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Entries in Shimano (22)


Sued by a Fish? 

The good news is that Tommy the chimp is not judged to be a person and thus not entitled to legal rights afforded people, according to a recent New York appeals court ruling.

"Needless to say, unlike human beings, chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their action," Presiding Justice Karen Peters wrote in the seven-page decision.

"In our view, it is this incapability to bear any legal responsibilities and societal duties that renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights — such as the fundamental right to liberty protected by the writ of habeas corpus — that have been afforded to human beings."

But that’s not about to stop the zealots who want to stop all uses of animals for any reason and want to bestow upon them the same rights that you and I have. Trust me.

Up in Canada, they’re pushing for --- and I’m not making up this --- an “Animal Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” It asserts that “animals have the right to have their interests represented in court” and “are persons under the law.”

And it says that they should have these rights: 

  • The right to be free from pain, injury, or disease.
  • The right to be free from abuse and neglect.
  • The right to be free from fear and emotional and psychological distress.

Think about that for a moment.

If you have no experience with nature and/or are totally ignorant of the way the world works in terms of sustaining human life through agriculture and development of drugs and medical procedures, you might think “Isn’t that nice? Isn’t that kind? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for us to live in harmony with Bambi?”

Okay . . . are you the one who’s going to tell hawks that they can’t eat squirrels and lions that they can’t eat gazelles? (Check out this great video about a "vegan fox.")

Are you willing to forgo ever again going into wilderness because it might stress out the wildlife there? Do you want to be sued for eating a hamburger or swatting a mosquito? How would you like to be dragged into court by an attorney representing a fish?

That’s the kind of world that these delusional people want to create.

“We fought and defeated federal legislation during a 10-year battle that was introduced in 1990 by the Liberal government that tried to entrench these principles in the federal criminal code,” says my friend Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano Canada Ltd. / Shimano American Corp.

“Old is new again.”

In other words, those who believe this way won’t stop trying to impose their ideology on the rest of us. And as more people become more urbanized and removed from the realities of how nature works, it’s only going to get worse.



Environmentalists Want Anglers to Pay for Management of No-Fishing Areas

First, environmental groups and their allies in California state government ignored science, chose to follow a United Nations model, and closed off vast areas for sport fishing through establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Now they want to steal money from anglers and boaters to manage those areas.

“Of course, the enviro groups are all over this (Marine Protected Areas Partnership Plan draft) in glowing terms about how great it is, how progressive the permanent closures are, etc.,” said Phil Morlock, Director of Environmental Affairs for Shimano.

In responding to a state request for public input, Morlock concluded with this:

“What cannot be argued is the fact that permanent MPA access closures to vast areas of prime fishing habitat have deprived anglers of access to public waters and to a public resource – fish.

“MPAs as established in coastal California are clearly not fishery management tools.

“We concur with others in the recreational angling community who maintain that anglers should not be expected or required to contribute any license, trust fund or vessel fee revenue to fund MPA management, law enforcement or any associated program in consideration of the negative impact MPA’s have caused by reducing recreational fishing opportunities.

“Those who supported these unnecessary MPA closures should be required to continue to also support their ongoing fiscal requirements.”

And here’s something that should be of concern to anglers everywhere:

The same anti-fishing zealots who closed off California waters are pushing for similar programs elsewhere, including the Great Lakes. The California MPA plan was adopted as one-size-fits all, ostensibly to “protect” habitat, even though no documented threat exists.

“It was essentially a ‘solution’ to a manufactured crisis that bypassed hard science, independent peer review, and inappropriately conjoined recreational fishing with commercial fishing impacts under the buzzword ‘overfishing,’ in the attempt to justify these closures,” Morlock said.

“From all appearances, the United Nations can’t manage a two-car parking lot effectively. Rather than encouraging them to elevate their policy to adopt the unparalleled success of the American Model of science-based fishery management and sustainable use doctrine, we continue to apply the lowest common denominator in a rush to reverse over a century of proven success.” 


Connecticut, Georgia, New Mexico Win BASS/Shimano Grants

The Georgia B.A.S.S. Nation was one of the recipients of the Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative Grant. The project that earned the award involves high school and college students growing aquatic vegetation and transplanting it in West Point Reservoir, adding cover and habitat for bass. Photo by Tony Beck/Bassmaster

Three B.A.S.S. Nation chapters are the 2014 recipients of grants offered through the new Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative. New Mexico, Georgia. and Connecticut are the states receiving funds.

The grant program is designed to focus on involving young B.A.S.S. members in projects to conserve and restore fisheries habitat and aquatic resources. The initiative was introduced at the 2014 Bass Fishing Hall of Fame induction dinner, held in conjunction with the B.A.S.S. Conservation Summit and the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro.

“The proposals from New Mexico, Georgia and Connecticut were outstanding,” said Phil Morlock, director of environmental affairs for Shimano. “They have the right level of youth involvement, partnerships and impact that follow the goals of the initiative. All of us at Shimano look forward to watching the progress on these projects.”

New Mexico’s grant is earmarked for the Adopt-a-Cove habitat enhancement project on Elephant Butte Reservoir. It will involve the Albuquerque Hawg Hunters adult club, along with members of both the New Mexico State University Bass Team and the Mesilla Valley High School Bass Anglers. The plan is to restore shoreline vegetation, plant native aquatic vegetation and install a variety of artificial structures to encourage sport and forage fish spawning.

Georgia’s grant goes to a native aquatic plant introduction project on West Point Reservoir. The Lake Oconee Bassmasters will mentor student anglers from Alexander and Chapel Hill high schools, as well as from the University of West Georgia. Students will help with propagation of plants at an aquatic nursery and transplant cuttings into the reservoir to establish stands of vegetation. This project will provide the needed cover and nursery habitat for juvenile bass and forage fishes.

Connecticut B.A.S.S. Nation members from the Bass Lightning club will partner with youth from Berlin, Ellington, Fairfield, Nonewaug and Suffield high schools to install artificial habitat structures in several community fishing ponds. The group plans to produce and distribute a how-to video that will serve as a guide for other communities wishing to improve the habitat and productivity of their local fishing ponds.

“This is only the beginning,” said Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. conservation director. “Shimano has a solid commitment to youth and conservation, and we want to encourage B.A.S.S. Nation chapters to begin crafting ideas for 2015 proposals.”

Gilliland said a Request for Proposals will be announced later this fall. The following criteria are used in judging projects:

  • The project should make a significant contribution to the establishment, maintenance, restoration or protection of fish habitat.
  • The project must directly involve B.A.S.S. youth members (Junior Bassmasters, High School or College) in such a way as to teach by example the importance of resource stewardship and the leadership role that anglers play as conservationists.
  • The project must have the endorsement of the local, state or provincial fisheries management agency.
  • The project must be an important action to ensure long-term sustainability of habitat or ecosystem functions and should have an evaluation component to determine success.
  • Where possible, the project should be linked to existing landscape-level conservation or stewardship efforts or other habitat enhancement projects.
  • Working with partners is strongly encouraged. Obtaining significant matching funds and/or donations of materials and/or in-kind services will increase chances of receiving an award.

For more information on the Shimano/B.A.S.S. Youth Conservation Initiative and other B.A.S.S. Conservation programs and activities, go to B.A.S.S. Conservation, or email Gilliland at


Lake Kingsley Leads Way for Trophy Bass in Florida

Len Andrews with TrophyCatch bass caught at Lake Kingsley.

North Florida’s Lake Kingsley is yielding an abundance of big bass this spring. Unfortunately, most of us can’t fish it. On the east, access is limited to military personnel from Camp Blanding and, on the west, with permission of private homeowners.

Still, it’s indicative of what many of the Sunshine State’s public waters are capable of producing, especially during the pre-spawn and spawn. And with the introduction of Florida’s TrophyCatch program a couple of years ago, we’re now getting a better idea of that what they are producing.

 The latest news from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is that Len Andrews caught and released a dozen largemouth bass that weighed 10 pounds or more during a two-week period at Lake Kingsley. Previously, FWC reported that Joseph Morrell caught three double-digit fish in early March. Morrell’s largest weighed 14-9 and Andrews’ 13-12.

Here’s more from FWC about 74-year-old Andrews and his big bass:

Andrews discovered north Florida’s Lake Kingsley 17 years ago and now routinely visits for three months every year, generally fishing seven days a week. His very first cast with a Zoom 6-inch lizard on a Shimano baitcasting reel and G. Loomis rod yielded a 14-pound, 8-ounce Florida largemouth back in 1999. He has been hooked ever since, and always uses the same lure while sight-fishing for bass in the shallows.

Andrews grew up fishing with friends, and in the 1960s and ’70s he tried his hand tournament fishing, but said he “nearly starved,” even after adding guiding on Rodman Reservoir to his repertoire. Ultimately, he relied on being a union carpenter and supervisor until he retired.

TrophyCatch is an incentive-based conservation program that rewards anglers for legally catching, documenting and releasing trophy largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds in Florida. The second season of this very successful effort to gather information on elusive trophy bass while encouraging anglers to release them began Oct. 1, 2013, and ends Sep. 30 this year. The program itself is ongoing, but having seasons allows the FWC to award a championship ring annually, which is donated by the American Outdoors Fund, and to draw for the Phoenix bass boat, which is powered by a Mercury outboard and equipped with a Power-Pole. Simply registering at makes you eligible for the random boat drawing.

Andrews’ 13-pounder, which he caught on March 11, was verified on a certified scale by FWC biologists Allen Martin and Steven Hooley as the fourth Hall of Fame entry this season. Van Soles recorded the first, a 13-pound, 2-ounce tournament-caught bass from Lake Kissimmee. Joseph Morrell followed earlier this month with two catches a week apart, weighing, 13 pounds, 12 ounces and then our current leader – a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass. Both of Morrell’s catches were also caught and released on Lake Kingsley.

Hall of Fame entries receive a free fiberglass replica mount ($500 value) from New Wave Taxidermy; $200 worth of gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Dick's Sporting Goods and/or Rapala; a Bass King duffle bag with customized hoodie, shirt and hat; and a Glen Lau DVD. In addition, their names are entered into the Florida Bass Hall of Fame at the Florida Bass Conservation Center .

The other two clubs that are part of TrophyCatch are the Lunker Club for bass between 8 and 9.9 pounds, and Trophy Club for bass between 10 and 12.9 pounds. Verified Lunker Club entries receive $100 in gift cards from our partners and a club T-shirt. Trophy Club entries earn $150 in gift cards and a long-sleeve club shirt. All three groups also get a club decal and customized certificate.

To enroll in any of the three clubs and support conservation, anglers should register at, where they will also log in to submit their catches. A verified catch must be properly documented by one of the following means:

  • Photo of entire fish on the scale with the weight showing (if not perfect, be sure to supplement with a closeup showing the scale and at least part of the fish, a shot of entire fish on a tape-measure, and maybe a girth photo);
  • Link to a tournament website with official results, or to a publication that includes your name and verified weight of the individual fish;
  • A copy of an official printed tournament weigh slip, with tournament information that includes your name and the verified weight of the individual fish, or;
  • Provide the name and contact information for an FWC official who saw the actual fish being weighed and can verify the entry (e.g., creel clerks, conservation officers, event volunteers).

Other anglers can view the gallery and map on the TrophyCatch website to see where all the great catches are being made, and follow us at


Shimano Key Player in Fisheries Conservation

Just about anyone who fishes knows about Shimano rods and reels. It is one of the industry leaders in innovation for both.

Not nearly so many are familiar with the company’s long-standing devotion to fisheries conservation. But more are learning as Shimano steps into its new role as a supporting sponsor of Bassmaster tournaments and its name appears on live-release boats.

Traditionally, though, the company has worked quietly in the background. But Noreen Clough, recently retired B.A.S.S. Conservation Director, knows about that little publicized history.

“Shimano continues to be a key player in fisheries conservation,” she said. “It continues to sponsor scientific research and identify techniques to improve catch-and-release fishing. B.A.S.S. is fortunate to have Shimano and Phil Morlock as partners.”

Morlock is one of the primary reasons that Shimano is a “key player.” As the long-time director of environmental affairs for Shimano, he knows as much about angler and conservation issues in North America as anyone. And in political circles, he is one of the most outspoken defenders of public access and our right to fish.

