Fishing Industry News: Simms Aligns With Bonefish & Tarpon Trust; Lowrance, MotorGuide Sign Long-Term Deal; Thrift Wins FLW Cup

In the latest fishing industry news, Simms has aligned with the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust to help sponsor its Florida Keys Initiative and Bryan Thrift wins his first FLW Cup championship.

Fishing Industry News: Simms Aligns With Bonefish & Tarpon Trust; Lowrance, MotorGuide Sign Long-Term Deal; Thrift Wins FLW Cup

Simms Fishing Products, a leading manufacturer of fishing gear and apparel, has become a Silver Sponsor of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Florida Keys Initiative, which seeks to protect, restore and conserve the Keys’ flats fishery through research and education.

“Simms aligns with grassroots organizations that really make a difference,” said Casey Sheahan, Simms’ CEO. “BTT’s track record of combining scientific research and angler outreach around critical issues elevates their status as leaders in the environmental world.”

While the Florida Keys remains one of the world’s top destinations for flats fishing, its habitats and fisheries are threatened. The number of flats classified as “severely degraded” due to propeller scarring has increased 90 percent over the past 20 years. Water flowing into Florida Bay from the Florida Everglades has been reduced due to water mismanagement, and much of the water flowing into South Florida and the Keys is compromised by a slew of nutrients and contaminants. These changes, in turn, impact the habitats of the Florida Keys, which then affects the fisheries.

As BTT works to restore the Keys’ habitats and water quality, the organization has taken other steps to improve the future of the fishery: bonefish and tarpon are now catch and release only, and the Keys are managed as a Special Permit Zone with strict regulations to maintain a healthy permit population. BTT is also at work identifying bonefish spawning sites and juvenile nursery habitats for protection, while continuing to research tarpon movements and habitat use through the Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project. The results will help shape future conservation measures, including the protection of critical habitats and improvements to fishing regulations.

“Since its founding in the Florida Keys more than 20 years ago, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has made great strides in achieving conservation outcomes that benefit the Keys’ bonefish, tarpon, and permit fisheries,” said BTT President and CEO Jim McDuffie. “We’ve been fortunate to count Simms Fishing Products among our supporters and we’re thankful for the company’s generous sponsorship of the Florida Keys Initiative, which will ensure the health of the Keys’ fisheries for generations of anglers to come.”

Lowrance, MotorGuide Continue Partnership

Lowrance and MotorGuide have announced their continued partnership after signing a long-term cooperation agreement in July to continue collaboration on sonar compatibility and chartplotter integration between MotorGuide trolling motors and Lowrance sonar and chartplotter technologies.

“We’re excited to continue our long-standing relationship with Lowrance,” said Kevin Read, MotorGuide senior product manager. “Our new Tour and Xi series motors will continue to offer Lowrance sonar and chartplotter integration to help you make the most of your time on the water.”

MotorGuide integrates sonar transducers into its trolling motors that are compatible with Lowrance and other top sonar brands. In addition, MotorGuide trolling motors, with integrated Pinpoint GPS, also offer chartplotter integration for connecting to Lowrance, Simrad and Mercury VesselView displays for advanced motor controls.

“We believe the best way to serve our customer is by giving them options,” said Lucas Steward, Lowrance product line director. “Now they can choose a MotorGuide or Lowrance trolling motor and still benefit from seamless connectivity with Lowrance displays.”

Thrift Wins FLW Cup in Arkansas

North Carolina pro Bryan Thrift won the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton in Arkansas with a three-day total weight of 38 pounds, 7 ounces.

The tournament was held Aug. 9-11 in Hot Springs. Thrift, 40, has won seven FLW Tour events and two FLW Tour Angler of the Year titles. He is one of only five pros to win the Cup and Angler of the Year title.

Thrift clinched the win on the final day after catching a five-bass limit early on a spot where the fish were schooling. He then focused on catching bigger fish to upgrade his weight. But in albout four hours he had not gotten another bite. Heavy pressure, boat traffic and typical tough conditions in summer contributed to the challenge.

Thrift moved to an area in Hot Springs Creek, though, and fished the final three hours. He focused on three specific brushpiles.

Kyle Waters of Florida was second with 33-6 and Dakota Ebare of Louisiana was third with 32-2.

Rinella Keynote Speaker at AFFTA's Trade Show Breakfast

Steven Rinella, noted conservationist, sportsman and host of the popular MeatEater Netflix series, will be the keynote speaker at AFFTA's 2019 International Fly Tackle Dealer Industry Breakfast in Denver.

“The fly fishing industry has long been a champion of protecting our nation’s public lands and natural resources,” said AFFTA president Ben Bulis, “especially when the health of our rich fisheries ecosystems—from blue water depths to high mountain streams — is in jeopardy. Steven is one of the strongest sportsman-conservationist voices out there today. Having him kick off our Denver homecoming is going to put industry enthusiasm over the top.”

In addition to his series, Rinella also hosts The MeatEater Podcast and is the author of six books dealing with wildlife, hunting, fishing, and wild game cooking, including the bestselling MeatEater Fish and Game Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Every Hunter and Angler.

The IFTD Show will be Oct. 16-18 at the Denver Convention Center.

T-H Marine Redesigns Steer Stop Lock System

T-H Marine Supplies has redesigned its Steer Stop outboard hydraulic steering lock, which helps keep boat engines centered to prevent damage during transport.

Steer Stop uses two stabilizer clips that attach to an outboard motor's hydraulic steering rams. This helps prevent the engine from turning right or left when trailering to or from the lake.

“The original Steer Stop paved the way, but it was time to make improvements so it could be even more reliable, more durable, and easier to use,” said Jeff Huntley, T-H Marine President and CEO. “Now boaters will notice several ways the new Steer Stop stands apart from imitation and performs better than any other hydraulic steering lock on the market.”

Steer Stop was introduced in 2012 as the first hydraulic steering lock available for outboard motors. Since then, T-H Marine’s product development team focused on improvements. The resulting product would function similarly to the original version, but it would be more robust, easier to grip and better overall for keeping outboards from wandering when trailering.

Since distribution and sales are in full swing, boaters can expect to see increased availability and information from their choice of retailers, online stores, or directly from T-H Marine at


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