About the Honorees

Highlights of the Night

The American Museum of Fly Fishing hosted its Heritage Award event honoring President Jimmy Carter and the late President George H. W. Bush on October 29 at the Racquet & Tennis Club in New York City. It was a wonderful evening with friends and fishing stories, illuminating speakers, and an array of auction items that illustrated the breadth and depth of the museum’s support from the fly-fishing community and beyond.

Guests sat down to gifts of Wheatley fly boxes donated by REC Components, each containing a favorite fly of both honorees: President Carter’s Black Ant and President Bush’s Blue Charm. AMFF President Karen Kaplan was warm and welcoming as the evening’s host. Auctioneer Nick Dawes expertly took the stage for the live auction to raise funds for AMFF’s exhibition program, which is focusing on the Trophy Collection (the museum’s largest art acquisition to date) and our space at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri.

The special guest speaker was Johnny Morris, founder of Wonders of Wildlife and founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops. He gave a heartfelt and moving speech about the important role fishing continues to play in his life and that of his family and friends. Since President Carter was in office, Johnny has worked with every presidential administration on initiatives related to public land access and outdoor recreation.

Karen Kaplan then presented the Heritage Awards, fittingly featuring master tier Roger Plourde’s America fly. Accepting on behalf of President Carter was Carlton Hick, his fishing friend of more than forty years; President Bush’s award was collected by his grandson and fellow angler Jeb Bush Jr. Both speakers gave wonderful insight into the fishing lives of the two honorees.

The museum would like to thank the Carter Center and the George and Barbara Bush Foundation for their generous cooperation during the planning of this event. We would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following auction donors: Yoshi Akiyama, All Waters Fly Fishing, Ancient Ozarks National History Museum, Arms Reach, Bass Pro Shops, Berkshire Rivers Fly Fishing, Big Cedar Lodge, Steve and Sandra Bogdan, Mark Comora, Nick Dawes, Harry Desmond, Paul Dixon, Dogwood Canyon National Park, E. J. Gallo, Brita Fordice, Adam Franceschini, the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, Jim Heckman, the Hollenbeck Club, J. H. Becker Rod Works, Karen Kaplan, Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, Walter Matia, Johnny Morris, Mud Dog Flies, John Mundt, El Pescador, Rebecca Redd, Mike Rice, Robert Rubin, Scientific Anglers, Sea Island, Rich Strolis, Yashuji Sugai, Sulu Collection, Paul and Anke Volcker, Wild Rivers Press, and the Wonders of Wildlife.


Our favorite shots from the night. Photos by Jack McCoy.

Event Committee

  • Lauren Gay
  • Gary Grant
  • David Jones
  • Karen Kaplan
  • Martin MacDonald
  • Andrew Ward