As the 2019 Bassmaster Classic ran its course this weekend in Knoxville, Tenn., word came that one of sport fishing’s most iconic figures had passed away due to a stroke.
On Day Two of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. hearts in the fishing industry turned heavy as news spread about the passing of one of the sport’s most iconic figures.
That news concerned the loss of Darrell J. Lowrance, founder of the Lowrance Electronics brand and a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. Born in 1938, Lowrance passed away on Saturday, March 16, 2019, after suffering a reported stroke at the age of 80.
After his passing this past weekend, Tulsa, Okla.-based Lowrance issued the following statement:
“Lowrance is deeply saddened to share news of the passing of Darrell J. Lowrance, founder of the Lowrance brand.
Darrell served as President and CEO of Lowrance Electronics from 1964 to 2006, and was responsible for many breakthroughs in the industry.
In addition to inventing the first recreational sonar product for anglers - the Fish-Lo-K-Tor, also known as the "Little Green Box" - he led the development of the first graph recorder, the first integrated sonar/GPS unit, and many others.
An industry heavyweight, Darrell was a member of the Board of Directors for AFTMA from 1978-1986, and again in 1988. He was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2013.
"With his passing, the world has lost a great man and a true visionary," said Leif Ottosson, Navico CEO. "Darrell's passion for fishing, design and his dedication to driving the marine electronics industry forward led to innovative ideas and products that have shaped the fishing experiences for millions of anglers globally during the past 60 years.
"The fishing world and our Navico family mourn this loss, and we offer our sincere condolences to Darrell's wife, Kathleen, and to his family.”
BassFan.com editor Todd Ceisner, on Sunday’s final day of the 49th Classic – which was eventually won by hometown angler Ott DeFoe - reported several anglers at the derby wore blue ribbons on their hats in an effort to honor Lowrance’s life and legacy as a pioneer in the marine electronics’ industry.
And according to a post on the Lowrance Facebook page, a moment of silence was to be observed during the final day weigh-in.
Lowrance has long been one of the sport’s electronics pioneers since the first consumer sonar device – the fabled Little Green Box flasher unit – came into being back in 1957. Today, the company is one of the industry’s leaders in the continued development of increasingly high definition and efficient electronic units that aid anglers in their fish finding efforts, mapping and on-the-water location.
In the years since Lowrance’s invention of the Fish-Lo-K-Tor, the company has gone on to become a powerhouse not only in the consumer industry, but also a fixture in the professional angling game. In addition to sponsoring several professional fishermen in their competitive efforts, Lowrance is also an official and presenting sponsor within the sport’s three main circuits, the Bassmaster Elite Series, the FLW Tour and Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour.
Owned by Navico, Inc., this privately held, international corporation is currently the world’s largest marine electronics company. In addition to being the parent company of Lowrance, Navico is also the parent company to other leading marine electronics brands including Simrad Yachting and B&G.