Al Bourisaw grew up in the small town of Herculaneum, Missouri, a stone's throw from the Joachim Creek. He had a great childhood as a small-town country boy. He grew up fishing for bass, crappie, carp and blue gill with worms and lures. His love of fishing was nurtured by his father and the proximity of the Joachim Creek near his home. In 1966, Al and his wife, Evelyn (nee) Hartmann, were married. They have resided for over 50 years in Saint Louis County Concord area. Al and Evelyn have two girls who are teachers following in their parents' foot steps.
Al attended Herculaneum High School and graduated in 1961. He received his undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri University, a Masters in Mathematics Education from Webster University, a Master in Educational Administration and EdS in Educational Administration from Truman University. He is a retired school teacher and administrator. Al had 33 years of experience in private and public education. He taught mathematics for two years at Augustinian Academy in Saint Louis and 31 years in the School District of Hancock Place, the last twenty-one years as high school principal and Superintendent of Schools.
Al is an Army veteran having served as a sergeant in the United States Army. He did a tour of duty in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, with the Ninth Infantry Division. He was stationed at Dong Tam in the Mekong Delta.
Since retiring in 2000, he has immersed himself in learning the sport of fly fishing. He joined the Ozark Fly Fishers Club in 2001 and served as Director of Education for seven years. As Director of Education he revised the educational programs, wrote syllabus for classes, increased educational course offering and taught class. He has taught classes for the Saint Louis County Parks Department, Saint Charles County Parks Department, Eureka Parks Department, local Boy Scout Troops, and Club classes through the Ozark Fly Fishers Membership School. In 2006, he was named as the Fly Fishers International Southern Council Educator of the Year.
He has been tying flies off and on (mostly off until retirement) for over 40 years. He began fly tying with lessons from Paul Calcaterra, deceased, a well-known and respected fly-tying teacher in the Saint Louis area. Another instructor that influenced his tying was Jerry Jarosik, deceased, a respected tier in the Fly Fisher International Southern Council and professional fly tier for Dave Whitlock and T. Hargrove Fly Shop in Saint Louis. Al has been a demonstration fly tier at the Sow Bug in Mountain Home, Arkansas; at the Fly Fisher International Southern Council; at the Tri-Lakes Expo; at various other fly- fishing club and Boy Scout group; and, at local Bass Pro and Cabelas Stores.
A rudimentary knowledge of entomology and Stream Team 31 water quality monitoring activities have help shape his tying techniques to include size, shape, action, texture and color. In 2012 his Parachute Caddis was recognized with third place in the Winter Fly Fishing & Tying Journal. His Hopper Popper won first place in the Freestyle Division of the Winter 2015 issue of the Fly Fishing & Tying Journal.
After retirement fly fishing became a passion for him and few days pass that he is not tying flies, posting patterns on his You Tube channel (Al Bourisaw), researching some aspect of fly fishing, or fishing. Each year he fishes about 40-50 days and enjoys both warm and cold-water species. His fishing experiences include all streams and parks in Missouri and the tail waters in both Missouri and Arkansas - Taneycomo, White, Norfork, and Little Red. He has fished many of the streams in the West to include the Yellowstone, Madison, Green, Blue, Big Horn, Miracle Mile, South Fork of the Snake, North Fork of the Shoshone and many others. He has fished the Patagonia region of Argentina and variuos locations in Canada.
Al is a member of Fly Fishing International, Ozark Fly Fishers, Roubidoux Fly Fishers, North Arkansas Fly Fishers and Tri-Lakes Fly Fishers.
Al adopted the non de plume Renegade Fly Fisher in 2015.