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Bass fishing community pays tribute to Irwin Jacobs

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The bass fishing community has been paying tribute to the FLW Chairman and CEO, Irwin Jacobs, who died aged 77 this week.

Irwin Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of the US-based Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), and his wife, Alexandra, were found dead this week at their home in Minnesota.

Leader of the FLW and founder of the FLW Tour, Mr Jacobs had a revolutionary impact throughout his career. “He catapulted professional fishing in the late 1990s and early 2000s with his visions of what the sport could become,” said bass fishing website, Wired2Fish. “He made $100,000 paydays the norm and wrapped boats, trucks and jerseys became commonplace in the sport.

“He brought in massive non-endemic exposure through companies like Walmart, BP, General Motors and Procter and Gamble, and organisations that included the National Guard. He awarded not only the first $1million payday for bass professional anglers, but also fantasy fishing players.

“He invested millions of his own money into the sport of fishing because he believed in what it could become.”

At one time Jacobs was head of Genmar Holdings, which for much of the last 30 years was considered the largest boat builder in the US. He oversaw brands like Hatteras, Ranger Boats, Stratos and Glastron before selling to Platinum Equity in 2010 – the year in which he was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.

In an official statement, FLW said: “It is with deep sadness that we mourn the passing of FLW Chairman and CEO, Irwin Jacobs, and his loving wife, Alexandra. We, as an organisation, are devastated by the loss and remember the leadership and passion in which Mr Jacobs led our organisation. We ask the bass fishing community to keep the Jacobs family in your thoughts and prayers during this time.”

Kathy Fennel, FLW President of Operations, said: “This week has been a difficult time for the FLW family and the entire sport of professional bass fishing. Mr Jacobs did so much for our organisation and truly had a revolutionary impact on the industry throughout his time as owner of FLW.

“He cared deeply about the anglers and staff and he gave us the unwavering support needed to be successful. I remain humbled and honoured for the leadership opportunity he provided me. It was a privilege to know and work for Mr Jacobs and his impact on our organisation as well as our sport will continue.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Trish and the entire Jacobs family during this time.”


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