BassWestUSA - November/December, 2009, Page 53

Hilton said that during the initial stages of kill switch distri- bution in the early 70s, he received nothing but support from his fellow competitors. “Every single fisherman embraced the idea,” he recounted. “I can’t remember a single negative comment or resistance from anyone. I used to have a box of letters from fish- ermen who wrote me saying that they had been thrown from their boats and the kill switch saved them.” These days, the 71-year-old Hilton fishes – a lot. “It’s funny because I invented the kill switch so I could fish more but at the peak, it seemed like all I was doing was running the business and installing switches,” laughed Hilton. Still, between 1974 and 1976, Hilton had four Top 20 finishes in Bassmaster Invitational tournaments and also posted a top 20 finish in the 1974 Bass- master Classic on Lake Wheeler. Hilton currently lives on Kentucky Lake, five minutes from Paris Landing, where he fishes every single day that the weather is decent. Ironically, since the initial accident in 1969, Hilton has never been thrown from his boat. BW

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Editor’s Note: Matt Pangrac can be reached at

November/December 2009