Forrest Wood, the legendary boat pioneer and beloved namesake of the FLW organization, passed Saturday at the age of 87.

Forrest L. Wood, the namesake of the FLW organization and a beloved icon in the world of bass fishing, passed away this morning at the age of 87.

Wood, a lifetime resident of Arkansas and a man who is widely regarded as a pioneer in the development of the modern bass boat, spent his final days surrounded by his family, including his wife of 68 years, Nina.

Forrest and Nina created Wood Manufacturing Company in 1968 to pursue a boat-building passion that Forrest – a fishing guide on the White River system who built his own wooden, flat-bottom river boats in his garage – would develop into Ranger Boats. Forrest and Nina enthusiastically supported dozens of local, regional and national bass-tournament organizations for four decades.

“I could go on and on saying good things about Forrest Wood,” said MLF pro and fellow Arkansan Mark Rose. “He was just a genuine, good, kind man. Forrest wanted us all to work together for the common good. He built a great boat, but he was never prideful about that – his vision was so much bigger. He wanted everybody to come together, and build something bigger and better for everybody who loves to fish for bass. There’s no better, more genuine icon than Forrest Wood.”

When FLW was launched in 1996, Irwin Jacobs asked Wood to lend his initials to the new organization, as Wood represented the ideals that Jacobs had in mind for FLW: honor, class, integrity. Gracefully, Forrest accepted.

“Forrest Wood’s legacy and impact across every facet of our sport is indisputable,” said Kathy Fennel, FLW executive vice president and general manager. “FLW is fortunate and honored to call him a friend and the namesake of our company. We join the rest of the fishing world in mourning the passing of this legendary man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nina and the entire Wood family during this time.”

Forrest and Nina Wood supported bass-fishing organizations throughout the country for decades, part of Forrest’s enormous legacy in the world of bass fishing.