2020 National Fresh Water Fishing
Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony
Emmett A. Brown, Jr.
Upon selling his founding interest in a successful financial recruiting firm in Chicago, Illinois, Emmett and his wife Jean moved to Hayward, Wisconsin in order for Brown to assume the helm as Executive Director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in 2004. Mr. Brown's duties include the overseeing of the Hall's day to day museum operations, the administration of the Hall's fresh water sportfishing world record keeping program and perhaps, most importantly, the administration of the Hall's namesake international Hall of Fame program. Under Brown's watchful eye (and with the unwavering help of the entire Awards Committee), this program has grown exponentially over the last 10 years. It truly has become an international program that is revered by the entire fresh water sportfishing community. Emmett is a lifelong fisherman who enjoys crappies in the spring, summer smallies and battling a muskellunge or two during the late summer and fall.
Tommy Skarlis (Iowa) is often described as one of the most versatile anglers on the planet. Most notable sportfishing anglers are stereotyped into a single category, such as angler, guide or communicator. He’s a touring walleye and crappie fishing professional who enjoys hooking panfish through the ice, bass in the backwaters and walleyes on the massive Great Lakes. His charismatic acute ability to share this multi-species knowledge with others makes Skarlis even more significant to the outdoor world.
An Iowa native, Skarlis began fishing at age 3. He honed his fishing skills on the Mississippi River, along with the small lakes, farm ponds and expansive reservoirs throughout the Midwest. Skarlis’ knack for stalking walleyes turned into a tournament fishing career in 1991. From 1993 through 1998 he fished the Masters Walleye Circuit (MWC), and along the way, he earned many high honors. In addition to qualifying for the championship eight-out-of-eight times, he won the event once on Big Stone Lake, MN.
In 1996, Skarlis joined In-Fisherman’s Professional Walleye Trail (PWT). He thundered through the circuit, winning the prestigious “PWT Angler of the Year” title in 2004, snatching 17 top-ten finishes, capturing several “Big Fish” awards and qualifying for the PWT Championship thirteen
straight times. Skarlis earned the nicknames “Mr. Erie” and “Mr. April” by winning the first PWT event in 2001 at the Detroit River, and in 2002, at Lake Erie.
In 2008, he won the most prestigious title in walleye fishing – the FLW Walleye Tour Championship. Skarlis has qualified for over forty national championships and is one of the hottest tournament anglers in the history of competitive sportfishing. Skarlis was named one of the Top-Ten Anglers on the planet by Outdoor Life.
Bruce DeShano’s (Michigan) credentials in the fishing arena are impressive, original, educational, and in many cases unparalleled. He owns and operates OffShore Tackle, a trolling board, and trolling orientated company out of Michigan. DeShano got his start many years ago Great Lakes trolling for salmon and trout, and built products that catered to the Great Lakes trolling community. He quickly realized that many of the same ideas would work well in the walleye fishing community and teamed with expert anglers to brainstorm, innovate and manufacture products for this fast growing industry. DeShano not only was a business owner that catered to anglers, but he is an accomplished angler in his own right. His prowess with salmon and trout is well known with many tournament wins on the Great Lakes. He has studied the walleye game and for many years fished walleye tournaments at the highest level with many top finishes.
DeShano is not just a manufacturer who builds products, but an angler that participates, learns more about each species and innovates his product line to help everyone catch more fish. One of his best attributes is what he gives back to the sport. DeShano has sponsored more anglers than almost any company in existence. From salmon and trout, to walleyes and now crappies, he has helped out many anglers through his sponsorships and support.