Remembering top angler Randy Amenrud, a true fishing pioneer

Randy Amenrud left this world recently to fish with his angling brothers and sisters on heavenly lakes where even St. Peter will be envious of his prowess with a jig. I first met Amenrud in the mid 1980s when he was a partner with Gary Roach promoting Lindy-Little Joe and fishing the newly emerging national walleye tournament events. I interviewed him at the first MWC Championship on Lake Minnetonka where he and Roach were partnered up and even though they didn’t finish in the top spot Amenrud was in a joyous mood and joking as always about how he would have won the event if he could have included bass in the mix.

Amenrud was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame in 2000. He co-authored four books on fishing and performed countless seminars over the years. His columns graced the pages of Outdoor News as well as many other publications for much of his career as a fishing educator and he taught through example many who entered the outdoor industry as promoters because everyone knew he was one of the pioneers who, with his early partners, created the model which is still used today.

The bottom line is that Amenrud was a tremendous angler with a joyous spirit who many in the industry called their friend. He was always willing to share his knowledge with others and because much of what he shared was revolutionary for the times, the information created generations of successful anglers.

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On an outing on Lake Winnibigoshish in the early 1990s Amenrud put on a clinic for a bunch of us outdoor communicators using Lindy Fuzz-E-Grub jigs tipped with fathead minnows. He rigged everyone up and told us to have some fun. Everyone casted out and started pumping their rod tips and swimming their jigs. Amenrud casted his jig out and dropped the rod into a holder. The jig was just dragging along the bottom. After a half-dozen fish came on his rig we were all looking for rod holders. Once everyone created a stationary rod platform Amenrud lifted his rod out of the rod holder and started doing some twitching and small erratic pulses letting the jig rest between the action. He outfished us all about five to one. He went on to explain the theory behind successful jigging and sent us all off with a great story.

Once after Amenrud won a major national walleye tournament I caught up to him right after the event ended and asked him if he would be willing to share his winning presentation. He laid out his entire program over the next 45 minutes so that I could share it with those who read my story. Trust me: Few pro anglers are so willing to just give up their most prized secrets, but Amenrud knew that successful anglers buy gear and that kept him on top of the business of outdoor promotions.

While those of us that were close to Randy Amenrud will miss him, we also realize he lived fully for his family and friends and he touched the lives of millions spreading the joy of fishing and we consider ourselves lucky that we were part of his time on this earth.

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