Monday, June 25, 2012

"Uncle" Homer Circle dead at 97

This is a forwarded, reposted item from well-known outdoors writer Frank Sargent of Florida about the passing of angling and outdoor writer legend "Uncle Homer Circle." Having rubbed elbows with Homer over the years I can say without a hint of being wrong that he was a thoroughly wonderful man, a gentleman in every sense of the word and a fishing writer who saw today's world of professional bass angling and other fishing systems from the ground floor.
I would like to believe that in Heaven when the Lord passes out work assignments that He'll put Uncle Homer in charge of the River of Life's fisheries.
Iconic outdoors figure dead at 97.
By Frank Sargeant
Nobody lives forever, although at times it seemed like Homer Circle of Ocala might. But “Uncle Homer”, like the rest of us, proved himself mortal this week; he passed away at 97.
Circle was one of the most famous writers on bass fishing ever, a national TV personality, a former president of the Outdoor Writers of America—and a guy who always gave more than he got.
In my closet I have a pair of 30-year old L.L. Bean boots, the soles cracked, the uppers turning to powder, that Homer gave me after a fishing trip to Rainbow Springs, near Dunnellon, FL, in about 1980 when he was still a kid of 70 or so. I wore them out in about five years, then kept them because Homer had given them to me.
Homer was a great teacher, and he left behind a million tips and how-to’s that will mark his place in fishing lore for many generations.
On that Rainbow Springs trip, though, Homer taught me one thing he didn’t intend to.
It was a chilly winter day, and Homer showed me how to make a handwarmer for the boat; you put a roll of toilet paper inside a steel coffee can, pour in some rubbing alcohol and light it up. The paper acts as a wick, and the warmer burns for a long time. When you’re done with the warmer, put the lid back on the can and the fire goes out—great tip.
However, on this particular day, Homer apparently did not get the lid solidly on the can. I helped him load his boat on the trailer and then followed him back toward his home, on five acres of woods outside Ocala. After a few miles, I noticed smoke was pouring from the back of his boat. I managed to flag him down and we checked the rig.
The warmer, flagged back to life by the moving air, had flamed up and caught a seat cushion on fire. Homer, never at a loss, reached in the ice box and grabbed a couple of soft drinks, shook them up and squirted the contents on the fire, which promptly went out. He had an answer for everything.
He was author of a half-dozen best-selling books on bass fishing, long-time bass editor of Sports Afield Magazine and later of Bassmaster, host of Sports Afield Television and several other national shows, and author of thousands of magazine articles.
But more than that, he was one of those rare guys who go through life looking not to help themselves but to help everybody he met.
Homer was originally from the Midwest, and fishing the lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin he had hundreds of buddies who were of Swedish extraction—so naturally Homer knew every Swedish joke ever told in a boat or an ice-fishing shack. He often began a phone call, not by introducing himself—because anybody who had ever watched fishing TV immediately knew his voice—but by starting one of these jokes. Some of them were mildly ribald, but I never heard the man utter a curse or make an off-color remark.
The Professional Outdoor Media Association named their highest honor after Homer, the Homer Circle Fishing Communicator’s Award. I was fortunate enough to win the award last year, perhaps a mark of longevity if not of talent.
Homer is gone, but his legacy will live on through many generations of anglers.
Circle's granddaughter, Beth Constantino, asks that as a way of remembering him, fans send notes about the way he touched their lives to: "Uncle Homer," Bassmaster Magazine, 3500 Blue Lake Dr., Suite 330, Birmingham, Alabama 35243 or email them to . Letters and emails will be collected and forwarded to family member.s.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

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