Mr. Circle: Christian Gentleman

Homer Circle died Friday. He was 97. If you’re reading this then you probably know who I’m talking about.

Mr. Circle was a hall of famer (Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame). There were many, many other accolades.

Following a career as a successful business executive he served as Fishing Editor for Sports Afield from 1968 to 2002. For most of that time Sports Afield was part of the outdoor magazine Big 3 (Outdoor Life and Field & Stream being the other two) and was my favorite. Mr. Circle was a favorite among the favorites.

To generations of readers and fishermen he was “Uncle Homer,” a moniker he enjoyed. I always called him Mr. Circle. Although he asked me not to I don’t think he really minded.

This is where I would like to say that Mr. Circle and I were close friends, had fished together frequently and enjoyed travels to remote and exotic angling destinations. We were not close friends and I never had the pleasure of fishing or traveling with him (aside, of course, from traveling through his splendidly crafted prose). I’ve been a fan of his work most of my life but we only met a handful of times, always at some type of fishing-related event. Each time we met, however briefly, Mr. Circle treated me as though I was the most important person in the world; and that he had all the time in the world to spend with me. His encouragement was unflagging, always telling me to “keep up the good work.” It was worth more that I can say.

Mr. Circle’s accomplishments were many: columnist, author, television host, fisherman, businessman . . . the finest ambassador fishing – and particularly bass fishing – has or may ever have.

I would add another: Christian gentleman, which, in my view supersedes all the others. I think Mr. Circle would agree.