National Walleye Tour Deadline Approaches

By Brett Carlson

CHAMBERLAIN, S.D. – The National Walleye Tour, presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, is set to commence the 2021 tournament season, a season filled with both intrigue and optimism. New for 2021 is a no-entry-fee championship in which only the top 40 pros and top 40 co-anglers qualify. Instead of three tournaments and a championship, the 2021 slate features four qualifiers and concludes with the most lucrative event in professional walleye fishing. The venue for the 2021 NWT Championship will be Otter Tail Lake, a smaller, yet diverse walleye fishery in western Minnesota. The season begins with another new and intriguing venue – Lake Francis Case in southern South Dakota.

With the coronavirus pandemic altering initial plans, the 2020 NWT season didn’t commence until July 23. The 2021 season officially kicks off April 29-30 on the Missouri River. While the weather will likely be cooler than last year’s opener, the spring walleye bite is expected to be hot.

“Francis Case is a great place to go to catch a lot of fish,” said Ranger pro Korey Sprengel, the reigning NWT Angler of the Year. “If it’s not too muddy from runoff, we’re going to catch a lot of walleyes.”

“I’ve been there three times around that time frame,” recalled Hardcore pro Jason Przekurat, who last fall became the first angler to win two NWT Championships. “The one thing I know is that we’re going to catch ‘em. It can produce 30 to 50 fish a day. It’s a weird system where you can pitch a jig in 2 feet of water or vertical jig out in 35 feet. Both methods will catch fish during the postspawn.”

Sprengel is thrilled about the new championship format, partially because the smaller championship field opens up new and interesting venues like Otter Tail, but also because it alters one’s approach to each and every regular-season tournament.

“It puts a whole ‘nother spin on your season,” he explained. “Now you have to qualify to get to the end. You can’t always swing for the fences. At some point in your tournament day, you have to scramble and get what you can because those points matter. It’s going to make guys change it up a bit. It adds a whole ‘nother layer of drama to the season.”

Przekurat likes the schedule’s mix of new and old venues. The traditional venues offer nostalgia, but the new ones level the playing field.

“As much as I’m looking forward to getting the season rolling at Chamberlain, I’m also excited for Sturgeon Bay at the end of May. The weights will look good, but it’s going to be super tough to catch five walleyes. You’re not going to catch 20 walleyes that time of year; you’re just not. Mentally, I like those tougher tournaments.”

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s pro Brian Bashore runs The Walleye Guys Guide Service, spending most of the spring on the 102,000-acre Francis Case. Bashore believes the timing for the season-opening event is excellent.

“The fishery is extremely healthy,” he said. “We caught over fish 50 today and had our three-man limit in just over an hour. It’s not always that easy, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see everyone in the field with a five-fish limit. Most of the walleyes are between 15 and 19 inches. In fact, I’ve caught only one fish under 15 inches in three weeks.

“We had an early ice out this year. Right now, they’re milking, and they’ll be spawning soon. By tournament time, they’ll be postspawn – scattering between deep and shallow.”

Bashore said the prominent patterns will include trolling leadcore in 20 to 30 feet and then pitching jigs shallow with either minnows or plastics.

“Shad is the main forage base, so your Flicker Minnows, Shad Raps and Flicker Shads will be popular. Guys will also do some rigging with live bait.”

With rocky shorelines, Bashore explained that the Fort Thompson Dam is a prime spawning location, and then the fish generally migrate south. With higher water and more current, the fish tend to linger near the dam. Right now, Bashore said there’s not much current, so the north end may or may not be a factor.

“As it stands, I think the field will split up pretty evenly between north and south. There’s 107 miles of river to explore, but there’s no place to get fuel except Cedar Shores, which is the tournament takeoff. I honestly don’t see the need to run more than 20 miles; I don’t think you have to make a mega-run.”

“More than likely, it’s going to be a rod-in-hand kind of event, at least for me,” Sprengel predicted. “We could be casting crankbaits, rigging or pitching jigs. I think there will be multiple rods on my deck. I know one of them will have a Berkley Half Head jig with a PowerBait Rib Worm and another will have the Berkley Hit Stick tied on.”

