Like many of us, Hal Tompkins began fishing offshore of Texas with a friend. That was back in 1979. It was not long before Hal bought his own 31’ Bertram, “Mahalo,” which over the years was followed by “Segunda” and then “Seventh Heaven.”
Hal’s Texas saltwater fishing reknown is anchored by having won the prestigious Poco Bueno Tournament twice, once in 1989 and again in 1995. However, many other tournament accomplishments populate Hal’s careers, including awards of various kinds at TIFT (1986), TCBT (1987), TWAT (1987) and the Masters Tournament (1988).
Hal supported women and kids in the offshore angling as well. He was among those that started the Texas Women Anglers Tournament in 1985. Hal’s wife Earlyn Tompkins was one of the anglers on winning team that first year. In 1996, Hal’s 6-year-old grandson Riley Tompkins caught his first sailfish on his Hal’s boat. Hal’s wife and his sons and grandsons were often a part of his crew. Hal took joy in sharing his passion and showing the ropes to local young fishermen. Hal Tompkins was a captain in the United States Marine Corps, served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat V for his service.
He had enlisted in the Marines in 1960 while a student at Texas A&M University, near to his native Houston. He trained in Platoon Leaders Class ’61 and ’62 in Quantico, Virginia, while simultaneously completing his studies in Civil Engineering and graduating from Texas A&M in 1963. He then completed Marine Basic School at Quantico, followed by Combat Engineers School at Court House Bay in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In March of 1964 he joined the 1st Marine Brigade in MCAS Kaneohi, Hawaii, and in March 1965 mounted out of Kaneohi to Chu Lai Vietnam for 13 months. He rounded out his Marine career as General’s Aid for General John Masters and General James Herbold in Barstow, California, and was discharged in 1968.
Upon leaving the Marines, Hal started his business career at Puffer Sweiven in 1968. He stayed at Puffer Sweiven for 20 years, working his way up to president. Despite falling victim to a debilitating disease in his later years, at this writing, Hal continues to share his passion for offshore fishing with his family. The Tompkins family frequently takes trips to Costa Rica and Panama to enjoy world renowned fishing spots as a family. In 2019, while fishing with family off Quepos, Costa Rica, Hal enjoyed catching marlin from his wheelchair.