Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Announces 2023 Circle of Honor Inductees

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Nick Roberts
Director of Marketing & Communications

Miami, FL – Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) will induct Flip Pallot, Dr. Lloyd Wruble, and the late Captain Billy Knowles into the Circle of Honor on April 20, 2023, during BTT’s 10th Annual Florida Keys Dinner at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, Florida.

Flip Pallot Photo: Brad Miller

Pallot, a pioneering saltwater fly-fishing guide, boat designer, and television personality, will receive the 2023 Curt Gowdy Memorial Media Award, which is presented annually to those who advance saltwater conservation through writing, entertainment, and media outreach. As host of the critically acclaimed Walker’s Cay Chronicles for 15 seasons, Pallot became a leading ambassador for the sport of fly-fishing, and in 1998 he co-founded Hell’s Bay Boatworks, helping to redefine the possibilities for technical poling skiffs. A tireless proponent for conserving Florida’s natural resources, Pallot has used his platform to advocate for Everglades restoration and improved water quality throughout the state.

Dr. Lloyd Wruble Photo: Dr. Lloyd Wruble

Wruble will receive the 2023 Flats Stewardship Award, which recognizes commitment to the effective management, sustainable use, and conservation of the flats fishery. Wruble became enamored with tarpon fishing during his medical residency in Miami in the late 1960s. He soon began fishing out of Flamingo Key, where he was befriended by legendary Everglades angler Herman Lucerne, who exposed him to the wonders of the backcountry. After Lucerne’s death, Wruble helped establish the Herman Lucerne Memorial Foundation, which serves to build awareness about the Everglades and raise funds for conservation efforts.

Billy Knowles Photo: The Knowles Family

Knowles, a legendary Florida Keys fishing guide, will be honored with the posthumous Outstanding Guide/Angler Award. Born in 1940, Knowles grew up in Islamorada, part of a fishing family. He went on to guide for nearly 60 years, discovering a number of celebrated tarpon angling spots and guiding the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Grace Kelly, President Herbert Hoover, and Ted Williams. Knowles earned dozens of tournament victories, including the Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament, the Don Hawley Tarpon Tournament, the Spring Fly Bonefish Tournament, and the Poor Boys Tarpon Tournament. He passed away on January 4, 2022.

“The legacy of Flip, Lloyd and Billy is evident in the great progress we’ve made toward conserving the flats fishery,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “Their commitment has not only made an impact in improving water quality, conserving habitats, and safeguarding species, it’s also inspired legions of anglers and other stakeholders to join our cause.”

Master of Ceremonies for this special event will be award-winning author T. Edward Nickens, editor-at-large of Field & Stream and a contributing editor for Garden & Gun.

The BTT Circle of Honor recognizes legendary anglers, fishing guides and conservation leaders who have made significant contributions to the conservation of the flats fishery. It is housed in the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, located in Islamorada, Florida, and features an annually rotating exhibit about those honored as well as educational content about the significance of the flats fishery. Past recipients of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Lefty Kreh Award, Curt Gowdy Media Award, and Flats Stewardship Award are recognized in a digital archive maintained as part of the exhibit.

About Bonefish & Tarpon Trust

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s mission is to conserve bonefish, tarpon and permit—the species, their habitats and the larger fisheries they comprise. BTT pursues this mission across the southeastern US, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea through science-based conservation, education and advocacy.

About Keys History & Discovery Center

The Keys History & Discovery Center is a world-class museum that preserves and shares the incredible history of our Upper Keys community and explores the unique ecology of the region. In addition to permanent exhibits on subjects such as Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railway, Legends of the Line, and First People, the Discovery Center offers a lecture series, educating the public through presentations from a variety of expert speakers. The museum’s second floor features a state-of-the-art theater showing documentaries on topics like the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane and Indian Key, as well as traveling exhibits, and the Jerry Wilkinson Research Library. The center, on the property of the Islander Resort, is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

About Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation

Florida Keys History and Discovery Foundation formed in 2013 to develop and operate Keys History & Discovery Center. The not-for-profit organization’s board of directors is comprised of community-minded volunteers with a passion for the mission of preserving and sharing the unique history and environment of the Florida Keys, particularly that of the Upper Keys. More information can be found at or by calling 305-922-2237.

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