Fishing Industry News: New Colors in Spro RK Crawler; NOAA Proposal on Paper Maps

In the latest fishing industry news, Spro has added new colors to its RK Crawler crankbait lineup and NOAA seeks public input on a proposal to end paper maps.

Fishing Industry News: New Colors in Spro RK Crawler; NOAA Proposal on Paper Maps

Some of the latest fishing industry news:

The brainchild of accomplished bass pro and B.A.S.S. Elite Series angler Mike McClelland, SPRO has added four new colors to the RK Crawler line. 

"The RK Crawler 55 is my every day, go-to crankbait when bass are headed back shallow in the fall," said McClelland. "Wherever you're at, bass are going to head to the depths during the heat of the summer and as waters cool, they begin to head back shallow. The profile of the RK Crawler 55 allows you to work the 9- to 14-foot depths where bass stage before scooting back into the really skinny water to chase bait. In the past, I had to work those depths with jigs, hard heads and Carolina-rigs. Now, because of the deep-diving lip on the RK Crawler 55, it gets to depth quickly and maintains a flat dive curve so I can target those fish with a crank."

After using the RK Crawler 55, McClelland's friends and fellow pros wanted a similar bait with a smaller profile for shallower water. Enter the RK Crawler 50, best for 4-8 feet depths, and the RK Crawler MD 55, which works from 1-10 feet. McClelland said that northern anglers who target smallmouths may love the new colors of RK Crawlers

"Smallmouths up north feed on a lot of bluegills and perch," he said. "The Clear Gill and Real Perch are going to be killers on smallie. Of course, there are times when it pays to throw something a little different, too. Smallmouth are definitely sight feeders so one of the new craw colors, like Electric Red Craw or Burnt Orange Craw, might be just what you need for a bass to sit up and take notice in super clear water." 

New colors include Electric Red Craw, Melon Craw, Burnt Orange Craw and Red River Craw    

NOAA Accepting Comments on Proposal to End Paper Maps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is accepting public comment on a proposal to phase out paper maps and charts within five years. Chart users, companies that provide products and services based on NOAA raster and electronic navigational chart (NOAA ENC) products, and other stakeholders can help shape the manner and timing in which the product sunsetting process will proceed. Comments may be submitted through NOAA’s online ASSIST feedback tool.

For nearly 200 years, NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey has produced traditional paper nautical chart products. Originally, this took the singular form of hard copy paper charts, today, there are several raster digital chart formats available to download or print through a NOAA certified agent. Similar to the transition from road atlases to GPS navigation systems witnessed in this digital era, officials also are seeing the increased reliance on NOAA electronic navigational charts (ENC) as the primary navigational product and the decreased use of traditional raster chart products. Since 2008, ENC sales have increased by 425 percent, while sales of paper charts have dropped by half.

The International Maritime Organization now mandates that all large commercial vessels on international voyages use ENCs. In 2016, the U.S. Coast Guard started allowing regulated commercial vessels on domestic voyages to use ENCs in lieu of paper charts. Recreational boaters are also increasingly using electronic chart displays.

NOAA is in the midst of a multi-year program to improve its ENC coverage by replacing more than 1,200 irregularly shaped ENC cells, compiled in over 130 different scales, with a standard gridded layout of ENCs, compiled in just a dozen standard scales. This will increase the number of ENC cells to about 9,000 and significantly improve the level of detail and consistency among ENCs. More information about improvements being made is in Transforming the NOAA ENC.

Ultimately, production will be shut down for all raster chart products and services associated with traditional NOAA paper nautical charts, including:

Cancellation of these product and services will start in mid to late 2020 and be completed by January 2025. More detailed information regarding this transition is explained in the document Sunsetting Traditional NOAA Paper Charts: End of Paper and Raster Nautical Chart Production and Introduction of NOAA Custom Charts. Over the next five years, NOAA will work to ease the transition to ENC-based products while continuing to support safe navigation. NOAA will focus on improving data consistency and providing larger scale coverage of NOAA ENC, as well as providing access to paper chart products based on ENC data, either through the NOAA Custom Chart prototype or third-party commercial data providers.

Historical editions of nautical charts back to the mid-1800s, may be downloaded for free from the Coast Survey Historical Map & Chart Collection website.

Bulthuis New North America President of Pure Fishing

Dave Bulthuis has been named President of North America for Pure Fishing.

Bulthuis is the former Vice President of Sales for Costa Sunglasses, where he served in a number of capacities since 2003. In October 2018 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Sportfishing Association during the organization's annual summit, in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and lifelong commitment to sportfishing. Bulthuis has served on ASA’s board of directors for eight years, including a stint as Chairman of the Board in 2015 and 2016.

Prior to 16 years at Costa, he was as Director of Sales for several brands in the outdoor industry including Fin-Nor Fishing Tackle, Jones and Company and several independent rep groups.

“I’ve been fortunate to have an incredible career in the fishing industry and worked on some initiatives that I’m extremely proud of,” he said. “Bringing those experiences to bear for one of the most iconic companies in the world at this time of growth and change gives me renewed excitement about what I can contribute to this sport I love so deeply.”

This new position will see Bulthuis taking over accountability for Pure Fishing’s sales and customer marketing efforts across North America. He begins Dec. 2 and will be based at Pure Fishing's headquarters in Columbia, South Carolina.

Strike King Pro Team Journal Moves to Pursuit Media

Strike King’s Pro Team Journal in January 2020 will become a primetime and weekend morning destination with Pursuit Media's via it's free, full-access Pursuit Channel and PursuitUp digital companion.

