Paul Leader, “Godfather” of San Diego bass fishing, has died

SAN DIEGO — Paul Leader, considered to be one of the most recognizable names in bass fishing, reportedly lost his battle with cancer and passed away on Aug. 8. He was 79.

Leader reportedly supported many angling tournaments in the San Diego area and was inducted into the San Diego Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2002. The bass fisher was known as “Godfather” amongst his contemporaries, according to

“His impact on the San Diego County fishing community and concern for the wellbeing of the local lakes has been long-standing and far-reaching,” his Hall of Fame page read. “He is considered one of the most generous benefactors in local history, regularly assisting organizations such as [Western Outdoor News], The San Diego Council of Bass Clubs and the American Bass Association.”

Leader also supported fishing through his business. The bass angler owned El Cajon Ford and used the company to sponsor an annual local fishing event.

“His El Cajon Ford San Diego Team Open has become one of the major annual local events, created out of his desire to thank the fishermen of the Southwest for their involvement in the sport,” Leader’s Hall of Fame page continued.

His company also sponsored the San Diego Team Night Series and San Diego Team Day Series.

The car dealer owner and bass angler was also “an award- winning competitor” and always eager “to share his love of the sport of fishing with others,” according to his Hall of Fame biography.

San Diego Bass Fishing Hall of Fame photo

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