Murski killed in car accident - Major League Fishing

Murski killed in car accident

Image for Murski killed in car accident
Ray Murski (right) at a ceremony with T. Boone Pickens
December 20, 2011 • Colin Moore • Archives

Another founding giant was lost to the bass-fishing world Monday evening when Ray Murski died of injuries sustained in a car wreck on a central Texas road.

Murski, 72, was chairman of Strike King Lure Company and owner of Murski-Breeding Sales in Dallas, a major sporting goods distributor. Like Jack Wingate of Bainbridge, Ga., who died earlier in December of prostate cancer, Murski was one of the pioneers of tournament fishing, having participated in Ray Scott’s inaugural event on Beaver Lake in 1967.

He fished several of Scott’s early tournaments, but his career path eventually veered in a different direction. After graduation from Texas A&M University, where he was a star offensive guard, Murski became a salesman for Bliss Sales in Dallas. His territory included northern Arkansas, southern Missouri, western Tennessee and western Kentucky. In Arkansas during the early 60s, Murski befriended a Rogers entrepreneur named Sam Walton. His limited resources notwithstanding, Murski bought stock in Walton’s fledgling company, Walmart, and his fortunes grew exponentially with Walmart’s success. Though Murski often joked that his involvement with Walton was more a case of being in the right place at the right time, it demonstrated his prescient business sense. Eventually, presented with the opportunity to purchase Bliss Sales, Murski had to choose between being a bass pro or owner of the company that distributed such iconic brands as Zebco and Remington. He chose the latter. Later, he acquired Strike King and transformed it from what was generally considered a manufacturer of spinnerbaits into a major lure company. Among its pro staff today are such Walmart FLW stars as George Cochran and Mark Rose.

The gravelly-voiced Murski, whose greeting to friends usually began with a “Hey, buck,” never strayed far from the fishing world and he was an ardent booster of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, of which he was a member. Murski was also a member of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, as well as various business and outdoors halls of fame in his home state. He enjoyed deer hunting and bird hunting, and was a lifelong supporter of a statewide program that gave urban youths the opportunity to attend summer camps. As recently as last March, Murski was presented with the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award by T. Boone Pickens at a ceremony in Dallas.

Murski finished fourth in Ray Scott’s first tournament, but perhaps he will be more famously remembered as the angler who mounted a tractor seat atop his boat’s 50-horsepower Mercury outboard to make it easier to run his transom-mounted trolling motor. Throughout his life, Murski was famous for doing things his way, and doing them well.