Noted Author Jim Rizzuto Passes Away

Sport-fishing’s Hawaiian ambassador leaves a rich legacy

Jim Rizzuto
Jim RizzutoCourtesy

The worldwide fishing community lost a true ambassador on July 2, 2017, with the death of Jim Rizzuto in Hawaii. The popular author, teacher, mentor and fisherman lost a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

Since 1964, Rizzuto has written thousands of articles about fishing in Hawaii for scores of publications, as well as several books on the subject; his 1990 book Fishing Hawaii Offshore is considered one of the most comprehensive in the world. He was one of the earliest freelance writers working with Marlin magazine, covering the Hawaii fishing and tournament circuit to bring that excitement to Marlin readers for more than 30 years.

In addition to his writing, Rizzuto was a passionate lure-maker, deriving immense joy from raising blue marlin to his own creations of resin and vinyl in the spread. His instructional books Lure Making 101/102 and Lure Making 201/202 are among the best in teaching the art and science of big-game lure design. Those, coupled with his hands-on lessons, have helped hundreds of DIY anglers learn the craft, where they continue his legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Rizzuto also excelled in teaching others how to be successful offshore. In 2015, he coached his then-16-year-old grandson Kai Rizzuto to his first 1,000-pound marlin catch.

Rizzuto's final article, "Chomping on Chuckers," will appear in the August/September issue of Marlin. Earlier this year, he wrote on Hawaii's grander blues in a feature entitled "Hawaii's Blue Marlin Grander Saga."

And while his passing leaves a tremendous void in the fishing community, we can take comfort in the knowledge that Jim Rizzuto’s legacy will live long and swim deep around the world.