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Virgil Ward


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Sorry to report that legendary fishing T.V. host Virgil Ward has died. Here's a copy of the story I found on line:

Posted on Tue, Sep. 14, 2004

Fishing legend Virgil Ward dies at age 93

Three weeks ago Virgil Ward went fishing with his son, Bill.
Although he could barely climb into the boat, Ward was determined to fish. When the boat's motor went out, Ward insisted on helping Bill paddle into shore.

“That was my dad,” said Sandy Curnutte, one of Ward's three daughters. “He always had a very strong will, all the way up to the end.”

As usual, the day ended with a nice catch. It was the last time that Ward, one of the nation's best-known fishermen, went fishing on his private lake.

On Monday morning Ward died of bladder cancer at his Amsterdam, Mo., home. He was 93.

Ward achieved fame through his nationally syndicated television show “Championship Fishing” and several fishing innovations.

“Virgil was one of the best fishermen in the country, and I've fished with a lot of them,” said Frank Fensom, who worked for Ward and owned Frank Fensom's Sports Headquarters in Raytown. “He was honest, and he didn't exaggerate. He just went out and backed up what he said.”

In 1950, he and his son began the Bass Buster Lure Company in the back of the family's appliance shop in Amsterdam.

They patented the fiber weed guard, which is still used in manufacturing jigs. The feather jig was the first big success of the company and was followed by the maribou jig and the Beetle Spin. The company was sold to Johnson Fishing in the 1970s, but Ward's career had long since taken off.

Ward built his reputation through several tournament victories, including the 1962 World Series of Sport Fishing, the 1964 National Championship of Fresh Water Fishing and the 1964 Outdoor Writers and Broadcasters National Fishing Tournament.

By 1963, Ward was writing a column that appeared in 455 newspapers and was host of a radio show on 200 stations.

“Championship Fishing” began in 1964 and was syndicated throughout the country. Ward went fishing around the world and often included celebrities like George Brett, Pete Rose and Wayne Gretzky. The show lasted 27 seasons and was the No. 1-ranked fishing show for 24 of them, according to www.bassinusa.com.

Last December, Ward celebrated his 70th anniversary with his wife, Cleda. He is also survived by four children, nine grandsons and several great-grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Schowengerdt Funeral Chapel in Butler, Mo. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Twin Lakes Hospice, 304 Main Street, Warsaw, MO 65355.

— Kevin Kaduk/The Star

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God Bless Virgil and all that loved Him! There are very few originals in the world of angling. Virgle Ward is one of them!

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"Championship Fishing TV Show Theme Song"

From the lakes of northern Canada
To the Gulf of Mexico.
Wherever fish are biting
That's where we're going to go.
There's a lot of exciting country
Just waiting to be explored.
So join us now in the great outdoors,
The World of Virgil Ward

I always loved the lure demonstrations that Virgil did in the aquarium. I wish they'd show some of those old school shows on Classic Sports or make them available on DVD. - Vern

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Wow, I diddnt know he was still alive?!

I credit Virgil with getting me REALLY hooked on fishing. I never missed a show when I was a kid, looked forward to it every weekend.

I think my favorite part of the show was when he would pull out the lure of the day and show how it worked in his studio fish tank..classic stuff.

We'll miss ya Virg.

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Well, I know it isn't scientific but I'd say that's good proof that fishing is good for the soul and the heart. I better start putting more in for retirement. I could be here for a while.

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God rest his soul.

I was watching Virgil and Jerry Mac on the Fishin' Hole before TV fishing shows were popular.

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I think the very first fishing show I watched was Virgil Ward's. In fact, I won a Minnkota 35 Trolling motor way back in 1969 by listening to his show and writing him a letter.
He would choose one letter each week and send them a tackle box, life vest, etc. Since I was in to Bass fishing, at that time, I sent him a letter inviting him to Minnesota where I would "guide" him on a Minnesota Bass fishing adventure. I never did get a chance to fish with Virgil but I used that trolling motor for over 20 years, then sold it. I guess I should have notified Minnkota about how great their trolling motor was but never did and I was fishing every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day and two weeks during the summer. I even used it for some duck hunting.
Virgil you will be missed.

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I remember that show a lot from when I was a kid as well. At the time we watched it, it seemed a little cheesy, but my memories of it are fond as it makes me think of times at my grandparent's place. I remember those studio tank demos were kind of cool. The song is kind of cool too, reminds you of a simpler time.

I guess it's a tribute of sorts that my fishing buddy & I use his name as one of our handles when we call each other. He's Virgil, I'm Roland Martin. We don't necessarily think we're that good, it just kind of cracks us up.

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Like most of you this was the first fishing show that I ever saw. I would hustle back from church just to hear the song. When I was about 9, I wrote him a letter filled with questions. He wrote me a letter back and even threw in a little plastic from lure. He sent me an autographed post card. I caught my first fish on a lure with this lure. I wrote him back to let him know and to let him know that I lost his post card. He sent me another one. What a guy! It is proudly displayed behind my bar. Here's a cold one to you Mr. Ward!

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Thinking about that show just brings you back, don't it. For guys my age, it brings you back to the day where you had zero responsibility. You just had to figure out how to get to a body of water.

And, my favorite part of the show, as well, was the lure-in-tank demos at the end of the show. I would love to have the World of Virgil Ward on DVD.

Ray Esboldt

Catch-N Tackle
Stone Legacy

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