|Bernard Herbert (Red) Fisher, the father of Canadian fishing shows and angling icon to tens of thousands of fishermen and women, died last Friday evening in Chatham, Ontario. At Red’s request, there will be no service. Instead, he asked that donations be made to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters or other conservation groups.
Anyone who enjoys watching fishing shows can thank Red Fisher for paving the way for today’s television fishing stars. In 1968, Bernard Herbert “Red” Fisher launched the Red Fisher Show and for the next 21 years he reigned as the patriarch of the genre. Red’s shows were entertaining, with an emphasis on the fun and camaraderie of fishing. The good natured ribbing between host and guest greatly contributed to the show’s appeal and many anglers dreamed of one day visiting one of the remote locations where the show was shot.
Bob Izumi, who got his start in the television world shortly before Fisher’s program ended in the late 1980s, said Fisher was his inspiration.
“I used to sit in front of the TV every Saturday afternoon and watch Red interviewing guests at Scuttle-Butt Lodge,’’ Izumi said after hearing the news about Fisher’s passing Sunday.
In 2004 Bob and Red got together and traveled to Ennadai Lake in Nunavut to film an episode of Bob’s Real Fishing Show, prophetically titled, Red’s Last Cast. After landing a huge pike, Fisher hung his rod and reel above the bar in Ennadai Lake Lodge and said that he would never fish again. Red had passed the torch to Bob.
“It was the last time he ever fished,’’ said Izumi.
Click here to view this episode of Bob Izumi's Real Fishing Show.
Along with his personal love of fishing, Red Fisher was one of the country’s greatest supporters of the sport and he used every opportunity to encourage others, especially youngsters, to try fishing. He was a devoted conservationist who believed that fishing was all about camaraderie and having fun with friends while enjoying the outdoors.
Anyone who enjoys fishing today owes Red Fisher a debt of gratitude for bringing the sport out of the wilderness and into our living rooms. He was an inspiration to many of us and the fishing world will be poorer without him.
After Bob and Red filmed Red’s Last Cast, Red Fisher was kind enough to share his philosophy of fishing along with some of his tall tales for an interview in Real Fishing Magazine. To read the entire interview, click here.
Red didn’t have a lot of time for high stakes, competitive fishing, feeling that fishing should be a more relaxed pursuit. Red explained his philosophy in a Real Fishing magazine interview in the fall of 2004.
“…I tell you, they’ve got these contests where they’re fishing for cars, they’re fishing for boats, they’re fishing for money - God didn’t put fish on the Earth for that. He put them here for the wonderful feeling that you get when you’re out in the open and you’re with friends.”