“The key is going to be finding two bigger fish each day,” concluded Przekurat. “I haven’t been there enough to know if the unders and the overs mix in the same places, or if you need separate big-fish spots. I do know that in South Dakota, those overs are everything. If you want to win, you’re going to need two overs a day.”

“This year, I’ve seen more big fish caught than the last several years,” explained Bashore. “The 20 to 22s are pretty common, but you need the 5-pounders, and they’re still hard to come by. The big-fish numbers are better, but they’re not like Mobridge or Oahe. The one-day tournaments are being won with about 17 pounds.”

“With southern South Dakota, it could snow 4 inches the first day of the tournament, and the next day it could be 70 or even 80 degrees,” Sprengel added. “That’s how fast things change there, especially that time of year, so you better be prepared.” Anglers will take off each day at 7 a.m. Central time from Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center at Cedar Shore, located at 1500 Shoreline Dr. in Oacoma. The daily weigh-ins will also take place at the Arrowwood Resort Ramp, beginning at 3 p.m. The full field fishes each day with the winner in each division being determined by the heaviest cumulative weight.

AFTCO TIPS ON BUYING WATERPROOF GEAR

Some of the best fishing days can go down in the rain, which can be very uncomfortable. You have a “waterproof” jacket to help with that. So why are you still wet after fishing in the rain? All clothing has different grades of water resistance. Here is a quick explanation of some common terms and waterproof ratings for AFTCO outerwear.

What Makes Clothing Waterproof?

No fabric used to make comfortable fishing clothing is fully waterproof. Waterproof is a term used in outdoor clothing to describe the next level passed water resistance. Resistance means light rain and splash proof, whereas “waterproof” means it can withstand heavy rain and keep you comfortable. BUT these are not submersible.

Unfortunately, there is no breathable/comfortable fabric that is completely waterproof in the fishing clothing industry YET. If a rain suit says that it is breathable at any rating, then it cannot be 100% waterproof. There is always a chance that the clothing you wear to fish in the rain can “spring a leak” and start letting water in, but being familiar with the types of fabric and terms for waterproof ratings can help when purchasing your next set of rain gear to ensure you get the best set possible.

You may ask yourself “why do I want my suit to be breathable if it makes it not 100% waterproof?”. Well think about those rubber slickers you see on Deadliest Catch. These are 100% waterproof, but they are 0% breathable. So, when it is warm out and you start to sweat, there is nowhere for moisture to go if the suit is not breathable as well. The 100% waterproof ability of these slickers, although extremely useful for their purposes, is also their downfall as fishing rain suits. They don’t end up keeping you dry because your sweat will soak you before the rain does. That is why fishing rain jackets are designed the way they are. How, you may ask?

Many rain jackets and bibs are made of nylon shells, treated with a waterproof coating called Durable Water Repellent or DWR. This helps water bead and then roll off the fabric. That is the first line of defense.

Inside that outer shell, there is at least one other layer. This layer is a waterproof breathable membrane. Lets break down this membrane. The outer side of this membrane is hydrophobic. That means it repels water if any gets in. The inner side is hydrophilic which means it attracts water. What you get is a piece of clothing that repels water droplets from the outside, but allows for air and water vapor from sweat to escape from the inside. Amazing, right?! Most waterproof clothing has at least these two layers and some premium jackets will have 3 layers. The third layer is a protective inner layer to the membrane. Added protection means longevity and durability of the jacket.

All of this does not mean that clothing companies are wrong about calling their clothing waterproof just because they cannot be submerged in water and stay dry. Please do not go into a typhoon hoping to stay dry in your rain jackets. Also, there are different levels of these waterproof jackets. This is usually reflected by the price of the suit. Lets dive into these levels and ratings of waterproof rain suits.

Waterproof Ratings / Breathability Ratings and How We Rate AFTCO Outerwear

Waterproof fishing clothing  Waterproof fishing clothing measures waterproof and breathability in millimeters as a K rating. These ratings refer to how much water pressure the fabric can withstand before water penetrates. For example, a 20K rating means that the fabric, when placed over a 1-inch diameter tube filled with water, can withstand 20,000 mm of pressure before letting the water in.

Breathability is also measured in K ratings. However, this measurement refers to the amount of water that escapes the clothing over a 24-hour period. Therefore, a 10K breathability rating means that 10,000 grams of water vapor will escape in 24 hours.

