NASHVILLE — Bill Dance, a Tennessee native and national fishing icon, has been honored for his many contributions to the sport of fishing and as a long-time proponent and supporter of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and its efforts to manage and improve fishing in the state.
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission and TWRA expressed their gratitude to Mr. Dance with a resolution during the January TFWC meeting that was held at the Ducks Unlimited National Headquarters in Memphis. TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter read the resolution that listed many of Mr. Dance’s contributions and accomplishments through the years and presented him a plaque engraved with the resolution.
“It is an honor and privilege to have known Bill for so many years and honor him,” Director Carter said. “He has brought people into our state to enjoy all the different things it has and so many people into the sport of fishing. We (the TWRA) have called on Bill many times throughout the years.”
A native of Collierville, Mr. Dance is known as Bass Fishing’s “First Superstar.” He is the winner of 23 National Bass titles, and Bassmaster Classic qualifier eight of nine years with an “in the money” finish percentage so high he was able to retire from competition at age 39.
He has enjoyed a television career spanning more than 45 years, producing more than 2,000 educational and comedy “blooper” programs. His popular television series have included Bill Dance Outdoors on Destination America and Bill Dance Saltwater, which airs on The Outdoor Channel.
“I am blessed to have received several awards in my lifetime, but this one here is absolutely truly special, more than most,” said Mr. Dance. “I don’t think there is anything the TWRA doesn’t know about taking care of our wildlife, so the fact that this plaque comes from a group that I have the utmost respect for is what makes it so incredibly special for me.”
Mr. Dance wears the famous “Power T” hat on every show which has raised a greater awareness for the University of Tennessee and the state. He continues to be a spokesman and ambassador for Tennessee through the Department of Tourism, inviting visitors from across the United States and around the world to come to the state and fish and enjoy all the beauty and activities that the state offers.
Mr. Dance, winner of the Congressional National Water Safety Award, has always been willing to appear on-camera promoting the safe use of life jackets for boaters and fishermen. He has produced an instructional video outlining the dangers and potential detriment to Tennessee fisheries by Asian carp.
He is regarded as the true father of the “catch and release” practice adopted by many anglers. He also has promoted the pursuit of trophy catfish which has resulted in an increase of angler interest and participation.
Mr. Dance has written articles for most major outdoor magazines. He also has authored seven books. His accomplishments, techniques and fishing prowess have been publicized in most of the nation’s largest newspapers.