Celebrating Andy Cannon

Karl Pingry | January 30, 2020

I’m the distribution manager at GON, and I’ve been involved with competitive bass fishing since 1994. For a number of months, I’ve been searching for the right words to honor a dear friend of mine, Andy Cannon. I met Andy while fishing the HD Marine tournament trail in the mid 1990s and would later really befriend him when my wife and I started fishing the HD Marine Couples trail around 2006.

Unfortunately, we lost Andy on July 28, 2019 to his battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

At Andy’s memorial service, more than half the attendees were hunting and fishing colleagues who had tremendous love and respect for Andy. He was an avid hunter and had been involved in several hunting clubs since the 1970s. When Andy was in the Broken Arrow Hunting Club in Warren County, he took special-needs children on hunting trips.

As a member of the Skeeter fishing team, he and his wife Deon were involved in competitions that included taking paraplegic anglers fishing.

Andy with a tall 8-pointer.

Andy fished everything from B.A.S.S. and Redman ProAm events to innumerable bass tournament trails, such as Anglers Choice, Laughing Bass and HD Marine tournament trails. Andy was an original member of the Bear Creek Bass Club in the mid 70s where he qualified for the Top-Six every year he was a member.

He and his wife Deon fished several couples tournament trails throughout the years, winning multiple HD Couples and Laughing Bass Couples Angler of the Year titles. Even after needing to be on oxygen full-time in 2017, Andy and Mike Hensley managed to win a Berry’s Jackson Trail tournament.

After retirement, Andy learned how to make hand-crafted crankbaits and topwater lures from legendary crankbait maker Bubba Messer. After becoming an accomplished lure maker, Andy worked hard to create a paint job with a durable finish that didn’t flake off, a difficult task in the world of custom-made wooden baits.

Andy spent time mentoring younger fisherman, as well. Travis Clay and Josh Kelly were two young men Andy were especially proud of as he watched them grow into impressive bass anglers.

With all that being said, that wasn’t what made Andy unique. He had the ability to make friends and be amiable to everyone, and he never talked about himself.

I met Andy in the mid 1990s and hardly knew anything of his past until his funeral last year. I knew the man by his actions, words and integrity. His word was his bond, and a handshake on a deal was worth more than a signed contract. If Andy said he’d be there, you could count on him showing up. He could tell a good story, but it was never about him.

After he and Deon whooped you in a tournament and you asked him how he caught his fish, his famous line was, “I may not tell you everything, but I’ll never lie to you.” In the world of competitive bass fishing, getting honest answers from any competitor is almost impossible. It was Andy’s honest, in-your-face words that caused so many to gain respect for him over the years.

He loved his wife, kids and grandkids without question. He valued the time with his grandkids more than any trophy buck or fishing award he ever obtained.

He had a quick sense of humor that came out once in a while that you would never see coming. Probably 10 years ago, my wife and I lost a couples tournament to Andy and his wife. Andy was nice enough to concede that a bass caught on a crankbait at 2:30 gave him and Deon the extra ounces needed to beat us.

Four or five years ago, Andy and I were fishing together, and he made a cast with his crankbait that caused the hooks to wrap around the fishing line. It caused the bait to remain on the surface as he reeled it back in to fix the bait. As he did, he commented, “Huh, that’s exactly how I was retrieving that crankbait that caught our last bass to beat you all those years ago.” He said it with such a straight face that to this day I have never known if he was being serious or just funny.

Andy was so humble and never knew how many people’s lives were impacted from being around him. He would have been amazed and embarrassed at the number of people who came to pay their respects to him.

A childhood friend that grew up with Andy’s son put it best: “There won’t be a time I step in the woods or drop a boat in the water that I won’t think of Andy Canon.”

Andy and his wife Deon after an HD Marine Couples tournament.

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