August 4, 2014 by Colin Moore
The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame recently recognized two former FLW presidents for their contributions to the sport of fishing. Charlie Hoover, FLW’s first president from 1996 to 2004, and Charlie Evans, who was FLW president from 2004 to 2010, were cited by the Hall of Fame for “the lasting and significant impact they’ve had on the sport of freshwater fishing.”
Emmett Brown, director of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame (freshwater-fishing.org), says the induction of Hoover and Evans was approved on the first vote of the selection committee, whose members include various media and fishing industry representatives.
“Charlie Evans’ and Charlie Hoover’s inductions into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame are entirely fitting, given their contributions to the sport and to the industry as a whole for many years,” says FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. “Their leadership helped usher in the modern era of tournament fishing and promotion. It was an honor working with both of them.”
Born in Hazard, Ky., Evans currently resides in a lakefront home on Kentucky Lake. In 1980, Evans fished the first Operation Bass tournament, which was held on the Barren River near Glasgow, Ky. In 1982, Operation Bass founder Mike Whittaker hired Evans as tournament director, and through the ensuing years Evans oversaw the consistent growth of the company’s tournament division under the Red Man banner.
In 1996, Irwin Jacobs purchased Operation Bass and converted it to FLW (named after Ranger founder Forrest L. Wood). Evans played an integral role in the growth of FLW, and upon his retirement in 2010, he joined the Walmart FLW Tour first as a co-angler, then as a pro.
“One of the things that I’ve always said about my career at Operation Bass and FLW is that every day was a holiday for me,” says Evans. “I had a great bunch of people to work with in a great sport where everything was constantly changing. I really appreciate this recognition, and I thank Irwin Jacobs for giving me the opportunity to play a role in the growth of FLW. This sport owes him a tremendous debt. So do I. His drive, determination and imagination made any accomplishments of mine possible, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Before becoming president of FLW in 1997, Charlie Hoover was better known as the vice president of sales and marketing for Ranger Boats. Hoover, who resides in Bull Shoals, Ark., began his career with Ranger on April 1, 1973. His business savvy and work ethic saw him rise quickly in the Ranger ranks, and Jacobs tabbed him to be the first president and CEO of the newly founded FLW soon after the company was formed. Hoover proved up to the task and presided over revolutionary changes in the way tournaments were conducted and covered by various media.
“Basically, our goal was to grow the sport of tournament fishing and the company, and we tried some different approaches to do that,” says Hoover. “At the time, tournament fishing had gotten a bit stagnant, but after FLW came along with its vitality and new ways of doing things, ideas started coming in from all over the place, and the sport has benefitted from all of them since.
“I’m proud to have been a part of that, and I’m honored to be counted in the group of people who have been inducted in the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.”