ensley harold
Howard Ensley
  • One of the faces of the Outdoorsman movement
  • World renowned angler
  • Developed “The Sportsman’s Friend” television show that aired for 48 seasons
Ensley, Harold
Inducted 2005

Born: November 20, 1912 - Healy, Kansas

Died: August 24, 2005 - Overland Park, Kansas

Graduated: Healy (KS) High School, 1930; Salt City Business College (Hutchinson), 1932

Overview

Known world-wide as "The Sportsman's Friend,” Harold Edward Ensley of Healy grew up in western Kansas and parlayed his love of the outdoors into a pioneer broadcasting career.  Ensley produced a television show on hunting and fishing for 48 consecutive seasons and for 21 years, "The Sportsman's Friend" was seen 52 weeks a year in eight Midwestern states.

Early Life

As a child growing up in Lane County, Ensley spent countless hours fishing in a procession of pools known as Salt Creek. The fixation was so strong that his mother worried he wouldn't succeed in life. He worked for a radio station in Joplin, Mo., before moving to Kansas City where he started his outdoor show in 1953.

Career Highlights

In 1973, the show became syndicated and remained a dominant force in outdoor broadcasting for more than a quarter-century.  When the show went off the air in 2001, Ensley had produced more than 5,000 radio and 1,500 television shows.  Ensley challenged the waters of four continents and became one of the world's foremost anglers.  He won the World Championship of Freshwater Sport Fishing in 1960 and was named the National Freshwater Fisherman of the Year in 1962.  Ensley rubbed elbows with several famous celebrities, teaching Jimmy Stewart how to cast and Henry Fonda how to catch trout.  He fished with baseball greats' Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle.  He was inducted in National Fishing Hall of Fame; Legends of Outdoors Hall of Fame; Kansas Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame; Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.