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Sunday
Feb172013

'Loon'-atic Fringe Pushes for Ban on Lead Jigs in New Hampshire

As environmentalist extremists and their political allies attempt to ban the use of soft plastic baits in Maine, their counterparts in New Hampshire want to ban lead jigs.

They claim that doing so will protect loons from ingesting them and dying of lead poisoning. But no evidence exists that the birds swallow jigs.

“The ban proposed by SB 89 is unjustified,” says Keep America Fishing.

“The impact on loons and other waterfowl is the most often cited reason for bans on lead fishing tackle, yet New Hampshire loon populations are currently increasing throughout the state.

“Waterfowl populations in New Hampshire are subject to more substantial threats such as habitat loss, water acidification and domestic and wild predators. Any lead restrictions need to be based on scientific data that supports the appropriate action for a particular water body or species.”

And Dick Smith, conservation director of the New Hampshire Bass Federation says this:

“In 2006 and then again in 2012 the loon people pushed for legislation to ban your bass fishing jigs. So far we have defeated their efforts, but now here they are back again this year with a very similar legislative bill in SB 89.

“We have to continue to fight for our freedom or risk losing it.

“The New Hampshire Lakes Association, the Audubon Society, and the Loon Preservation Committee all have lobbyists who have been working very hard for many months to try to get state senators to co-sponsor their bill to ban our traditional jigs, which would wipe out our tube lures as well since they have a leadhead jig inside.

“These lobbyists persuaded eight senators to sign on to the bill. That is 33 percent of the entire Senate. So the deck is stacked against us in the Senate. As was the case last year, our best shot to defeat this bill is in the House of Representatives.

“While we do not have lobbyists working for us and we are outnumbered by lakes people, we have the facts and rightness on our side. And we each have a VOICE that we ALL need to make sure our legislators hear. We have to make the effort.”

A public hearing on SB 89 is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Legislative Office Building, Room101, in Concord, N.H.

To learn more go here.

Thursday
Feb142013

Big Bass Plentiful in Florida Waters According to Nosca List

Did you know that two largemouth bass weighing more than the current world record (22 pounds, 4 ounces) might have been caught in Florida years ago?

One of them reportedly weighed 24-12 and was taken in 1974 at Lake Toho, while the other reportedly weighed 23-2 and was captured “circa 1880” in Lake County “near Altoona.”

These are but two of the hefty bass included in Paul Nosca’s All-time Top-25 Biggest Florida Largemouth Bass. The list includes both bass that were certified and/or documented and those that were not. Those two potential record-breakers are among the latter.

To bass of 20 pounds or more are included on the list, with the smallest of the top 25 weighing 17-12.

With Florida just beginning its TrophyCatch program, this list provides a great reminder of the big bass swimming in the waters of the Sunshine State.

Tuesday
Feb122013

Tell Maine That You Oppose Ban on Plastic Baits

Even if you don’t live in Maine, voice your opposition to that state’s proposed bill to ban use of all soft plastic baits. (The bill actually refers to the baits as "rubber worms.")

Here’s what Keep America Fishing says:

“This legislation is now going to a working session of the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

“In order to show just how many anglers across the country are concerned by this bill, we ask that you sign our petition in a show of solidarity. This petition will be presented to the Committee so that they can see that banning soft baits not only affects their own residents and anglers but also anglers nationwide.

“By signing the petition, you are telling the Committee that you ‘do not approve of unfounded bans on soft baits. Arbitrarily banning widely used tackle such as this would have a tremendous impact on everyone from individual anglers to tackle manufacturers to state wildlife management agencies that protect our resources. Further study must be conducted and decisions must be based on sound science.’”

Go here to sign the petition.

Monday
Feb112013

Dance, Houston, Martin Form Legendary Partnership

Bill Dance

More than 40 years ago, Jimmy Houston thought that he had “arrived” when he was given a handful of Mister Twister worms as a reward for his in-the-money finish at a tournament on Sam Rayburn Lake.

Little did he know that his journey had just begun.

Bill Dance and Roland Martin began just as inauspiciously. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, all three entered bass tournaments not because of dreams of stardom but because they loved to fish and they loved to compete.

As they fished, however, each realized that ultimate success in this fledging sport would come not from competing but from marketing themselves and their growing expertise in how to catch North America’s No. 1 gamefish. Following decades of personal appearances, seminars, endorsements, commercials, and producing their own televisions shows, it’s safe to say that no one has done it better than these three legends of the outdoors.

As Babe Ruth was to baseball, Walter Payton was to football, Dale Earnhardt was to NASCAR, so are Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Roland Martin to sport fishing.

And as beneficial as each is for any product that he endorses because of his reputation, imagine the marketing potential of all three combined.

We’re about to see that potential fulfilled with Th3 Legends.

“The  brand is just another way of us working together with recognized credibility and, you know, when all is said and done, credibility is a really valuable possession,” said Dance.

“A man’s name is his most important possession. No amount of money can replace it. Without it, you might as well hang it up; you’re a backlash!

“Jimmy, Roland, and I have over 100 years of established credibility. That says a lot, and I hope the public will recognize that when they consider anything carrying our new Th3 Legends brand.”

This new marketing strategy was proposed to the three during the ICAST show in July. A long-time associate of Martin, Walt Reynolds, and Tom Donlan made the pitch.

“We had been working on the idea for three years,” said Reynolds, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. “The Legends didn’t know about it until we brought them together at ICAST.”

But they were quickly won over and the company officially formed in August. Similar ventures have been introduced over the years, including one in professional football, but none with the star power of Th3 Legends.

“All three of us saw Th3 legends as the opportunity of a lifetime,” Dance said. “The bottom line is that the power of three will surely be a lot stronger than the power of one.”

Businesses, both inside and outside of fishing, quickly saw the potential as well. “We thought that we’d need a year to get this going, but the response has been overwhelming,” said Reynolds, who added that Th3 Legends will focus mostly on nonendemic products.

“We’re going to stay away from things like rods, reels, and lures to avoid sponsor conflicts,” he added.

Already eight licensees have been confirmed, according to Donlan, executive vice-president and co-owner, who predicts a strong launch of products during the latter part of this year.

“You mention all three and it’s really magnified to the power of six,” he said.

Jimmy Houston

“These guys are not just the fishing legends of this country, but of the world. Folks in Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, and other countries are interested in this. This is going to be a global brand.

“These are the finest gentlemen that I know, and they have a combined 100 plus years on television and in this market. The possibilities are endless in all categories.”

Well, almost all. Th3 Legends will not endorse tobacco and alcohol products. “We’ve had offers, but this is a legacy that we want to build on,” Reynolds said. “These guys are mentors and they want to set standards.

“We took a vote and agreed that these products are fine for adults, but not for kids.”

Houston added, “Th3 Legends represents more than just a brand, more than just fishing, and certainly more than just three good old boys who have made a living fishing on television for more than 110 years.

“They have become the face of outdoor television throughout most folks’ lifetimes. They represent integrity in a fun-filled industry, but in a world where honesty and integrity are rare.”

In contrast to alcohol and tobacco, automotive “is going to be huge for us,” Reynolds said. “We already have seven contracts on the table.”

He attributes that to the fishing-country music-NASCAR demographic, which consists of about 150 million people. “Maybe not everyone is a fan of Bill or Jimmy or Roland,” he said. “But millions of people do like each one of them and when you combine those three communities with that demographic, their reach will be huge.”

Plenty of food items also will carry the Th3 Legends brand.

“Cornbread, hush puppies, peanut oil, and fish fry mix are some of our initial products,” Reynolds said. “We’re doing the design for the packaging and the items should be in retailers by mid 2013.”

 General outdoor products, including coolers and chairs also will be branded, as well as toys and a few fishing accessories, including pliers, fish grippers, and line scissors. Altogether, 15 categories of products are in development, according to Donlan.

An exclusive line of apparel likely will be one of the biggest sellers.

“We want more revolutionary in function and fashion, but not over the top,” he added.

“We don’t want to do ‘me too’ items. We want products with more features and better quality, and we want to bring the price down.”

Whatever the item, all three must approve of it before it can be branded. “This will preserve and protect the Legends from conflict,” Reynolds said. “They control their own destiny.”

