National Fisherman has honored Highliners for almost 40 years. This year, we add to the honor roll our latest award winners representing the East Coast and Southern states — Robert T. Brown Sr. of Avenue, Md.; Ben Hartig of Hobe Sound, Fla.; and Sonny McIntire of Ogunquit, Maine.

2016 1006 HighlinersClick the image for stories and photos of our 2016 HighlinersIn keeping with the spirit of the awards, each of our winners is a fisherman and then some. Brown, Hartig and McIntire have all made personal sacrifices in their contributions to the industry.

Brown has led the Maryland Watermen’s Association since his dear friend, longtime colleague and now fellow NF Highliner, Larry Simns, crossed the bar in 2013. Simns left big shoes to fill, but Brown has held the group steady and moving forward with some significant strides of his own, providing strong leadership that would doubtless make the watermen’s founding president very proud.

Hartig’s leadership also has a local effect, but his many terms on the South Atlantic council have afforded him a widespread influence on the region’s fishery policies and standards for data.

Although Sonny McIntire hasn’t held an explicit role of leadership through an official organization or management group, his guidance of young fishermen removed barriers to entry for a whole generation around his home town of Ogunquit, Maine. His skill and natural aptitude for fishing may have qualified him as a leader and fleet highliner, but it is his willingness to take on the role of teacher and mentor for the many young fishermen who learned from him that makes him an NF Highliner.

Congratulations, gentlemen. You join a club of great leaders and visionaries, and the magazine is honored to serve the roll of calling attention to your lifetime of service to your fellow fishermen.

Read all about NF's 2016 Highliner class


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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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