The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wis., is the epicenter of all things fishing and education for freshwater fishing.
After an autumn fishing outing on Mission Lake north of Merrifield, Straw tried to locate the largemouth bass he loves to catch in the central Minnesota lake. Using his knowledge during a tough bite, Straw was able to catch one fish but most of the late season bass eluded the angler this time.
According to his biography, Straw grew up around trout streams and bass lakes in Michigan. Always fascinated with water, he used his spare time to research baitfish, aquatic insects and limnology in the biology library at the University of Michigan, where he graduated with degrees in communication and English literature with a teaching certificate.
Straw said his professors encouraged him to publish and he did, placing articles with outdoor magazines even before graduating and landing a reporting job with Advance Newspapers. Five years later, his beat was already the biggest in that chain’s history. He was offered a position as staff editor with In-Fisherman magazine, accepted, and served there for 20 years.
During that time, Straw reported he introduced concepts like using biodiversity to locate fish, catching smallmouths “in space,” bobber-wacky rigging, pinpointing depths in the water column without downriggers, and many more. Reporting on things like satellite imagery to find “invisible structure,” he often beat the angling media to the story.
Though hardly a regular tournament angler (entering only 17 bass tournaments in 30 years), he won four, including the prestigious Sturgeon Bay Open, and 11 other times placed in the top 10. He has fished all over North America from the Arctic to the Sierra Madres, filming dozens of TV segments during his travels.
An inveterate and accomplished multi-species fisherman, Straw gives seminars on tactics for bass, walleyes, salmon, steelhead, lakers, brown trout, pike, muskies and panfish. He has appeared in Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, N.Y, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Fargo, N.D., Green Bay and Madison in Wisconsin, and many other cities and towns.
Today, Straw reports he uses his vast multi-species experience to help youngsters find fish and enjoy the outdoors by volunteering to speak and bait hooks for kids groups and outings throughout the Midwest. Now a field editor for In-Fisherman, he is also a freelancer for a variety of venues, and continues to churn out new angling tactics and concepts on a regular basis.