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Dan Magers made his home in Idaho in 1982 and fished the Clearwater River for steelhead, as obsessively and exhaustively as only a true fisherman can, for over 20 years.
During those years, he helped to form the non-profit organization Idaho Steelhead & Salmon Unlimited. As a founder, president and director of ISSU, Dan spent years discussing steelhead biology, politics and fishing with some of the most dedicated anadromous fishery people in the Northwest U.S.
Magers kept an extensive log of his time fishing the Clearwater for 18 years, patiently recording data each day after returning from the river. He often supplemented his reports with information from guides who were working the river the same day.
Instead of keeping years of experience, valuable knowledge and over 18,000 pieces of crucial historic data to himself, Dan worked to parlay it all into a book that would benefit other dedicated fishermen like himself. Disseminating his records into spreadsheets, Dan analyzed the trends and percentages.
In 2012, this data was organized and published in his book “Striking Steelhead,” by Frank Amato Publications. Multiple interviews and articles touting Magers’ accomplishment and the book’s invaluable advice followed. This article by Rich Landers at the Spokesman provides an excellent overview.
Striking Steelhead continues to sell to a wide audience, and achieves only the highest reviews. It is still available for purchase at Amato Publications:
Magers’ dedication to steelhead fishing in Idaho was diverted only by commercial and sport fishing in Alaska, an adventure to which he devoted a month each year for 13 years. Dan fished both salt and streams in some of the most beautiful and bountiful places in the world during these Alaskan expeditions. He furthered his fishing knowledge and experience here catching salmon, halibut and steelhead in all manner of weather.
Seeking new adventures in fishing, and perhaps warmer climes, Dan began exploring saltwater sport fishing in Hawaii and Mexico. Making his new home in Montana in the year 2000, it was around this time that Magers became serious about fishing for tuna and marlin. He was soon investing time and energy typical of his other fishing pursuits, visiting Mexico several times each year for extended fishing excursions.
In his quest to find the best salt water trolling lures to use in his new passion for marlin, tuna and other pelagic sport fishing, it is a given that Magers would land upon the name Joe Yee. His research and subsequent appreciation for the man and the special lures he crafted led to meeting both Joe Yee himself, as well as Joe’s longtime friend Eric White.
As Magers collection of lures and knowledge of pelagic fishing grew, so did the friendship with Joe and Eric, and the desire to create not only a reference manual for collectors but a tribute to the craftsman. Dan and Eric were honored to spend days with Joe in recent years, researching and preparing the definitive work on the legend himself and his craft.
After more than 3 years of research and collaboration, Dan published his second book, a limited edition art book worthy of any collector's library; "Joe Yee and His Lures."
While collecting lures, enjoying fishing in Cabo, and learning from Joe Yee, Dan began formulating new designs for his own skirted trolling lures. Enlisting the same diligence and attention to detail with which he approached all other fishing ventures, Magers studied every aspect of trolling lure design and construction, marlin and tuna feeding habits, and the advice of experts like Joe Yee. Working with two partners to perfect a new and different lure design, he began BFD Big Game Lures.
As Dan moved on to his next adventures in fishing, he passed the torch of BFD into capable hands. Maybe there's a book about collectible BFDs by Jana in his future :)