May 10, 2017
Guido Hibdon and I worked together on an article that was published in 1982 in In-Fisherman magazine. That story featured the piscatorial insights and ways of Jason Lucas, Fred Potthoff, and Guido's father, Guido Clinton Hibdon Sr.
Since that first endeavor, we have penned many thousands of words for In-Fisherman's publications.
Before we collaborated on writing about various subjects about angling, we had a friendship that stretched back into the 1960s. During those halcyon days, he taught me how to catch crappie, largemouth bass, spotted bass, and white bass.
Throughout the late 1960s into the 1980s, he was hailed as the Lake of the Ozarks' premier guide. And during his guiding years, he became one of the founding fathers of Midwest finesse fishing.
His abilities at employing a small marabou jig were matchless, as were his tactics with a tube, which he began perfecting in 1983.
What's more, he was a wizard with a variety of power tactics, such as wielding a topwater bait and a skirted jig with a pork-rind trailer.
His career as a bass tournament angler began to unfold in the spring of 1978. And he exhibited his talents quite dramatically by catching 15 largemouth bass that weighed 56.4 pounds and winning the Bassmaster Missouri Invitational/West tournament at the Lake of the Ozarks on April 23-25, 1980. He caught the preponderance of those largemouth bass on a black-skirted jig affixed to a Guido Bug, and that Guido Bug was a facsimile to the soft-plastic crayfish that his son Dion created in a school science project in 1977. For a number of years, the Hibdon family, including Virgil Conner, who is Stella Hibdon's brother, handcrafted thousands of Guido Bugs, and it revolutionized the world of soft-plastic baits.
In 1988, Guido won the Bassmaster Classic, and he was crowned the Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 1990 and 1991. By the way, Guido and Dion are the only father-son duo to have won the Bassmaster Classic. Dion won it in 1997.
In years past, Guido's colleagues in the professional bass fishing world have lauded his mastery. For example, Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, called Hibdon one of his angling heroes and said: "He's very honest and I admire him." After the second day of the 2011 Classic, Kevin Van Dam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, paid a tribute to Hibdon's angling prowess by saying: "I remember getting beat by somebody who was the ultimate hole-sitter. A guy like Guido Hibdon, you could put him in a creek that had 10 bass in it and if you gave him a little time, he'd find a way to catch all 10 of them. I've learned that when you do find a special spot, it's worth hanging around and grinding it out." Peter Thliveros of Jacksonville, Florida, said that Clunn and Hibdon are his angling heroes, and he called Hibdon a true sportsman, an honorable man, the finest angler to ever wield a jig, and a wizard at employing a variety of soft-plastic baits. In 1991, Roland Martin of Naples, Florida, hailed Hibdon as the consummate model for all tournament anglers to emulate.
We are sorry to report, however, that hard times have waylaid Guido and his family.
In February of 2016, he had colon cancer surgery, and from May into December of 2016, he endured the dastardly effects of chemotherapy. Now the Hibdons are financially strapped.
To help them, a GoFundMe account has been created that is entitled "Casting a Helping Hand to Guido Hibdon."
On May 4, his wife, Stella, said that Guido is "flat on his back" and residing in an expensive care facility.
During his battle with cancer, his throat was adversely affected, which prevented him from eating. Consequently, he lost 140 pounds. He was kept alive with feeding tubes. And an intensive electronic treatment on his throat ameliorated some of those woes, and now he is able to talk a little bit.
Stella said, "Guido is working hard to get better. He can't walk at all yet, but they told him to try to stand up for five or six minutes a few times a day just to get his equilibrium back. Instead, he'll stand for 10 minutes at a time. I just wanted everybody to know that he's battling to beat heck.
Guido and I have made a lot of friends down through the years in fishing, and the way they have helped out now in our time of need has touched us beyond belief. Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone of them."
Here is the link to Guido's GoFundMe account: https://www.gofundme.com/cast-a-helping-hand-for-guido-hibdo.
Here are three links to three Midwest finesse columns about Guido and his family: