About the Honoree

Tom McGuane has built an impressive literary career, from humble beginnings as the “Humor Editor” at his high school newspaper, The Crane, to becoming one of the most accomplished and diversely talented authors of our time. He gained acclaim by deftly exploring the depths of human relationships and bringing a decidedly local feel to all of his writing. Whether the context is set in Michigan, the Florida Keys, or the plains of Montana, he deeply understands the environs in which his characters live.

The author of over a dozen novels, screen plays, and short stories, his novel, The Bushwhacked Piano, won the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1971 and his novel, Ninety-Two in the Shade was nominated for a National Book Award in 1974. He is also the recipient of the 2009 Wallace Stegner Award, courtesy of the Center of the American West, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. An avid outdoorsman who has both won Fly Rod & Reel Magazine’s 2010 Angler of the Year and been inducted into the Cutting Horse Hall of Fame (2005), McGuane infuses his works with a rich appreciation of the natural world.

Highlights of the Night

A spirited crowd gathered at the New York Racquet & Tennis Club on April 5, 2017 for the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s 2017 Heritage Award honoring author Tom McGuane. Guests caught up with one another over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while browsing a wide selection of one of a kind live and silent auction items. Among the items donated for the night’s festivities included fly fishing equipment from Richard Wheatley, Douglas Outdoors, Orvis, and Simms as well as a multitude of fly fishing trips and experience getaways.

The Executive Director of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, Bob Ruley, addressed the guests prior to dinner and congratulated Mr. McGuane on receiving the honor from the museum. He touched upon the literary great’s ability to connect with his readers, saying that he could never fight a bonefish again without thinking of it as being “handsomely vulpine,” which drew a chuckle from the crowd before they viewed a special McGuane tribute video.

Auctioneer Nick Dawes then took the stage, leading a rousing live auction bidding session. Money was raised for the museum’s summer outreach program, which will focus on a series of public programs designed to engage and educate the community on the sport of fly fishing. These programs will include the museum’s 10th annual Fly Fishing Festival, which will be held on August 12, as well as classes designed to foster a new generation of fly anglers by teaching children how to cast and create “clown” flies that are tied on coat hanger “hooks.”

Following the auction, Bob Ruley and President of the Board of Trustees, Karen Kaplan presented the Heritage Award to Mr. McGuane.

In his acceptance speech he stressed the importance of public lands in this day and age, reminding the event guests of their importance to our sport, and to future generations. In a sample of wit and dark humor as only McGuane could put it, he stated that he would very much like our public lands and fisheries to be around for the next generation so that we would have a museum of fly fishing that is chronicling the living history of an active sport instead of a mausoleum of fly fishing.

The highlight of the evening was a discussion between the honoree and guest interviewer, Tom Brokaw. The two recounted many fishing successes, failures, and numerous adventures in between. It was a discussion that combined two lifetimes of angling experience condensed into half an hour. Both gentlemen’s outsized personalities were on display, and the two friends continued their good natured ribbingfrom the event floor to their respective cab rides home. It was truly something special to witness.

The museum would like to thank our honoree, Tom McGuane, auctioneer, Nick Dawes, event committee chair, Bruce McNae and members of the committee, as well as our dinner guests and auction donors. This night would not have happened without your continued support of the museum.

A Plea For Public Lands

Tom McGuane used his acceptance speech to stress the importance of keeping our public lands in public hands.

A Conversation For The Ages

Two of fly fishing's most well-traveled anglers share a lifetime of fishing stories in this exclusive interview between Tom McGuane and Tom Brokaw.


Our favorite shots from the night.

In The News

Monte Burke of Forbes penned a brilliant recap of the event.

Read More

Dinner Committee

  • Bruce McNae (Chair)
  • Alan Gnann
  • Skip Herman
  • Rob Oden
  • Erik Oken
  • William Platt
  • Frank Schurz
  • Warren Stern