Do you recognize the man in the picture to your left? If I tell you that his name is Paul Prorok, does that mean anything to you? Chances are, while you might not recall the name right off the top of your head, you’ll certainly remember some of his work in the world of bass fishing. Here’s a quick history of writer Paul Prorok, past and present.
What started this topic for me was an article I just finished reading in the December 1967 issue of ‘Fishing News’ titled, “Chicago Fishermen Chose Warm Air and Plastic Worm to Catch More Than 30 Bass on a Weekend.” Now that’s a mouthful, but such was the way that Bill Binkelman structured his articles when he ran ‘Fishing News.’
In the article, a young Paul Prorok goes on to tell Bill about he and his partners (Joe Wascow) impressive catch from a small midwestern lake near Springfield, Illinois on a jig-worm. Included in the catch of 30 bass were 3 over 6 pounds. To get a flavor for the kind of information that was disseminated back then, there were 4 key “points” revealed in the story. Note that bolding and capitalization as shown below is exactly as it appeared in the article, a style of writing with directed emphasis unique to Bill.
- “Our weather was cool and it was even cooler to the north. This bothered us because we KNOW that air that is cooler than water depresses fishing.”
- “This particular tree on this good structure made this spot an almost certain migration stop.”
- “We were at the spot, conditions were excellent, our retrieves had been varied, still we got no takes. So I changed colors.”
- Our secrets: We believed, so we fished where the weather was right. We fished Buck Perry structure, and we fished a small spot, AND WE CHANGED COLORS as often as was needed, (Purple is NOT always THE COLOR).”
As you can tell, Paul was one of those at the heart of and influenced by the Chicago area Buck Perry/Bill Binkelman/Fishing News/Spoonplug whirlwind. Like many readers who would ultimately become writers for Fishing Facts (Paul contributed through the 70s), that route frequently started with the submission of pictures (above right) to Bill and Fishing News along with a short note or story documenting the effectiveness of a few specific techniques.
Next stop along our Paul Prorok timeline is a set of articles that you might be familar with, his pieces documenting Rick Clunn’s approach to bass fishing that appeared in several different In-Fisherman magazines back in the late 80s and early 90s.
- Rick Clunn’s Seasonal Patterns for Bass, Book #72, April/May, 1987
- Rick Clunn’s System for Finding Bass, Book #84, March, 1989
- Pressured Bass, Book: unknown, date: 1990s?
The byline in one of these articles read, “Hundreds of writers and fishermen have fished with Rick Clunn. None have so succinctly captured the essence of his consistent success, as Paul Prorok, Chicago, Illinois, a frequent In-Fishermen contributor.” As somewhat of a Clunn historian, I can honestly say these pieces written by Paul are certainly atop my ‘best ever’ list, along with one piece that appeared in Field & Stream, of all places.
Moving again along our timeline, we come to 1992, and the seminal book on catching trophy bass, “In Pursuit of Giant Bass,” featuring Bill Murphy, produced and edited by Paul. I don’t want to go too much into detail on the book, as it is certain to be featured and reviewed in our “Old Book Reviews” section of the site in the near future, but there is something special about this book as relates to the mentality and varied techniques of Bill Murphy, combined with the Buck Perry/structure fishing influence and background that Paul had. Without a doubt, it is one book that all fans of bass fishing history need to have in their collection.
In addition to the writing, Paul also guided locally around this time period (Chicago Tribune, May 1994). However, sometime around the year 2000 or so, Paul got interested in photography, and his work has become well recognized in this field. He has traveled extensively, and continues to do so, now using fishing as a part-time gig, and photography as his primary means of media expression. I’ll wrap this up with a fun clip of Paul from last year (below) being interviewed at an art show, where he goes into a bit of detail about his “previous life,” that of the fisherman/writer/guide.