Fishing News: Shimano Awards 'Varsity Program' Scholarships; Toyota Extends B.A.S.S. Deal

In the latest fishing industry news, Shimano has awarded its "Varsity Program" scholarships and Toyota has extended its support of Bassmaster tournaments.

Fishing News: Shimano Awards 'Varsity Program' Scholarships; Toyota Extends B.A.S.S. Deal

Here is some of the latest news from the fishing industry:

Paying for college this academic year became a bit easier for 12 winners of the Shimano "Varsity Program" scholarships.

Developed in conjunction with B.A.S.S. Conservation, this key initiative of Shimano’s program to assist high school and college students with their career goals includes six recent high school graduates, a current undergrad and five post-graduate students, all pursuing degrees in various conservation, fisheries and wildlife sciences and management fields.

“The scholarship program is accomplishing what is needed in fisheries management,” said Shimano youth fishing coordinator Frank Hyla. “While our 12 new winners all have great goals they are striving for, past scholarships recipients including Arkansas Tech grad Peter Leonard, working as a fisheries specialist for the Minnesota DNR, and Stephen Stang, a Virginia Tech grad, who is working at the Dauphin Island, Ala. Sea Lab on red snapper management issues, show that the scholarships are being put to good use, benefiting both fresh and saltwater anglers.

Each received $2,000 to be used for tuition, textbooks and living expenses. The recent high school graduate winners include:

— Justin Hall of Lineville, Ala., a graduate of Central High School of Clay County who plans to study Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture at Auburn University;

— Morgan Noffsinger of Interlochen, Mich., a Benzie Central High School graduate attending Michigan State University in hopes of one day working for the Michigan DNR or the National Park Service;

— Wyatt Sipple of Patriot, Ohio, a Gallia Academy High School graduate attending the University of Rio Grande to study wildlife conservation;

— Samuel Smith of Dunlap, Ill. and a graduate of Dunlap High School, who is attending Auburn University studying Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture;

— Jared Sparks of Rogersville, Ark., who is studying Environmental Biology at the University of North Alabama;

— Kyle Svachula of Niles, Ill., a graduate of Notre Dame College Prep with plans to work for a Great Lakes area state or federal fisheries agency after his studies at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point.

Winners already pursuing degrees include:

— Ethan Brandt of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a graduate student studying Fisheries Sciences at the University of Wisconsin/Stevens Point whose thesis focuses on the factors affecting walleye angling recruitment failure;

— Robert Eckelburger of Auburn, Ala., an Auburn University grad student whose thesis work is on determining angler catch rates by remote sensing;

— Clay Ferguson of Huddleston, Va., whose thesis work as a Virginia Tech graduate student is on improving efficiency in fish hatchery operations;

— Derek Kane of Lincoln, Neb., a University of Nebraska grad student whose thesis focuses on modeling fishing pressure to help managers;

— Bandon Plunkett of Russelville, Ark., an Arkansas Tech University fisheries and wildlife grad student whose thesis focuses on smallmouth bass in Arkansas mountain streams;

— Savannah Rampy of Albuquerque, N.M., an undergrad at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas studying wildlife biology.

The Shimano/B.A.S.S. Conservation scholarship partnership encourages and supports high school and college-age anglers to pursue a degree in fishery management, scientific research, and related natural resource professions. The program’s goal is to curtail the critical decline in resource management professionals who fish within state, regional, provincial and federal agencies.

Toyota, B.A.S.S. Extend Deal to 2023

B.A.S.S. and Toyota have renewed their longstanding, 16-year partnership for four more years. An exclusive sponsor of the B.A.S.S.-owned Bassmaster Tournament Trail since 2004, Toyota will continue through 2023 as a Platinum-level, exclusive Automobile/Truck and Mobility partner.

“Toyota is thrilled to continue our exclusive partnership with B.A.S.S. into 2023,” said Matt Ozawa, engagement marketing manager, Toyota Motor North America. “What began as a partnership to help launch the Tundra 16 years ago has evolved to Toyota now serving as the Official Vehicle of B.A.S.S. It’s truly a great fit for Toyota and continues to excite fans across the country.”

The popular Toyota Bonus Bucks program offers cash prizes to eligible anglers who tow their boats with a qualifying Toyota vehicle.

The agreement includes Toyota sponsorship of the 50th Bassmaster Classic, as well as the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors and the grass-roots T.N.T Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation regional and championship tournaments.

Carter, Bush Honored by American Museum of Fly Fishing

The American Museum of Fly Fishing will honor President Jimmy Carter and the late President George H. W. Bush with its 2019 Heritage Award for their contributions to the sport of fly fishing and global conservation.

The event will take place in New York City on Oct. 29.

Carter is a skilled fly fisherman and fly-tier, known for his extensive angling library. He is an admired conservation proponent and was responsible for the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, which protects more than 150 million acres of wild lands and scenic rivers. He and his wife, Rosalynn, have fished throughout the world, and The Carter Presidential Library devoted an exhibit to the sport.

Bush spent many of his fishing hours in Maine and the Florida Keys. His concern for environmental issues is reflected in the revisions to the Clean Air Act in 1990 and the Global Change Research Act of 1990. He established 56 wildlife refuges, restored three million acres of wetlands and protected 17.8 million acres of public lands during his presidency. Bush enjoyed the distinction of having the most national marine sanctuaries (six) designated during any presidential administration. He received the Keep America Fishing award for his key role in passing amendments to the Sportfish Restoration Act.

Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder, will be the guest speaker. Carter’s award will be accepted by long-time fishing friend, Dr. Carlton Hicks. Bush’s award will be accepted by his grandson and angling companion, Jeb Bush Jr.

Anglers for the Bahamas Pushes $4 Million in Support

Momentum is rapidly growing for the Anglers for the Bahamas campaign, with a new personal donation and challenge from noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris now driving expected totals to surpass $4 million.

Morris made a personal pledge of $1 million and challenged Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s customers to turn that into $2 million by matching all in-store customer donations by 25 cents on the dollar. Customers can round up purchases or make an additional donation at registers inside all Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s stores across North America. To help achieve the challenge, Morris is also pledging to donate $100 for every Johnny Morris Signature Series rod or reel purchase.

More than 81,000 anglers donated to Anglers for the Bahamas in the first four days, with 100 percent of the donations directly benefitting Bahamians through Convoy of Hope, a highly regarded 501(C)(3 not-for-profit charity with emergency responders currently plugged in on the front lines throughout the Bahamas. Industry partners including Tyson Foods and Jack Links Beef Jerky have contributed, though Morris stresses individual contributions of any size from the angling community are vital given the scale of the crisis.

Hoyer Wins National Walleye Tour Championship

John Hoyer of Orono, Minn., weighed a three-day total of 67.73 pounds to win the National Walleye Tour Presented by Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops Championship.

The tournament was held Sept. 13 at Devils Lake, N.D. Hoyer won a fully rigged Ranger 621FS Pro package with a 300-horsepower Mercury outboard, $15,000 in prize money and $2,225 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $97,320 in winnings.

Four years ago, Hoyer transitioned from guide and co-angler to professional walleye fisherman. In 2015 he won the Co-angler of the Year award on the National Walleye Tour. In his last three NWT events, Hoyer has finished first, second and first.

On the final day of the championship, Hoyer fished six different spots in East Devils Lake, but one clearly stood apart from the rest. He caught a limit weighing 24.59 pounds to seal the win.

“It was a sand-to-rock transition that went from the bay to the point,” he said. “It was basically a sand runway. The water was 8 to 10 feet, and they were feeding on perch. My fish weighed heavier because they were eating those perch. That made a huge difference.”

Five of Hoyer’s 15 weigh fish came via slip bobbers and leeches under 1/16-ounce jigs. The others came from a mix of Shiver Minnows, Jigging Raps and Johnny Darters.

“The best color was anything perch with an orange belly,” Hoyer said. “I used the No. 2 Shiver Minnow, the No. 7 Jigging Rap and mid-sized Johnny Darters. In the wind yesterday, I would upsize baits.”

With the smaller casting baits, Hoyer would employ a hard snap and then follow them down. With the bigger baits, he’d lift it aggressively and then control the fall.

“I wanted to slow the fall down,” said Hoyer. “When you catch it, it planes out, and that’s when they get it. You’re giving them a chance to really eat it.”

Bayard Claims IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Championship

Brendan Bayard, of Baton Rouge, La., measured a combined, two-day limit of 121.75 inches to win the championship event for the 2019 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour on Sept. 14 at Grand Isle, La.

Bayard won a Hobie Pro Angler 14, valued at $3,649, for his first-place finish.

“I always aspired to win a championship and have been close,” said Bayard, who has five IFA tour wins. “But, this time it finally happened. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Day one of the competition, Bayard boated a 41.25-inch redfish and an impressive 23-inch trout, which eventually was the longest of the tournament and won the angler the $200 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout award.

Going into the final day, Bayard led with 64.25 inches. Taking to the Grand Isle area, he started in search of a trout.

“It was pretty tough for the first 30 minutes,” said Bayard. “It was dead calm with nothing going on. I drifted across some big open water casting and finally caught one trout, and it was the right trout.”

With a 17.50-inch trout boated, Bayard turned his attention to finding a quality redfish.

“I didn’t find any bulls or signs of bulls,” said Bayard. “There wasn’t anything really going on. It was dead calm again. We saw a couple of people hooking up. I saw Ty (Hibbs) working a school. I could tell he was pitching around. Like we all do, you kind of congregate and it’s whoever gets lucky. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

Second-place finisher Justin Rienherth, of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., measured a combined total of 119 inches to take the $1,500 second-place prize.

River City Antique Tackle Show Scheduled in Alabama

Anything and everything fishing related will be on display and up for grabs when the River City Antique Tackle Show returns to Decatur, Ala.

The show is Sept. 27-28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Decatur Riverfront.

The event attracts collectors from across the southeastern United States and beyond who bring thousands of antique fishing items dating back to the mid-1800s to display and sell.

The River City Antique Tackle Show is a chance to meet with collectors and buy a variety of vintage fishing tackle including rods, reels, lures, fish scales, old minnow buckets, and tackle boxes. More than 80 collectors, mainly from Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina, are expected, but the show attracts collectors as far away as Texas, Missouri, Virginia, and Minnesota. Lure identification will be provided and free appraisals will be offered on old lures and fishing tackle.

The show is sanctioned by the National Fishing Lure Collector’s Club (NFLCC) and is open to the public. Admission is $5 per person for non-NFLCC members. Children 12 years and younger are admitted free. Membership applications to join NFLCC will be available at the door. An annual membership fee is $35 per person and includes access to all NFLCC-sanctioned shows, a membership directory, two annual copies of the NFLCC Magazine, quarterly publications of the NFLCC Gazette, and access to a number of other exclusive club services.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 7:30-10 a.m. Saturday.

For more information on the River City Antique Tackle Show, call NFLCC Region 3 representative Fred Vengrouskie at (256) 280-6935.

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