A British fisherman once voted “the greatest angler of all time” has died at his home in Thailand.
John Wilson, 75, originally from Norfolk, appointed MBE for services to angling in 2009, writing about 20 books on the subject.
He presented Anglia Television’s Go Fishing from the 1980s to 2002 after being spotted by TV bosses in his Norfolk tackle shop.
A spokesman for ITV Anglia described him as a “legend, icon, star”.
“All over-used descriptions, but John Wilson was truly all three to the world-wide angling community and thousands more who had no interest in fishing whatsoever,” he said.
“John presented the first series of Go Fishing in 1987 and viewers were immediately hooked.
“His extraordinary skill, knowledge and enthusiasm leapt off the screen and the programme ran for 17 series and well over a hundred episodes. Truly one of the Anglia greats.”
Broadcaster and producer Bob Ledwidge, who worked with Wilson, said everyone who knew the broadcaster would be devastated by the news.
“John was a great guy. What you saw on television – that bubbly enthusiastic personality – was just how he was in person. This is a very sad day,” he said.
Wilson, who had lived in Lenwade in Norfolk before moving to Thailand in 2013, was named the greatest angler by the Angling Times in 2004.
The magazine paid tribute to him in a tweet, saying he was “a man who gave us all incredible fishing memories with his famous Go Fishing series” who would be “missed by everyone in the angling world”.
In 2013 he appeared on BBC Inside Out East to call for otters to be trapped and moved to other locations with better fish stocks to protect local rivers in Norfolk.