But Th3 Legends will be about more than selling branded products, he emphasized. For one thing, Dance, Houston, and Martin will use the brand to help raise funds for charities.

Additionally, they will introduce new industries to the untapped potential of sport fishing and, in the process, improve financial opportunities for other anglers.

“We’re going to educate these companies about how they can bring in new revenue by working with fishermen. We want to convince them that this is a market that they can reach, although they might not have thought about it before,” Reynolds said.

“And we want to educate these younger guys about how to make a living in the outdoors. That’s one of the main ways that we want to give back.”

Th3 Legends is “bigger than making money,” Donlan added. “We’re going to use the power of our success to help others. We’re going to make legends for the future.”

 Roland Martin

What Makes a Legend?

Who’s a legend in the world of sport fishing and why?

“There are lots of awesome fishermen out there, but they haven’t qualified as legends,” said Walt Reynolds, a founder of Th3 Legends. “Kevin VanDam is close to legendary in terms of his accomplishments.

“But Roland Martin is a member of five halls of fame. And I could go on and on like that about all three of these guys. Over the past 40 to 45 years, these guys have set the standard for what’s legendary.”

Perhaps what makes Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, and Martin  most notable is their longevity on television, combining more than a century of experience. And all three star in weekly programs carried by the NBC Sports.

Dance began his television career in 1968 on an ABC affiliate in Memphis. “Bill has a special knack for connecting with his viewers,” said Tony Mack, Dance’s producer for 36 years. “It’s hard to explain, but whatever he does, it works. People love it.

“Bill’s never met a stranger, whether it’s at some rural little boat dock or at a big outdoor show in Las Vegas,” he added. “And it’s genuine; he likes people, and people like him. That’s the key to his success.”

Likewise, Houston and Martin have used broadcasting to share their love of angling for decades with millions of dedicated fans. In addition, they have continued to fish competitively, each accumulating more than $1 million in winnings.

The author of five books, Houston competed in 15 Bassmaster Classics and won B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year in 1976 and gain in 1986. For 20 years, his “Jimmy Houston Outdoors” ranked consistently as the No. 1 outdoor program on ESPN. Making more than 120 personal appearances a year, he is considered one of the hardest working pros in bass fishing.

Meanwhile, Martin has won an impressive 19 professional tournaments and accumulated 20 second-place finishes. He attended the Bassmaster Classic 25 times and was B.A.S.S. Angler of the year nine times.

“Roland was one of the earliest to grasp deep-water structure fishing,” remembered Ray Scott, founder of B.A.S.S. “Before depth finders, he mastered the triangulation technique to locate structure and later became an early advocate of sonar technology.

“He was one of the first ‘scientific’ anglers on the B.A.S.S. trail.”

When Martin won the B.A.S.S. Outstanding Achievement Award in 2004, he said, “How can this be? It’s such a perfect life.”

Dance and Houston would tell you much the same thing. As legends of the sport, they’re living the dream.

(This article appeared originally in Fishing Tackle Retailer.)

Thursday
Feb072013

Ban on Plastic Baits Proposed in Maine; Voice Your Opposition Now

To quote Red Forman from “That ‘70s Show”: “Holy Crap!”

Legislation is being proposed in Maine to ban the use of soft plastic baits. And to show you just how uninformed the perpetrators of this idiocy are, they refer to the baits as “rubber.” Never mind that no scientific research indicates that fisheries are harmed by use of the baits.

Keep America Fishing says this:

“On January 17, state Representative Paul Davis introduced H.P. 37/L.D.42, legislation that would prohibit the use of all 'rubber' lures.

“The legislation seeks to ban ‘rubber’ baits but does not define the term.

"Even so, the intent of the legislation is clear – to ban the soft baits that Maine anglers use every day.

“Technically, there are no ‘rubber’ baits on the market as soft baits are made from various substances, none of which are rubber. The bill would even ban biodegradable soft baits currently available. The legislation does nothing to encourage further understanding of this perceived problem or to improve angler education on the use of soft baits.

Please, go directly to Keep America Fishing to send a letter to the Maine Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife opposing this bill.”

Coverage of this issue also is at Bassmaster.com.