Photos courtesy of James Manning

We’d like to congratulate the legendary Paul Dixon on receiving the 2021 Izaak Walton Award from the American Museum of Fly Fishing! A California native, Paul burst onto the fly-fishing scene in the early 1990s when he brought the first flats skiff to the Hamptons and Montauk. Paul was among the first to discover Long Island’s striped bass flats fishery and since then has spent decades fine-tuning his craft between the Hamptons and South Florida. In addition, he has been a great advocate for conservation, spending countless hours in service of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, the American Saltwater Guides Association, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, and other organizations.

Highlights of the Evening

AMFF was thrilled to honor the legendary guide and conservation champion Paul Dixon as its 2021 Izaak Walton Award honoree during a live online event on March 11. Those who tuned in to Zoom were treated to an extraordinarily candid, funny, and touching conversation hosted by author/podcast host/Olympic medalist Andy Mill, who also holds multiple angling records. Nick Curcione (father of the two-handed overhead cast) and saltwater fly-tying pioneer and luminary Bob Popovics joined Dixon and Mill to complete the star-studded screen.

The power and perseverance of true friendship was certainly the underlying theme of the evening as guests recounted stories from their decades together in the salt. Paul’s unwavering dedication to the conservation of fly-fishing waters is well known throughout the angling community, and messages came in throughout the night as well-wishers detailed how Paul had touched their lives through his love and mastery of the sport. AMFF President Fred Polhemus, who presented the award, declared that Paul is truly an integral part of the story of fly-fishing history told every day at AMFF. The full recording is available below.

AMFF would like to thank all the participants and especially Paul and Andy for their passionate fundraising efforts in conjunction with the event. Our deepest appreciation goes to all of our Leadership Circle supporters and those who made donations in honor of Paul. Team Tarpon: Bass Pro Shops/Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, Rodney Berens, Salvatore Campofranco, Mark Comora, Robert Constable, Anthony Davino, Charles P. Durkin Jr., Gary Grant, Karen Kaplan, Sean McCarthy, Robin McGraw, David and Meg Nichols, Fred Polhemus, Eric Roberts, Matthew Scott, Robert Scott, James Stanis, Warren Stern, Andrew Tucker, and Nancy and Alan Zakon. Striper Circle: David Collier, Edgar Cullman Jr., Aaron Kennon, Gerold Klauer, James Lyons, Lee W. Mather Jr., Lexann and Andrew Richter, Jason Scott, Seven Mile Fly Shop, Adelaide Skoglund and Bill Legg, Charles and George VanDercook, and Richard J. Warren. Gifts in honor of Paul: Christopher Barrow, Tracey Clarke, Joe Cresta, and Shepard Hurwitz.

The online silent auction was also a great success, and we would like to extend our gratitude to all those who made a purchase as well as our wonderful auction donors: Abel Reels, Stu Apte, Cheeky Fly Fishing, CD Clarke, Paul Dixon and Andy Mill, James Heckman, Howler Brothers, Loon Outdoors, Mud Dog Saltwater Flies, Poncho Outdoors, Rise Fly Fishing, The Saltwater Edge, Scott Fly Rods, Yasuji Sugai, Tin Boat Productions, and Urban Angler.