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© Garry Mason's "Legends of the Outdoors" : Hosted & Maintained by Outdoor Resources, LLC
Sam Heaton

Growing up in North Eastern Alabama, fishing and hunting was a necessity which grew into a lifelong passion. Fishing was also our family recreation. I can remember my grandmother with cane poles tied across the top of her old Hudson car. She had special canes poles, a long one about 14ft., a medium about 10' and a short one for the creek. She said "I can just handle it better." She had an old Sunday purse full of hooks and weights. If I got into her tackle purse without asking, she would have another use for that cane pole.

I don't know when the first time I caught a fish or shoot a squirrel, but I do remember that shotgun shells were .75 cents a box and 22's were a quarter. I never would have believed I could make a living in the outdoors. A high light of my career was when I was inducted in the Fresh Water Hall of Fame in 1992. Now, The Legends of the Outdoors, I'm thrilled all over again. Being recognized by my piers is the biggest compliment I can have.

After graduating from high school, Mike Huie, who is still the best duck hunter I ever hunted with, and I had already established ourselves as commercial fishermen in the community. We ran gill nets and fish boxes in the winter and trout lines in the summer. Then I joined the Army and volunteered to fight for our country in Vietnam. I served with the 75th Ranger battalion as a team leader and senior field advisor. When I returned to Alabama I made up my mind to do something enjoyable for a living and for me that was hunting and fishing. I got involved with Johnson Outdoors Inc. through Crappiethon then went to work for Spiderwire. All the while I was doing hunting and fishing seminars and in store promotions for Dunkin Lewis. Charlie Dunkin and Duane Collins were instrumental in bring my name to the front of the Outdoors Industry. During this time Mr. Dunkin introduced me to Buck Simons who owned B & M poles. Now I have my own signature series of crappie pole including a 12, 10 and 9 foot poles, just like my Grandmother had, but with a high tech spin. I still have a great relationship with B & M poles and Jack Wells. We are business partners and friends, it all started with a hand shake and that's still the way it is.

I'm now employed with Johnson Outdoors Inc. as the Saltwater Field Promotions Manager and it's a dream job all over again, still hunting and fishing for a living. With Johnson Outdoors I continue to peruse my passion. I've fished all over the world; Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Canada to Alaska and even the Australian northern territories. I'm blessed with a career in the outdoors and a wonderful wife and a job people only dream about.


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