Mark Fisher, a legendary angler who’s played a key role in designing a number of Rapala®’s most iconic lures, was inducted into the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame on Friday, March 23. The honor celebrates Fisher’s outstanding impact on the state’s sport fishing industry and his work to introduce generation after generation to the joys of the Great Outdoors.
The Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame induction recognizes Fisher’s decades-long career as a best-in-class tournament angler, television and radio personality, and groundbreaking work as chief lure designer at Rapala® USA. Fisher was nominated for the Hall by his peers in the Minnesota outdoors industry, a detail that makes the accomplishment all the more meaningful for the 65-year-old outdoorsman.
“I’m absolutely humbled and blown away to join the 2018 class of the Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame,” says Fisher. “Ever since I caught my first fish, I’ve found great joy fishing throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes — there’s no place like it for the avid angler. I have formed amazing, lifelong friendships because of the opportunities afforded to me through the sport. This honor means the world knowing it comes from all the wonderful people I’ve met on the water over the years.”
Born in Minneapolis and raised in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Fisher’s angling journey began on the waters of Lake Ida in Alexandria, Minnesota. There, during one of many family vacations, he tied on an Original Floating® Rapala® for the first time and immediately caught not one, but two fish — a bluegill on the lure’s front treble hook and a walleye on the rear. In the years following, he honed his angling skills and established himself as a successful professional bass angler. During his time as a tournament angler, Fisher earned the title of 1999 Chevrolet Silverado Circuit Angler of the Year and qualified for the Ranger Boats M1 Millennium Bass Tournament Qualifier, a competition with a $1 million prize.
Outside of the tournament circuit, Fisher has made an incredible impact on the world of sport fishing as chief lure designer at Rapala USA, where he’s been a full-time member of the team since 2000. In collaboration with his team in the U.S. and his Finnish counterparts, he’s helped conceive and bring to market some of the most groundbreaking lures to ever hit the water, ensuring each and every bait will swim with an attention-grabbing action straight out of the box and meet the brand’s strict fish-catching standards.
Inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in 2011, Fisher has played a hand in creating Rapala baits that have gone on to become tackle box staples around the globe.
From the iconic Rapala X-Rap®,
which introduced the term “slashbait” to the angling world for the first time,
and the Rapala® DT® Series,
the first bait to boast an innovative rattle system within a balsa body,
to new favorites like the
Rapala® Shadow Rap®
“Since joining the Rapala family — first as one of our top pro-staffers in 1988, then later as a visionary lure designer — Mark has helped spread the joys of fishing to every corner of the State of Minnesota and beyond,” says Tom Mackin, president of Rapala USA. “Few people have the passion, enthusiasm and skill that make Mark such a great ambassador for the sport. We’re extremely proud of all he’s accomplished and are overjoyed to celebrate his Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame induction.”
When he’s not busy imagining the next great Rapala lure, Fisher spends his time giving back to the Minnesota community by volunteering with a variety of programs benefiting people in need and through speaking engagements focused on encouraging youth to experience fishing and, in turn, learn the valuable lessons the sport has to offer.
“Fishing has been an amazing teacher over the years,” says Fisher, reflecting on his Hall of Fame career. “The sport has taught me the value of hard work and how important it is to take every opportunity you get. Life moves so fast — it can go by in a blink. My advice to young, up-and-coming anglers is to realize that and stop to enjoy every precious moment on the water with your loved ones. I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad experience in a boat. My biggest hope is that future generations will continue to enjoy time spent on the water and in the Great Outdoors like I have.”
The Minnesota Fishing Hall of Fame honor is far from the final chapter in Fisher’s storybook career. He will continue his work as chief lure designer at Rapala USA and as a Rapala pro-staff team member. A devoted husband, father of two daughters and grandfather to three grandsons, Fisher will continue to blend his angling career and personal life by enjoying the Great Outdoors with family. He expects his two oldest grandsons — who are “nuts for fishing” — to keep him plenty busy on the water for years to come.