Monday, June 25, 2012


The longtime fishing editor of Sports Afield magazine, from 1968 to 2002, has passed at the age of 97. Apparently, he turned in two stories the week before he passed as well as took a fishing trip and caught variously between 3 and 6 bass with his longtime fishing buddy Glen Lau.

You can read a nice fairly detailed story here and at least one other interview has the same quote from Mr. Lau except with a different number of fish mentioned.

Homer Circle, I found by reading these articles, had a full career as a VP with Heddon Fishing Tackle Company  prior to signing on to Sports Afield. I read him monthly for many formative fishing years of my life. He convinced me of the virtue of the green foam rubber spider fly for fly fishing for panfish and of using inner tubes for small lake fishing. and his writings on various types of fishing techniques formed the core of what kind of fisherman I am. I'm sure there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands just like me, young folks coming up during his tenure with Sports Afield who took a lot of learning from him.

I kept and still have a number of special issues of Sports Afield where an entire issue was devoted to a subject such as fly fishing or bass fishing. Homer did much of the writing and probably some editing as well. There were other great writers to be sure but Homer's articles were the ones that were read several times each month.

Another topic I remember him mentioning often was the use of various devices smaller than a boat for fishing. In the 1970's, as mentioned above, he wrote about using inner tubes as a fishing vehicle. Companies had begun making coverings for the tubes that had seats built in the bottom and pockets and rod holders on the the tops of the sides of the inner tubes. I'm pretty sure this was about the time the precurser to the sit-on-top fishing kayak, which was a Texas product known as the Water Wagon. It was a styrofoam deal, later covered in some kind of plastic coating for increasing durability, and the angler sat above the water on the block of foam as his feet dangled in the water and wearing flippers, propelled the craft in protected waters.

It seemed Mr. Circle was a man for the working man. His tips didn't require that I flew to South America or some other exotic locale to catch fish. He was doing it in my own backyard, and the backyards of thousands of Americans who read his writings.

The high school library became a respository for various magazines of the sporting world that interested me. I don't know if modern high school libraries carry outdoors, guns, fishing, hunting and other types of subjects in their periodical stacks, but they used to when I was in school. Guns and Ammo. The big three of the multi-sportsman world: Sports Afield, Field and Stream and Outdoor Life, and all these magazines had hunting and gun articles in them. Our library even had magazines like Skin Diver, Car and Driver, Road and Track, Hot Rod, Dirt Bike and other titles I was usually stuck reading in the grocery store racks.

The point is that authors like Mr. Circle were available at my school library for me to read and there were other fishermen and hunters and campers who sought out the same magazines I did. No telling how many, or how many generations of fishermen that Mr. Circle either directly or indirectly has influenced and will continue to do so.

I'm certain Mr. Circle got to fish a whole heck of a lot more than I do. Likewise, I'm sure he never complained about the amount of fishing he did, as if someone could utter the words that they'd been fishing too much lately.

I've made a concerted effort the past few months and have been going fishing nearly every two weeks. They way I figure it, Mr. Circle was about my age when he retired from a long career at Heddon, and then launched into another hugely successful career as a writer and editor when he was in his mid-50's. That's pretty inspiring to a fellow nearing that age bracket, and it's been a while since I was inspired or impressed this much.

When I read about how being the Fishing Editor of Sports Afield was really a second career for Mr. Circle, that was pretty cool. I was absolutely unaware of his long career with Heddon, of his inventions of lures and such and some of the other writing he did.

I'd love to know what kind of rigs Mr. Circle used the last 20 years or so, or really, a rundown of the gear that he boated bass with in Florida. Baits and tactics would be nice to know, but I'd especially enjoy knowing the rods and reels he considered best for bassing for him.

And was he still fly fishing? 

It sounds as if Mr. Circle lived enough life for several lesser men. Rest in peace, Mr. Circle.

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