fame, Sportswriters and Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the American Football Hall of Fame.

He was the first sports journalist to receive the prestigious Peabody Award for Outstanding Journalistic Achievement, and he received the 1997 OWAA Excellence in Craft award. He also won 13 Emmys, including six for his work on The American Sportsman.

Gowdy touched the lives of companions who spent time with him in the field.

- Capt. Ted Lund


For more on this article, please pick up the June 2006 issue of Fly Fishing in Saltwaters.