Those We Honor

You’ll find more than just fishing celebrities in this list. One can make a significant impact
on the lives of many without ever being well known. It is important to honor all of
those who had a great influence on the great sport of fishing, whether famous or not.
Corporate advances tend to be much more visible to us. For it’s their products that
shape the evolution of the sport of fishing.

Scott Bonnema

Scott Bonnema

Inducted 2024

Scott Bonnema, native of Prinsburg, MN, spent his formative years as a farmhand to his uncle and grandfather, which helped develop a strong work ethic and a love for the outdoors. On occasions when the work concluded early, they would test their angling skills in the nearby Kandiyohi County lakes. Following high school, he pursued a degree in Non-Destructive Testing from Hutchinson Technical College. Scott’s career led him to California, where he became a member of a local bass club after encouragement from a friend. Scott quickly caught on to the California fishery and achieved an angler of the year title. His success granted him qualification in to the Red Man Tournament Series, igniting his passion for competitive bass fishing.

In 1989 Scott returned back to Minnesota and continued his involvement in tournament bass fishing. He participated in various club tournaments, the Don Shelby Tournaments, Silverado Pro-Am, Sturgeon Bay Open, NABC, and the 2000 Ranger Boats Millennium Tournament among others. His skills earned him qualification for six FLW/TBF Nationals and one B.A.S.S National tournament. During this period, Scott served as a pro-staffer on the National Fuji Film Fishing Team.

Scott also played an early role as a committee member for the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic Tournament which has now reached its 25th year. This tournament has successfully raised over 5.8 million dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Furthermore, Scott presently serves as a board member of the Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance, an organization dedicated to rebuilding, preserving and maintaining Mille Lacs as a world class trophy smallmouth bass fishery.

In 2013, Scott acquired the Classic Bass website with the intention of providing information about tournaments in the Midwest and educating anglers about bass fishing products and techniques. Four years later, he created the Champions Tour bass tournament which follows a unique catch, record and release format. The tournament engages with youth boat officials from the Student Angler Tournament Trail allowing them to observe and learn from professional anglers. During the tournament, the boat officials utilize the Reel LiveWell App, developed by Classic Bass, to record the fish’s weight and capture a photograph. Spectators can access the app and view the tournament leaderboard as it changes in real-time. The Reel LiveWell App has also been adopted for use in other tournaments nationwide.