Before you go sharing that same three minute highlight reel of him falling off boats and breaking fishing reels in ceiling fans, you need to know a few things about Bill Dance, Internet.
1. Bill Dance is above all else a hellacious fisherman. I knew a guy who worked in Memphis when Dance was just getting started in the mid-sixties, before he had even started his first fishing show on local TV in 1968. This man was a fishing lunatic, the kind of man who would get up at five a.m. to fish at six a.m. and then get to work by eight a.m. He prided himself on insane dedication, and even he couldn't beat Dance out to the lake. Bill Dance was out there in the dark at four in the morning because an eight-pound bass killed Bill Dance's best friend in childhood, and he's sought revenge ever since.
2. Bill Dance is a one-man empire. Have you ever seen the man pitch a new Colorado Blade or Alabama Rig? In three minutes, Bill Dance will have you ready to buy whatever hooked nightmare he has dangling on the end of his line even if you never fish, and in fact, live on the 47th floor of a Manhattan apartment building. You can dangle that shit off the balcony and catch stray commuters, only to catch and release them like a responsible outdoorsman because oh my god did you see how effortlessly Bill Dance made that ten-pounder look coming in on the hook.
Bill Dance has successfully sold the fishing world a relentless string of shiny overpriced crap for decades not because any of it made anyone a better fisherman, but because Bill Dance is so good at getting fisherman to do what they wanted to do anyway, i.e. "spend more grocery money on crap to lose in trees." You might not think spending $22.99 on a fishing lure was a good idea to begin with, but Bill Dance said it was not only okay, but was essential, honey.
You would later hook this expensive piece of gear on an underwater stump. That was okay, because during the week while you were working Bill Dance miraculously found an even better glorified Christmas ornament guaranteed to turn you into the Genghis Khan of the local runoff pond. This has happened every week for 45 years. Bill Dance is a goddamn sorcerer of American commerce and you are not.
3. Bill Dance is a cultural icon.
That's Jerry Reed and Porter Wagoner just happy to be let in the boat with the man in the Tennessee hat, much less spoken to by the Bass Whisperer himself. In case that means nothing to you, we'll explain. Jerry Reed was our 23rd President and the co-star in Smokey and the Bandit, and Porter Wagoner was a country singer who Dolly Parton allegedly said "had a penis like a fiddle." Both obviously great Americans, and both giggling like schoolgirls at the mere possibility of cleaning fish for Bill Dance.
P.S. Jerry Reed saying the word "here" as "heeyanhhh" is one of our greatest cultural treasures.
4. Stop acting like Bill Dance is here to amuse you, internet. And if you are going to assume that, at least use the high-quality clip collection, and not the half-assed short version without the hilariously awful sound effects added by the Bill Dance production crew. Slide whistles? Oh, you bet your ass there are slide whistles involved.
It's not a Bill Dance blooper collection if it doesn't feature "Bill Dance Hooks Himself In The Face With A Lure" and "Bill Dance Empties An Entire Jar Of Mustard On His Pants."
5. Bill Dance is kind of a big deal. We mean this seriously. Just watch his show, which has been the same for the better part of 30 years. Dance catches fish. Some pleasant guitar music plays in the background. He explains some obscure jigging method just guaranteed to reel in bass, and then goes way overboard with the excitement in catching several fish. Then Dance pitches the living daylights out of two or three products and shows a clip of him falling out of a boat.
That's it, and that's all the show's ever been. That is all it has ever needed to be, really, since it's all kind of hypnotic. Dance works shoeless on a boat all day in a Tennessee hat, and is so famous among fishermen that he has trouble shooting the show due to anglers wanting autographs and face time with the fishlord himself. All that from a man who came from three generations of doctors, and decided after viewing a gory motorcycle accident that he'd rather spend his life fishing.
6. Someday we will fulfill the dream of getting him on GameDay as the celebrity picker. It may take kidnapping noted fan of every team Kenny Chesney, who winds up on the GameDay set annually like a behatted wee gremlin that survives on the rays of television cameras, but if that's what it takes then that's what we'll do. In fact, there's this piece of tackle just made for small bait like Chesney. It's probably something Bill Dance will pitch in between casts on this Saturday's edition of Bill Dance Outdoors. Yes, it costs $24.99, but Bill Dance says it's unlike anything he's ever seen. He said this last Saturday, too, and the Saturday before that, but honey: BILL DANCE SAYS IT'S ESSENTIAL. And Bill Dance, reeling in another wiggling green-gold trophy fish on another Saturday, is never wrong, even when he's hitting his knee on a trailer hitch for your entertainment.