Shimano's Phil Morlock

“As threats multiply, from animal rights groups and others, we’re forced to pay more attention,” he said. “Whether by design and intent or by other less nefarious means, I believe the very basis of science-based fish and wildlife management, conservation, and sustainable use is being threatened as never before.”

With animal rights groups, a persistent theme is that fish feel pain, an argument that Morlock loves to debunk.

“If fish did (feel pain), they would be unable to eat many of the spiny/prickly creatures like crawfish and other fish (because of dorsal spines) that they survive on,” he said. “That’s a rather obvious point to those of us who fish or who have a background in science.

“But for those who do not, the media does a poor job of filling in the rather glaring gaps in information deficiency often inherent in animal rights campaigns.”

Some of those who want to push us off the water, meanwhile,  don’t like opposition by Morlock and Shimano, especially in opposing the Marine Life Protection Act, which has needlessly closed many of California’s coastal waters to recreational fishing. In a petulant snit, they initiated a “Shame on Shimano” campaign, accusing the company of lies and caring more about making money than protecting the oceans.

“It’s too bad that Shimano is the only fishing company that has seriously stepped up to the plate to fight some of the threats to angling,” Chris Horton said at the time. Now Midwestern States Director for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Horton is a former National Conservation Director for B.A.S.S.

“This is how they are rewarded,” he continued. “It makes an easy target for the enviros. If more companies would do what Shimano has done, they’d have a lot harder time beating the good guys.”

Doug Olander of Sport Fishing Magazine added, “This is an attack not only on Shimano, but on all businesses that make and sell tackle, and in fact on all men, women, and children in this country who enjoy the chance to spend time on the water hoping to catch a few fish.

“That's why what at first glance seems just plain goofy is no laughing matter.”

Morlock doesn’t think that any threat should be disqualified because it’s “goofy.” That’s why he monitors them all, as one of sport fishing’s most devoted advocates, and looks for the reality behind the curtain. A perfect example, he says, is the anti-lead campaign.

“If you can’t shut down fishing and hunting with one approach, try another, like ‘toxic substances harming wildlife,’ and soft peddle it,” he explains. “Same endpoint by a different means.”

And as Morlock and Shimano defend recreational fishing, they also are working with B.A.S.S. and other partners to make it better.

“There are a series of layers to our involvement with B.A.S.S.,” he said. “And conservation is a cornerstone.

“Right now, you see the live-release boats. But this is going to evolve into other conservation initiatives.”

Some of the possibilities include habitat improvement, fish care, and youth programs, Morlock said, adding that such work likely will involve partnering with B.A.S.S. Nation states and clubs.

“Because of what we do (in conservation), we’re unique in the fishing business,” the director added. “And the history of where we’ve come from is directly related to where we’re going.”

That history includes both fresh and saltwater habitat work, creation of the first live-release boats nearly 30 years ago, and, more recently, development of a water weigh-in system for tournaments.

“We took apart every step of the tournament, from the time a fish is caught until it is released,” Morlock explained. “And that led to development of this system, which is faster than weighing fish out of water and less harmful.”

Without innovations such as the live-release boats and the weigh-in system, tournament fishing would be in big trouble, he said. “We could see a real vulnerability for any event. The anti-use folks will attack anybody. It doesn’t matter what size the tournament.”

The director of environmental affairs added that many improvements have been made since Shimano launched the first live-release boat in the mid 1980s. “Too many fish in warm water with low dissolved oxygen can lead to mortalities,” he said. “We’ve seen lots of changes in ways to reduce that, and B.A.S.S. has done a good job of staying current.”

Morlock pointed out that “virtually all big tournaments use live-release boats now.”

Shimano owned three live-release boats for awhile.  And it sent them, along with crews, all over the country. “Demand was so great that we couldn’t stay current,” Morlock says. “So we donated the boats to different tournament organizations. Today, a lot of organizations have boats based on our designs.”

In those early years, the company also played a critical role in a massive restoration project at Lake Havasu, where shoreline access for such work was minimal. The Bureau of Land Management and its partners constructed the habitat, and then a Shimano boat placed it. Together, they brought the fishery back.

(This article appeared originally in Fishing Tackle Retailer Magazine.)