Bruce Leonard Gibbs
Class of 1959
Sides Agree On 'The Fisherman' Statue
by MICHAEL J. RAUSCH
A meeting of minds has taken place regarding the wording that will go on the bronze statue of a canal fisherman to be unveiled in Buzzards Bay Park this summer.
A debate had ignited recently over what should appear on the statue’s plaque. On one side of the debate stood the members of the Fisherman Fund, who wanted to call the memorial the Fisherman’s Statue, honoring everyone who has ever fished for striped bass along the canal. On the other side is Bruce L. Gibbs, son of the late Stan Gibbs, the legendary Bourne fisherman whose 1953 photograph inspired the statue’s pose.
Both sides on the debate came before the Bourne Board of Selectmen Tuesday night and said that they had hashed out their differences over last weekend and reached a compromise on what should appear on the statue’s plaque.
The agreed upon wording that will honor both the heritage of fishing along the Cape Cod Canal, as well as the local fishing legend whose photograph inspired the statue’s pose, Stan Gibbs.
Robert B. Willis, president of the Fisherman Fund, told selectmen that his group’s fundraising efforts have solely promoted the statue as the Fisherman’s Statue. However, Mr. Willis said that his group also recognizes the need to commemorate Stan Gibbs.
“We are aware of the importance to recognize and preserve the history and impact of Stan Gibbs, the lure maker and fisherman,” he said.
Bruce Gibbs said that his father’s fame was unique, stretching beyond Bourne to the world over with the lures he created and that manufacturers continue to replicate to this day. He said as a comparison, his father was to fishing what Ted Williams was to baseball.
“I’m not 100 percent happy with this, but I can compromise. This gets his name on the statue,” he said.
Bourne police detective John F. Doble, a member of the Fisherman Fund group, read for selectmen the text that the two sides agreed on: “The Fisherman. A tribute to past, present and future striped bass fishermen of the great Cape Cod Canal, inspired by local fishing legend Stan Gibbs.”
Selectmen Donald E. (Jerry) Ellis read his own suggestion for how the inscription should be: “This statue is a tribute to all fishermen of Cape Cod Canal. It especially commemorates Bourne fishing legend Stanley Gibbs of Sagamore, creator of world-famous bass fishing lures.”
Mr. Ellis said that he thought it important for the wording to emphasize Stan Gibbs[‘s worldwide fame as a maker of fishing lures.
“It’s a little different. He, in my opinion, is someone in the town that should be looked up to and one of the people that we always look at as legends,” he said.
Mr. Willis said that since his group has been the sole fundraisers for the cost of the statue, and they had reached an agreement with the younger Mr. Gibbs “we feel that this is what should be on the statue.”
He added that both sides talked about a future project to build a local museum that would tell the history of fishing along the Cape Cod Canal, and the story of Stan Gibbs through photographs and videos.
The younger Mr. Gibbs said that he preferred to have the statue acknowledge his father as world-famous for his lures and not just as a fisherman. He said that since an agreement had been reached, he would leave it up to selectmen to decide on the wording.
“If that’s acceptable to you, it’s acceptable to them, it’s acceptable to me,” he said.
Selectman Linda M. Zuern said that she applauded both sides for working together to reach an accord on the wording, and suggested that the board approve what had been presented to them.
Mr. Ellis concurred with Ms. Zuern’s suggestion and withdrew his suggested text.
Ten feet tall from base to top, the statue depicts a fisherman carrying two 40-pound stripers. It was created by Hyannis sculptor David Lewis and is currently in Arizona being bronzed. It is scheduled to be unveiled this summer in Buzzards Bay Park as part of the Cape Cod Canal Centennial celebration?.?
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