Shimano targets youth through bass tournaments
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Tackle giant Shimano has announced a wide ranging initiative that is aimed at youngsters taking part in bass fishing tournaments – one of the fastest growing collegiate sports in North America.
Announcing the launch of its Youth Fishing Programme, Steve Ferrara, Shimano Fishing Division Vice President, said the scheme aims to educate high school and college-age anglers about the company’s tackle to help them enjoy more fishing success, create lifetime relationships even beyond their time on the water and teach them about the sustainable use of the resource.
“We want them to further appreciate the sport in more ways than just catching big bass,” he said.
Frank Hyla, who has been active on the high school bass fishing scene in Illinois since its inception in 2008, will lead Shimano’s efforts as its Youth Fishing Coordinator. Laying the groundwork for this, Hyla has attended more than 200 tournaments and youth fishing group meetings over the last year to talk about Shimano, its tackle and advocacy efforts.
“Frank and our team have designed the Shimano high school and college angling programme to be much more than having these student anglers use our tackle,” added Ferrara. “Our plans include not only helping them pursue their passion for competitive fishing, but also guide and mentor them as they navigate their way to potential careers in sport fishing, outdoors or natural resource fields.”
Hyla said that Shimano’s efforts will start with the school’s coach or fishing club youth director. “Once recognised, we will start our partnership with these young anglers, providing programme details, information on Shimano, G. Loomis, PowerPro and Jackall tackle and our advocacy efforts,” he said.
“We will reach out to our student partners through a monthly e-newsletter with further information on tackle and techniques, upcoming tournaments and events where we will be involved and other programme updates and opportunities.”
He added that the Shimano Experience Team will attend selected high school and college tournaments, including events organised by B.A.S.S. and the Florida, Georgia and B.A.S.S. Nation groups as well as independently run competitions, like the Lake Fork Open in Texas.
“We are constantly researching key events across the country where we can interact with youth anglers,” explained Hyla. “On the special Shimano Youth Programme website – set to launch in January next year – we will be consistently updating our event schedule, alongside announcing plans for ‘Career Night’ seminars at selected tournaments.”
Fishing advocacy and conservation will also play a major part. “We want them to become stewards of the resource and instil in them proper fish care and selective harvest practices,” said Hyla.