Californian among six legends to be inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame 2024


HAYWARD, WIS.— The International Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame will be inducting six individuals into their 2024 class. This recognition is bestowed on those that have spent a great share of their lives promoting, educating, and sharing their passion for freshwater fishing in a manner that positively impacts the sport for the millions of anglers around the world. There are many who love to fish, but few that can be considered Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Famers.

One is California angler Bill Murphy who stands among the original western trophy bass specialists. From the late 1960’s through the mid 1990’s, no fisherman was more emblematic of the rise of big bass fishing in Southern California than “Lunker” Bill Murphy. During this span, his monthly contributions to the catch census on the San Diego city and county lakes following the introduction of Florida strain largemouth were remarkable. As those fish grew, so did Murphy’s reputation.

Murphy had been introduced to plastic worm techniques in the early 1960’s by the experts of the era. Besides his plastic worm success with a technique called “stitching,” – a method he pioneered and which Lunker City Lure company adapted products for in the 1990’s – Murphy also excelled with live baits. Later in his career he added leadcore trolling to his repertoire as well.

In 1992 he got the notion to share his experiences and knowledge and he compiled the materials that made up the basis for his 1992 book, “In Pursuit of Giant Bass,” co-written with Chicagoan Paul Prorok.


San Diego fishery biologist Larry Bottroff, who personally observed, measured, weighed, and handled many of Murphy’s catches over 20-plus years, described “Lunker” Bill as, “one of the greatest bass fishermen of our time.”

In his obituary by San Diego-based outdoor writer Ed Zieralski that appeared in Western Outdoor News on May 28, 2004, Botroff was also quoted as saying “he was one of the best fishermenI can remember. There was a time when every time he came in, he had a 7-, 8-, or 9-pound bass. It was amazing. He was fishing structure before there were graphs. He just really knew the lakes and the fish.”

Murphy spent the bulk of his fishing career hunting for the next world record. His personal best was a 17-pound, 1-ounce largemouth he caught in San Vicente Reservoir. Long-time Western Outdoor News writer George Kramer played a big part in Murphy’s induction, and he dug deep into the WON archive for materials supporting Murphy’s “case.”

The others set to be inducted to the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame with Murphy include Albert Gagliarducci, Tim Huffman, Jerry Martin, Dan Small and Roger Stegall

The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum is the international headquarters for education, recognition, and promotion of fresh water sportfishing. Their mission is to develop and maintain the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and its museum for the preservation and display of historical artifacts of fresh water sportfishing. Visit their web site: