FLIPPIN, Ark. – Describing Forrest L. Wood’s contribution to fishing in a story entitled “The Legends of Fishing” in the May 2005 edition of Field & Stream, writer John Merwin told of the humble beginnings of Ranger’s founder: “This lanky fishing guide from northwestern Arkansas began building his Ranger bass boats in a town called Flippin in 1968. They weren’t the first such boats…but Ranger became the most visible with the rise of professional bass fishing in the 1970s.”

As founder of Ranger Boats, the nation’s largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats (including a series of bass, multi-species, fish ‘n’ play and saltwater boats) Wood made a name for himself as a strong marketer, the cultivator of an enormously successful company and pioneer of the bass fishing industry. No other person in professional bass fishing history has been as responsible for supporting and sponsoring fishermen and tournament trails than has Wood. Wood credits the company’s success to a number of sources including his wife and lifelong partner, Nina, four talented daughters and the many quality people of the Ranger family. Wood also places a high value on a three-point philosophy towards business. Throughout his career, Wood has remained focused on building a quality product, marketing it effectively and striving for the absolute highest customer satisfaction.

In addition to his role with Ranger Boats, Wood is also an accomplished professional angler. He competed on the B.A.S.S. circuit for many years, qualifying for two Bassmaster Classics and winning the New York Invitational B.A.S.S. tournament on the St. Lawrence River in June of 1979.

Before founding Ranger Boats, Wood worked as a fishing guide and as a building contractor. Eventually, his love for fishing led to a small boat repair business that spawned one of the most recognizable bass boat companies in the world.

“Sleek, fast, and highly efficient fishing machines, (Ranger) boats are dazzling, adorned with metal-flake paints and rich upholstery,” Merwin wrote.

In addition to being named to Field & Stream’s “The Legends of Fishing,” Wood was a 2001 inductee to the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and is known for his work with contributions to hundreds of charitable organizations throughout the years. Wood has also been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the state BASS Federations. He has been inducted to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, the International Boating Hall of Fame and the National Marine Manufacturers Hall of Fame.

The Field & Stream list of “The Legends of Fishing” brought together a list of the 50 people had the greatest impact on the sport, not just those who caught the most or the biggest fish. These people, Merwin wrote, changed fishing forever.

Among those joining Wood on the list of legends include former president Herbert Hoover and famed authors Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey.