Fishing Industry News: Brosdahl's Winter Tour Underway; Hawaii's Tilapia Invasion

In the latest fishing industry news, Aqua-Vu prostaffer Brian Brosdahl hits the road on his winter ice fishing tour and Hawaii grapples with invasive tilapia.

Fishing Industry News: Brosdahl's Winter Tour Underway; Hawaii's Tilapia Invasion

Profesional angler and guide Brian Brosdahl has begun his annual winter road show to meet with anglers and talk about ice fishing. (Photo: Aqua-Vu)

Some of the latest fishing industry news:

Minnesota guide and pro angler Brian “Bro” Brosdahl has begun his annual "Bro Road Show" throughout the Midwest to help anglers learn more about ice fishing, electronics and tackle.

Brosdahl and his wife, Heather, kicked off the fun-filled trip Nov. 8 and will continue through January. They will make stops at dozens of retail locations, from top-notch independent stores like Dakota Angler and Marine General to the most popular big box outdoor outlets.

Now in its 18th year, the first 2019 stop is also one of Brosdahl's favorites, the Dakota Angler Ice Institute — an all-ice fishing exhibition that runs November 8-10 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At all the stops Brosdahl offers on-the-spot fishing seminars as well as in-store training on trending products along with swapping fishing stories.

Retailers often schedule his visits to coincide with special sales, promotions and in-store seminars. The results consistently yield noticeable upticks in store receipts, particularly among the brands Bro promotes, most notably Aqua-Vu® underwater cameras.

“When I start planning for our annual Ice Institute, Bro is the first person I contact,” says Todd Heitkamp, owner of Dakota Angler in Sioux Falls. “The knowledge he passes on to all those who come and see him is unbelievable. He's a super promoter for us and the tackle we sell, but is really a great friend to the entire fishing industry.”

“Couldn’t agree more,” adds Ben Gibbs, President of Aqua-Vu. “Bro’s a legitimate endorser of our underwater cameras and the other products he promotes. It’s not in Bro’s DNA to promote gear that’s not in his garage, fish house and truck. Bro never hits the ice without his Aqua-Vu, because he knows it will help him learn about and catch more fish.”

Among the hottest products for the 2019-20 ice fishing season?

Aqua-Vu has a new camera called the Multi-Vu™ that connects directly to the big screen TV in those large, wheeled ice fishing shelters. It’s like having a live, 24-7 fishing channel.

“There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the handheld Aqua-Vu micro Revolution™ and Stealth™ cameras," Brosdahl said. "All the best tournament anglers are using these portable cameras now. And weekend anglers have picked up on the trend and run with it. The convenience and portability of the micro series—the original smartphone-sized underwater cameras—still amazes folks.

“My new favorite for sight-fishing? Undoubtedly, it’s Aqua-Vu’s new Gen 2 high definition cameras, including the HD10i Pro. You can’t believe the clarity, panoramic picture and sunlight-viewability of these new HD viewing systems. Underwater cameras are hot in ice fishing and Aqua-Vu’s new high-def systems continue to amaze anglers, no doubt.”

Hawaii Grapples With Invasive Tilapia

With the naked eye you can see large schools of Nile tilapia in Hawai‘i Island’s Wailoa River system including its tributary Waiākea Stream and Waiākea Pond, which sits in the middle of Wailoa River State Park in Hilo.

Two years ago, this species of tilapia was reclassified by the State Board of Agriculture as a restricted species only for research - to permit importation for aquaculture facilities to farm raise them. While there’s no evidence that a recent “invasion” of the tilapia in fresh water streams has anything to do with commercial farming operations, it confirms fears DLNR and Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) leadership and biologists expressed when Board members were debating whether to allow the State Dept. of Agriculture to revise its rules to permit aquaculture importation of Nile tilapia.

“Unfortunately, Hawai‘i has a long history of bringing in species, thinking that they’ll provide some commercial or ecosystem benefit, to discover later that these same species out-compete native species," said Brian Neilson, DAR Administrator. "We are now seeing stark evidence of this. While Nile tilapia were present in the Hilo waterways before aquaculture operations began, reports of Nile tilapia or hybrids are on the rise indicating that their population may be increasing, and their range may be expanding. That’s the real downside of bringing non-native species into the state for any reason.”

Local fisherman, as with a recent invasion of Black Chin tilapia along Kaua‘i’s Napali Coast, were among the first to see and report increasing numbers of Nile tilapia in the Wailoa River and its associated waterways.

Kim Fuller, a DAR aquatic invasive species biologist explains that Nile tilapia are valuable for commercial food production for the same reasons they can become pests when they’re present in natural fresh water environments. She said, “They reproduce quickly, grow quickly, and are very competitive for food resources with native fish. Worldwide, Nile tilapia have a history of invasion and when we did our risk assessment for the introduction of these fish, we found them to be fairly high risk of becoming invasive in Hawai‘i.”

The Wailoa River system is known as Hawai‘i’s prime mullet fishery. “Our biggest concern right now, is the Nile tilapia is competing with the native mullet (‘ama‘ama) for habitat and resources and potentially affecting the fishery,” said Hilo-based DAR aquatic biologist Troy Sakihara. He and his team have been taking in both live and dead tilapia caught by fishermen and he marvels at how fast and large the Nile species grows.

The reasons behind the current increase in the Nile tilapia invasion in Hilo are not known, but biologists caution that while aquaculture farming facilities are “closed systems,” all it takes is one lapse in biosecurity measures and then quickly you see an invasion population of these fish.

South Carolina Warns About Invasive Snakeheads

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials are warning anglers that if the invasive Northern snakehead fish is caught in the Palmetto State, anglers should kill it immediately and by all means not release it into the water.

In early October, a Georgia angler reported catching a Northern snakehead, an aquatic invasive species, in a pond located on private property in Gwinnett County, Ga. This is the first time the Northern snakehead has been confirmed in Georgia waters. In the Southeast, Northern snakeheads also have been found in North Carolina and Florida.

“Our first line of defense in the fight against aquatic invasive species, such as the Northern snakehead, is our anglers,” said Ross Self, chief of freshwater fisheries with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). “If South Carolina anglers catch a Northern snakehead, they should kill it immediately and report it to SCDNR.”

Snakeheads, a native of Asia, have been reported in 14 states in the United States. The snakehead is a long, thin fish, similar in appearance to the native bowfin. They can get up to three feet in length. They have a long dorsal fin that runs along their whole back, and have a dark brown blotchy appearance. They can breathe air, and can survive in low oxygenated systems. The snakehead is a top-level predator fish, and its introduction poses a substantial threat to native fish populations.

If you believe you have caught a Northern snakehead:

  • DO NOT RELEASE IT.
  • Kill it immediately (remember, it can survive on land) and freeze it.
  • If possible, take pictures of the fish, including closeups of its mouth, fins and tail.
  • Note where it was caught (waterbody, landmarks or GPS coordinates).
  • Report it to the SCDNR by calling 1-800-922-5431.

Invasive species are often introduced through unauthorized release. Non-native invasive species such as the Northern snakehead have the potential to impact native species by competing for food and habitat. In South Carolina, it is unlawful to import, transport, sell, transfer, or possess any species of snakehead fish without a valid wild animal license.

For more information about the Northern snakehead, or other aquatic nuisance species, visit dnr.sc.gov/water/envaff/aquatic/snakehead.html.

G.Loomis Expands IMX-Pro Series With 17 Rods

G. Loomis has expanded its IMX-PRO bass rod series with the addition of 17 new Classic Action rods — Mag Bass, Spin Jig and Classic Casting — now joining the 47 technique-specific models available.

The new rods have starting shipping to G. Loomis dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and include some special actions ideal for fall largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing.

The seven new Mag Bass (MBR) action casting rods are highlighted by magnum tapers and light tips to facilitate long cast and deep-water hooking abilities. The line-up includes 6’6”, 7’ and 7’6” rods, all with a parabolic action to absorb the energy of a surging bass. According to G. Loomis senior planning manager David Brinkerhoff, one of the more popular rods for most bass anglers will the IMX-PRO 843C MBR.

Originally designed for use with soft plastics, the eight new IMX-PRO Classic Spin Jig (SJR) rods provide the best alternative for anglers who favor spinning applications where a casting rod is usually prescribed. The two 6’ IMX-PRO Classic Casting (CR) rods are the ticket when anglers need to make precise casts when fishing small topwater lures and small crankbaits or to pitch or skip a jig into tight quarters.

With the addition of the ‘Classic Action’ rods, the IMX-PRO series continues to be G. Loomis’ most extensive lineup of bass rods, now totaling 64 different models for any bass fishing situation faced or any technique used.

Suggested retail is from $315 to $375. As with all G. Loomis rods, the IMX-PRO Classic Action rods are handcrafted in Woodland, Washington.

Z-Man Adds 6 Colors to Finesse TRD

Expanding its roster of coveted Ned Rig baits, Z-Man recently unveiled six new colors of the Finesse TRD. The patterns include cutting-edge color combinations inspired by the West Coast finesse fishing scene, plus lively enhancements of classic earth-tones and innovative hatch-matching hues.

Z-Man’s definitive finesse bait now gives anglers 28 intricate, fish-catching colors from which to choose.

— Goby Bryant is a match of a lighter-phase round goby: olive-green-brown back with black and orange flake and a subdued, pearlescent belly.

— Meat Dog is Z-Man’s shot at mimicking the vibrant look and appeal of West Coast hand-poured worms for clear water, sort of the West Coast equivalent of green pumpkin with an almost translucent sheen.

— Twilight also is a clear water West Coast wth a vibrant purple back and an equally radiant pink belly.

— Mood  Ring  is a dark-hued coupling of black with blue glitter and deep purple, and has previously proven itself as a saltwater color in Z-Man’s TroutTrick. The subtle two-tone bait also represents a West Coast / finesse pattern, juxtaposing an earth tone with a softer iridescent.

— Bubble Gut melds a green pumpkin back with a pink/red flake belly. The eye-catching pattern amps up the classic finesse pattern with bright pink, a trending smallmouth color.

— Hot Craw combines a red-gold flake underside to a green pumpkin back.

'Skeleton Cup' Team Tourney Set on Lake Cumberland

 Bass anglers have the opportunity to compete against others for more than $13,000 in cash and fishing gear at the 5th Annual ‘G. Loomis Skeleton Cup’ team tournament out of Conley Bottom Resort on Kentucky’s Lake Cumberland.

To receive a free entry into the event, both team members must have purchased any G. Loomis rod from participating Kentucky tackle dealers between April 1 through Wednesday, Nov. 13. Along with the $2,300 cash and tackle pay-out to the winning team, G. Loomis will award cash or tackle down the 20th-place team.

For the past five years, G. Loomis has teamed up with its dealers throughout Kentucky to host this event as a simple thank you to anglers who fish its rods.

“It’s become both a fun competitive and social event, and we do make it worthwhile for bass anglers throughout Kentucky and a few neighboring states to join us with the amount of cash and tackle up for grabs,” said Skeleton Cup tournament director Drew Sadler. “Plus, for any of the 6th- through 20th-place teams purchasing and IMX-PRO rod for their entry, we’ll upgrade their rod prizes to the IMX-PRO series.”

Tournament hours on Saturday, Nov. 16 are from 8 am EST until 3 p.m., with check-in starting on the Conley Bottom Resort dock at 6:30 a.m.

For more information, see any of the participating dealers or contact Drew Sadler at sadler_drew@yahoo.com – or text/call him at 859-314.7034.

JL Marine Systems Joins 'Plastic Brigade' Campaign

JL Marine Systems, Inc., makers of the original Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchor, will serve as the primary sponsor for the 4th district of the American Advertising Federation’s “Plastic Brigade” campaign. 

Plastic debris and trash, such as straws and single-use plastics not only harm the aesthetic of nature but can cause serious harm to fish and wildlife. By keeping them out of our marine ecosystem, we can help help ensure that those ecosystems will thrive for generations to come. 

“In an effort to reduce the impact of plastic pollution on our shorelines and the environment our volunteer team of advertising professionals and affiliate organizations is conducting a public service campaign to promote sustainable packaging, recycling and proper plastic disposal,” AAF Fourth District’s governor Mike Weber said. “The underwriting from Power-Pole gives us the support we needed to provide branding identity to our volunteers and fully develop our awareness campaign.” 

This year’s public service initiative from the Ad Federation was a natural fit for Power-Pole’s Community Action Service Team, which coordinates J.L. Marine’s community outreach and conservation efforts while supporting charities, nonprofits and other organizations that help serve the boating and fishing communities.

“We as anglers need to do our best to keep our waters and estuaries free from plastic,” said Dan Benson, Power-Pole national sales manager and C.A.S.T.net committee member. “The goals of the AAF’s Plastic Brigade are not only to clean up the environment but to educate everyone about how plastic affects our fisheries.”

The “Plastic Brigade” initiative will include an awareness and education campaign about the harmful effects plastic can have on marine environments, particularly in Florida and the Caribbean where the AAF’s 4th district is located. According to Plastic Free Florida, the average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year, which accounts for 10 percent of all the waste humans generate every year. Fifty percent of that plastic waste was used only once before it was thrown away. Once that plastic, including single-use shopping bags, reaches the ocean, it can take between 500 and 1,000 years to fully decompose.

The Ad Federation’s volunteer team of advertising professionals and affiliate organizations will utilize their expertise to promote an advertising campaign focused on sustainable packaging, recycling and proper plastic disposal. AAF will also be coordinating beach cleanups through its affiliates in Florida and the Caribbean to clear them of debris.

“Power-Pole employees are eager to get our hands dirty to remove as much plastic as possible but more importantly help spread the word on how long plastic takes to decompose once it gets into our environment,” Benson said. 

To learn more about the “Plastic Brigade” initiative and to see a complete schedule of upcoming cleanup campaigns, go to: http://www.plasticbrigade.com/

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