Jimmy Houston's bass fishing career is a long and storied one.
In the world of fishing, perhaps no name is more synonymous with bass fishing than Jimmy Houston. Love him or hate him, the Oklahoma bass pro has made a mark on the outdoor industry.
Sometimes labeled "America's Favorite Fisherman," Jimmy has been prominent in the fishing world since his first pro bass tournament in 1968.
Here's the net worth of the fishing legend and his legacy as an inductee of both the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
Bass Fishing Career
Born in Texas, Houston's career started when he won the Oklahoma State Championship in 1966 when he was just 22 years old. It was the start of a storied career in bass fishing. But the place he made a name for himself was on the Bassmaster Tournament tour, which he fished from 1968 until 2006.
Houston won the coveted B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title twice in that time frame--first in 1976 and 10 years later in 1986. Jimmy only had two first-place finishes in that time, but he was a consistent high finisher. He racked up 44 top-10 finishes and 77 top-20 finishes in that time. His performances earned him 15 appearances at the Super Bowl of bass fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.
While Houston never won the most prestigious title in bass fishing, he cemented his name as a pro fisherman with Bassmasters in 246 career tournament appearances.
While many other pro anglers like Houston's friends Bill Dance and Roland Martin have mostly stepped away from competing in professional bass fishing long ago, Houston still occasionally fishes the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW Championship) Tour today at 75 years old while being sponsored by Shell Oil Company and Quaker State.
"I'm just tickled to death that at 74 years old, I still get to fish at the national tournament level," Houston said on the We FishASA podcast in 2019.
It is worth noting that Houston did not fish the 2020 seasons. He even said the word retirement is not something he'd consider in 2020. His wife Chris experienced some medical setbacks in 2021 that seem to have sidelined tournament fishing for the moment. However, Houston is extremely active on his social channels and continues to make weekly content for his fans. He seems to really enjoy making and sharing these videos.
While Houston made plenty of money on the pro fishing circuit, he probably built a bigger name for himself through his TV show Jimmy Houston Outdoors. The show was on ESPN for 21 years and can still be seen on the CBS Sports network and YouTube today.
He's arguably even better as a TV host than he is as a fisherman due to his love of talking. Houston garnered a whole new legion of fans through his adventures and fishing tips on the show and now, through the Internet. Much like Dance, Houston has a larger-than-life personality that made him instantly likable to his fans. The fact that he's an expert fisherman didn't hurt, either!
In addition to the television show, Houston has partnered with companies like Tracker, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Minn Kota and Bass Pro Shops over the years. With his friends Roland Martin and Bill Dance, he founded a brand called "Th3 Legends," which sells a line of marine cleaning products, beef jerky and, of course, rods and reels.
What is Jimmy Houston's net worth?
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Houston's net worth is around $6 million with all his endorsements and fishing tournament winnings. Bassmaster.com has his official career earnings at $351,099 through 246 fished events on the Bassmaster Tournament tour.
For the FLW tour, his career earnings are at $251,496 across 104 events fished over the last 16 years. Of those 104 events, he's finished in the top 10 three times and made one cup appearance. Houston probably would have earned a little bit more on the Bassmaster tournament tour, which he said he was invited back to on the We FishASA podcast we mentioned earlier. He chose to stay with FLW because he liked the format and rules slightly better. In a video on his YouTube channel back in May, he said he still enjoys competing. But he was still uncertain about how many more tournaments he would fish.
Of course, we also can't forget about the many branded fishing lures, especially spinnerbaits that bear Houston's name, even to this day. Houston has also taken a real liking to farming pecans on his Oklahoma ranch, which can be seen in the video above. He has since taken to selling them online through his website in recent years. One thing is for sure, the guy has plenty of income streams rolling in!
Allegations of High-Fence Hunting
We can't not gloss over this part of Jimmy Houston's career because it is a notable and ugly one. In 2002, video surfaced on the Internet alleging to show Houston hunting a big buck in a small pen at a canned hunt operation owned by Russ Bellar in Peru, Indiana.
Bellar, a deer breeder was accused of a whole host of crimes including selling illegal whitetail deer hunts, drugging animals and shooting them in small pens. Bellar later served federal prison time and paid fines of over $500,000 after a lengthy trial.
Houston was never charged with a crime in the case, although he was asked to testify at Bellar's trial. He also admitted it was a high-fence hunt and apologized to his fans.
"We were hunting right by a high fence. We didn't try to hide it," Houston told the Oklahoman in 2006. He denied reports the pen he shot the deer in was only a few acres. He also denied reports the deer he shot had been drugged. When the footage of Houston at the ranch hit the Internet, he was met with an immediate firestorm of angry fans. It led to Houston apologizing on his website.
"Yes, had we known then what we know now, we would not have hunted there but that's why hindsight is 20-20," Houston said in a statement on the site. "Was it wrong for me to hunt there? Absolutely!"
Make of that what you will.
Houston's Living Legacy
While many people were upset the allegations of high fence hunting, most of that has seemed to blow over in the years since. Houston's show and YouTube channels are as popular as they have ever been, and he draws a crowd everywhere he goes.
In addition to his 50 years of fishing tournament successes, he has also cemented his place in fishing history as a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and the IGFA Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
As if that wasn't enough, he's also in the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, the Outdoors Hall of Fame and was recognized as King of Sports for fishing in 1989 and the Jim Thorpe Man of the Year in 2004. In 2017, he was given an Angler of the Century award from Bass Pro Shops, further adding to his list of lifetime achievements.
While he probably could easily retire to his Oklahoma ranch with his wife Chris and withdraw from the public eye in his 70s, it's notable that he still makes hundreds of public appearances every year. He also does plenty of seminars and conventions. Oh, and he continues to film new episodes of his TV show. There is no doubt that's impressionable for young anglers hoping to make it big on the pro tour. The work ethic alone is probably something that best defines the man.
Just the fact that Jimmy Houston is now a household name for many hunters and fishermen and women likely means his legacy in the outdoors and especially in fishing, is firmly cemented for years to come.
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