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* Fred Hall; Promoter of Fishing Shows

March 09, 2000

Fred Hall, a pioneer promoter of fishing shows, died Saturday at Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura of complications from a heart valve replacement and bypass surgery. He was 80.

In the late 1930s, Hall attended Occidental College, where he lettered in football, basketball, water polo and diving, ranking second behind his teammate, U.S. Olympic champion Sammy Lee.

After college, Hall was instrumental in forming Crowd Management Co., which furnished ushers for baseball games and midget car racing at Gilmore Field, now the site of CBS Television City in Los Angeles.

He met his future wife, Lois, while she was skating with Shipstad and Johnson's Ice Follies at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles and they found they shared a mutual passion for fishing. The couple married in 1944.

Hall opened his first sportsmen's show at Gilmore Field in 1946 and followed it with shows in Chicago and San Francisco. The annual shows were held mostly in Ventura, Long Beach and Del Mar.

His fishing events have been a success for more than half a century. Features like continuous fishing seminars that featured top professionals, fresh and saltwater mobile aquariums, displays of top name rods and reels, casting ponds, fishing boats of every size and more than 200 travel booths attract fishing loyalists every year.

Hall believed that youngsters were the key to the future of fishing. To help spark interest among young people, his shows admitted children under 12 free and provided them instruction on how to fish at a giant outdoor tank filled with trout at no cost. It has been estimated that more than half a million children learned to fish at Hall-produced shows during six decades.

Hall sometimes exhibited his showmanship in unconventional ways. Once he advertised a free snake for the first 100 attendees of a show. Another time, when the bikini style of women's swimwear first became popular, he hired a bikini-clad model to cut the ribbon to open the show after she parachuted from a plane to the box office.

He retired last year as producer of the Fred Hall Fishing Tackle and Boat Shows, turning the reins over to his oldest son, Bart.

Hall had built the show into the largest outdoor show in the West with in excess of 1,500 exhibits. Three days before his death, he was at the show's opening in Long Beach to greet exhibitors.

He had lived in Sherman Oaks for more than 50 years before moving to Oxnard in 1995.

In addition to his wife and son, Hall is survived by son Rick and daughter Kristi Hall.

The vigil and rosary recitation will be at 7:30 p.m. today at Padre Serra Catholic Church in Camarillo. Mass is scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday at the church, with Msgr. Cyril Navin of St. Cyril's in Encino officiating. Burial will follow at Santa Clara Cemetery in Oxnard.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Hall's memory may be made to United Anglers of Southern California, 5046 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach 92649.

Arrangements are under the direction of Guardian Memorial Funeral Directors of Ventura County in Oxnard.

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