Strike King’s Pro Team Journal will air January thru June 2020 at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 12 p.m. Fridays, 1 p.m. Saturdays and 10:30 a.m. Sundays (EST).

“Pursuit Channel’s premium fishing content, which includes America’s most-watched primetime fishing block on Tuesday nights, just got even better with the addition of Strike King’s Pro Team Journal,” said Rusty Faulk, Founder and CEO of Pursuit Media.

Strike King executive vice-president of marketing, David May, added: “We have been watching the Pursuit Channel for several years, becoming more and more impressed with the strategic growth of its Nielsen-measured broadcast audience and its mission to live stream content to anglers who may also want to watch fishing on the go, wirelessly, wherever their own fishing adventures may take them."

Pursuit Channel is active nationally via DIRECTV, DISH Network, Fios by Verizon HD and Centurylink Prism HD, Cox Communication and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC). Additionally, PursuitUp,, provides free viewing for hundreds of encore hours of outdoor content through Samsung Plus TV, Pluto TV, ROKU, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone and Androids.

Lake Fork Completes Bassmaster Elite Series Schedule

Lake Fork — the Texas fishery that produced a pair of four-day weights of more than 100 pounds last year — will again play host to the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The tournament will be held June 5-9 on the Sabine River Basin, with daily weigh-ins and festivities at the Sabine River Authority headquarters on the shoreline of Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas. South Carolina angler Brandon Cobb claimed the 2018 Texas Fest title with a four-day total of 20 bass that weighed 114 pounds.

“That was the most amazing four days of fishing I’ve ever had,” said Cobb, who received one of B.A.S.S.’s coveted Century Belts for topping the 100-pound mark, along with Michigan’s Garrett Paquette, who placed second with 101-15. “When you set the hook at Lake Fork, you never know what you’re in for. I’ve wanted to go back there since the moment we rolled out of town.”

Cobb, whose catch for the week included an 11-pound, 1-ounce monster largemouth, earned $125,000 as his winner’s share of the event’s $1 million total purse. He also received a Toyota Tundra pickup truck for weighing the heaviest bass of the event.

That same purse will be in place next year.

Cindy Hamrick, Vice President of Marketing for Gulf States Toyota, echoed Akin’s excitement.

“We are proud to once again present the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which showcases the great Texas outdoors,” Hamrick said. “Our continued partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department allows them to offer the Toyota ShareLunker Program and a number of youth and urban outreach programs.”

Frabill Trophy Haul Nets Recognized by Fast Company for Innovation

Frabill's new line of Trophy Haul landing nets has been named a finalist for Fast Company's Best Product Design of 2019.

Finalists for Fast Company's Best Product Design of 2019 included the most innovative items on the market, such as products by Microsoft, Adidas, and Google. Frabill's line of landing nets stood out amongst leaders in the technology and conservation markets. See the full list of finalists here.

Frabill partnered with Smart Design, a strategic design company with a goal to humanize products, services, and experiences through in-depth research, insights, and design strategies.

"Standing out in a competitive market is always a challenge," said Charlie Davis, Director of Brand, Plano and Frabill Fishing. "Partnering with Smart Design offered an outsider perspective that helped us understand what our customers were missing so we could improve our products with them in mind." 

Beshears New Tournament Director for Major League Fishing

Aaron Beshears has accepted the position of Tournament Director for the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and MLF Cup events.

Shortly after joining MLF in 2014 as a volunteer official, Beshears was promoted to Lead Official in 2015. In late 2018 Beshears was one of the league’s first hires as MLF launched the Bass Pro Tour, serving as Manager of Competition Crew Recruiting and Training in its inaugural year.

“Aaron did a fantastic job of recruiting, training, and deploying our battalion of league officials," said Todd Walker, Senior Director of Operations for MLF. “With what seemed like an impossible task due to the shortened timeline, he turned into a huge success on which we will build for years to come, making him the perfect choice for this new role.”

Prior to joining MLF, Beshears retired in 2010 after a 20-year career in law enforcement.

Adams, Gabbard Win G. Loomis Skeleton Cup

The Kentucky team of Asa Adams of Broadhead and Logan Gabbard of Richmond claimed the G. Loomis Skeleton Cup owner's tournament championship on Kentucky's Cumberland Lake with more than 22 pounds of bass.

Competing against 128 teams, Adams and Gabbard $1,000 along with two G. Loomis Conquest CNQ-843C rods valued at $1,300. Gabbard added to his winnings by also weighing in the largest bass, a largemouth that tipped the scales at 5.44 pounds, to also take home an NRX-854C JWR rod valued at $550.

All part of saying "thank you" to G. Loomis rod owners, the annual Skeleton Cup is a no-entry-fee team tournament paying more than $13,000 in cash and G. Loomis tackle. Adams was using a G. Loomis NRX rod, while Gabbard was rigged up with IMX-PRO, both purchased from The Cain Pole in Richmond. One of the 30 tackle shops in Kentucky who supported the tournament, The Cain Pole owner Kent Lewis now gets to display the special traveling ‘Skeleton Cup’ trophy engraved with the winner’s names in his shop until next year’s event.

“Everything about the event was about everything that is good in bass fishing,” said Isaac Payne with G. Loomis. “Bass anglers from around the state having some competitive fun on Lake Cumberland, tackle dealers who are able to thank those anglers for the support they have given them, and the staff at Conley Bottom Resort that couldn’t be accommodating so that everyone involved simply had a great time. I’m already looking forward to next fall for the 2020 tournament.”


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