Reposted from Dan Bacher by Dan Bacher
The annual awards ceremony for the California Outdoor Hall of Fame will be at 4 pm on Saturday, January 10 in the California Sportsmen Theatre at the International Sportsmen's Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.
Record holding angler tops state Outdoors Hall of Fame
By Tom Stienstra
A Bay Area angler who gained world renown when he caught and released two world-record fish was the leading vote getter last week for induction into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame.
Armand Castagna of San Rafael was named on 80 percent of the ballots. He will be inducted Saturday at the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo, which runs Thursday through next Sunday.
Unlike baseball’s Hall of Fame, which is voted on by writers, the primary voters for the Outdoors Hall of Fame are members, the “Circle of Chiefs.” Candidates must be named on at least 60 percent of ballots to gain admission.
All candidates must be nominated through the Hall of Fame website, http://caloutdoorshalloffame.org, and must fulfill two requirements to make the ballot:
•They have to have inspired thousands of Californians to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation, typically doing so outside their primary job.
•And they have to have taken part in a scope of adventures that extends outside the primary region where they live.
In addition to Castagna, this year’s class includes Dan Bacher of Sacramento and Roy Weatherby of Los Angeles. Bacher is a watchdog conservation writer who has ventured to hundreds of lakes and streams across California. Weatherby, who was selected posthumously, was the inventor of modern ballistics and founder of the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award.
A world-renowned angler, bay and ocean skipper, communicator and conservationist, Castagna pioneered a catch-and-release approach to world-record fish after returning a 32-pound, 8-ounce steelhead to the water in 2000.
He filmed the release of that potential record-setter but was denied the standard by the International Game Fish Association because he didn’t kill the fish. Castagna pressed the issue and created a worldwide debate on the ethics of trophy fishing, prompting the association to set standards for registering potential world-record catches that have been released.
Two years after that catch, he released another world-record steelhead (28.5 pounds on 8-pound line), and this time he was awarded a game fish association world record in a watershed moment.
In the 1980s, to the disbelief of many, Castagna had begun releasing steelhead and other elusive trophy fish that he caught. He knows there were some who thought he was crazy. Now, however, many anglers from Northern California to Alaska release their trophy catches.
“Why would you kill what you love the most and then remove the very genetics that inspire you?” Castagna asks. “I release them to fight again another day and to pass on their world-class DNA to their progeny.”
Castagna’s special charter trips aboard his boat on San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean have attracted numerous celebrities, including former manager Dusty Baker and other members of the Giants. Rather that running standard-timed trips, day in and day out, Castagna custom-designs each trip according to that day’s tides, feed conditions and fish patterns.
Castagna is also a teacher. He has produced two films on steelhead fishing (in which all the fish are released), published more than 40 articles, provided free seminars across California and the Northwest, and donated fishing trips and equipment to youth organizations.
He promotes a conservation message in everything he does, from fighting for adequate flows on the Trinity River to the net-pen release of juvenile salmon in San Francisco Bay. He is renowned for his fishing expertise and leadership in catch-and-release fishing, yet his impact on people, one at a time, is also recognized by anybody who has met him.
California’s foremost “watchdog” journalist for fisheries and conservation, Bacher writes a far-reaching column that appears on websites and in newspapers and e-mail lists across the western United States. He takes on politicians, government agencies and their appointed directors, corporate agribusiness interests and big oil companies — “anybody who does harm to California’s natural resources and fisheries,” Bacher said.
“The biggest problem we face in the battle to restore our fish populations is that agribusiness, big oil, developers and other powerful corporate interests wield enormous influence over the government agencies that are supposed to guard our natural resources,” Bacher said.
His stories include identifying the first salmon deaths in 2002 on the Klamath River in a fish kill that went on to number 70,000 adult salmon.
Bacher is a founding member of both the California Inland Fisheries Foundation and Restore the Delta, and he promotes American Indian cultures and rights. He has also served on the board of directors for United Anglers of California, the California Water Impact Network and Water for Fish.
He is best known as the 30-year editor of Fish Sniffer, a biweekly newspaper for anglers. He used that position as a springboard to visit hundreds of lakes and streams, and in the process has become one of California’s most traveled anglers. His adventures span from Canada to Central America, where he has caught and released many exotic species of fish.
Stoked by a fascination in ballistics and firearms, Weatherby’s experiments in his Los Angeles garage in the 1940s led to creation of the Mark V action rifle for Weatherby Firearms. It is still considered the world’s strongest bolt-action rifle, and the name Weatherby is world famous among hunters.
His early ballistic experiments proved that lightweight bullets traveling at high speeds perform better than heavier bullets fired at low velocity, which revolutionized the gun industry. Weatherby developed several high-speed cartridges, all of which are still popular and bear his name, such as the .300 Weatherby Magnum. To test his creations, Weatherby hunted from the Arctic Circle to Africa.
He also devoted his life to wildlife conservation. In 1956, he created the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award, which recognizes efforts to educate the non-hunting public about the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting, especially its contributions to wildlife conservation.
His foundation, the Weatherby Foundation, has sponsored more than 1 million people in events in 19 states that emphasize a combination of shooting along with wildlife conservation and education.
Weatherby died in 1988 at the age of 77.
Outdoors Hall of Fame
2002: Galen Rowell, Carole Latimer, Ed Rice, Brian Robinson. Posthumous: John Muir
2003: Tom Stienstra, Leslie Appling, Keith Fraser. Posthumous: Roy Cannon, Ansel Adams
2004: John Reginato, Bob Fletcher, Ola Eikrem, Peter Ottesen. Posthumous: Joe Walker
2005: Bill Karr, Doug Stoup, Bob Franko. Posthumous: William Brewer
2006: Terry Hodges, Richard May, Jack O’Neill, Dee Thomas. Posthumous: Jedediah Smith
2007: Bob Coomber, Laurie Bagley, Yvon Chouinard, Bill Beebe. Posthumous: Josiah Whitney
2008: Rick Copeland, Gary Graham. Posthumous: Francis Farquhar
2009: Steve Rajeff, William Lemos, Nic Fiore. Posthumous: Galen Clark
2010: Steve Carson, Hal Janssen, Ken & Marcia Powers
2011: Skeet Reese, Jerry Karnow, Marty MacDonnell, Billy Gianquinto
2012: James Adams, Sep Hendrickson, Il Ling New, Scott Williamson. Posthumous: Bill Schaadt, Frederick Law Olmsted
2013: Jacqueline Douglas, Ed Migale, Michael Farrior. Posthumous: Norman Clyde
2014: Bob Ford, John Koeberer, Dick Penniman, Randy Houston. Posthumous: Bill Poole
2015: Armand Castagna, Dan Bacher. Posthumous: Roy Weatherby.