Larry Dahlberg has caught more big fish than just about anyone in angling history. For nearly 25 years, the host of The Hunt for Big Fish has scoured the globe for everything from Nile River Perch to Suriname Catfish.
As it turns out, Dahlberg will need to take a break from his angling odyssey in a few weeks for a visit to Springfield, Mo., when he will be inducted into the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.
“I am,” said Dahlberg, “overwhelmed and humbled.”
Dahlberg received the news last spring by mail via a formal IGFA induction letter to his Taylors Falls, Minn. residence. The TFO national advisory staffer joins fellow inductees Rick Clunn (four-time Bassmaster Classic winner), Peter Fithian (Hawaiian Billfish Tournament founder), Mike Levitt (white marlin world-record holder) and Eric Prince (billfish biologist). All are part of the IGFA’s 19th hall-of-fame class, which will be officially introduced on Oct. 28.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a bunch of really good anglers,” Dahlberg said during a phone interview last week. “Some are well known and some are unknown. You pick up a little bit from each one of them. I was born in a tiny town of 931 people in a little backwater of Wisconsin. I never had any plans to leave the county. I had everything I needed 15 miles from where I was standing. Now it’s been 50, 60 years, and I’ve been to 87 countries and it’s been just a blur. I’m in disbelief of a whole lot of things, actually. How did I get so old? Where did all the time go?”
Equally adept with a baitcaster, fly rod or spinning reel, Dahlberg is best known for his TV show, The Hunt for Big Fish, which has been on the air since the early 1990s. He also has invented a number of lures and flies and is perhaps best known for designing the Dahlberg Diver.
“Larry’s lifelong commitment to growing the body of fishing knowledge and then sharing it, has significantly benefitted anglers and the growth of our sport globally,” Temple Fork CEO Frank-Paul King said.
Dahlberg is the fourth TFO staffer to receive IGFA Hall-of-Fame honors. The other three are Lefty Kreh (2003), Gary Loomis (2007) and Flip Pallot (2015).
“Larry rightly joins Lefty, Flip and Gary as IGFA Hall of Famers, not for what they’ve done, but for what they’ve shared,” King said of Dahlberg, who helped develop the series of TFO Big Fish rods. “For 22 years, TFO’s mission has been making more anglers good for the good of the sport and as a result, there’s a piece of each one of them in every rod we make. For this reason, we are extremely humbled and proud to call them our heroes, mentors and friends.”
The IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame recognizes significant achievements in recreational fishing around the world by anglers, captains, scientists, conservationists, writers and fishing-industry leaders. The first class, honoring 29 of the sport’s greats, was inducted in 1998. Since then, 81 anglers have been welcomed at the annual induction ceremony in October of each year.