Why is my jacket not waterproof when its says it is?

Now that you can see where we get these waterproof ratings from, you can also see that rain suits have levels of waterproofing as well. A simple standard is the higher the waterproof rating, the more waterproof it is. So, wearing a 30K jacket in light rain is a little overkill, although not as much of an issue as wearing a 5K rain jacket in a torrential downpour. Wearing a jacket that is not quite rated to handle the weather you are in would be a reason your jacket does not seem as waterproof as you would like it.

Another reason a jacket may not be keeping water out is because the DWR coating has worn off allowing too much water passed the outer shell. A tell tale sign this is what happened is if water is no longer beading on your jacket and it is soaking in immediately. This will then require you to retreat the outerwear with DWR coating which can be found here with our Nikwax Outerwear Care.

Once your jacket has been retreated, it should be beading water droplets again. If you are still getting wet, consider making sure the jacket has a waterproof rating that matches the weather you are dealing with on the water.

AFTCO rain suits start at 10K and go to 30K waterproof rating. At 30K you can ensure that rain or snow, you will stay dry out on the water. In winter, make sure to look at the AFTCO insulated jackets like the Hydronaut, and in the summer reach for the other options. If you are interested in one rain suit, look at the shell style suits, and make sure to layer in cold weather. Learn more about layering in our 8 gear tips for cold weather fishing blog.

NITRO BOATS TO SPONSOR NATIONAL WALLEYE TOUR

Springfield, Mo. – Nitro Boats joins the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s (NWT) as a sponsor for the 2021 season. The partnership comes as the nation’s top walleye anglers prepare for the upcoming season, which is set to begin April 29 on the Missouri River.

“Competitive anglers look to gain any available advantage and Nitro Boats provides the perfect platform for serious anglers,” said NWT Tournament Director Anthony Wright. “The future of competitive fishing is brighter than ever and with the help of dedicated sponsors such as Nitro we will continue to provide one of the best top-level tours in the nation. We would like to welcome Nitro into the NWT family.”

Nitro Boats delivers pro-level performance with proven designs. As part of their partnership with the NWT, Nitro Boats is offering a lucrative contingency program for anglers to boost their winnings at all NWT regular-season events and the championship. Qualified anglers who win or are the highest-finishing Nitro angler placing in the top 10 will receive cash awards.

NWT pro- and co-anglers interested in registering for the Nitro contingency program or learn more details, please visit https://www.nitro.com/tournament-rewards.html.

National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Lucas Oil, Nitro, AFTCO, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sunline, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas and G-Juice.

2021 NWT scheduled events:

April 29-30 – Missouri River (Chamberlain, S.D.)
May 27-28 – Sturgeon Bay (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.)
June 24-25 – Lake Erie (Huron, Ohio)
July 29-30 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)
Championship – September 22-24 – Otter Tail Lake (Otter Tail Lake, Minn.)

MERCURY INTRO’S V12 600-HP VERADO OUTBOARD

FOND DU LAC, Wisc.– Mercury Marine, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), today introduced the new 7.6‑liter V12 600hp Verado® outboard engine. With this launch, Mercury continues to transform the high-horsepower outboard market, providing its most powerful and capable outboard, which includes several industry‑first features for a wide variety of applications.

“With boats continuing to grow bigger and performance expectations continuing to rise, boaters have been asking for a better, more capable high‑horsepower solution to meet their needs. The V12 Verado outboard is Mercury’s answer,” said Chris Drees, Mercury Marine president. “Using our advanced engineering and design capabilities, we completely redefined outboard performance. The V12 Verado outboard delivers boaters unrivaled freedom, luxury and power to pursue their passions on the water. This is a remarkable engine that will change the future of boating.”

Groundbreaking product innovations include the following:

  • The world’s first V12 outboard, the 600hp Verado engine features a naturally aspirated, large‑displacement, quad‑cam powerhead that generates impressive torque to get heavy boats out of the hole and on plane quickly, and to accelerate up to rated speed rapidly.
  • The industry’s first two‑speed automatic transmission for an outboard optimizes engine rpm according to workload, facilitating powerful acceleration and highly efficient performance at cruise.
  • The industry’s first steerable gearcase on an outboard pivots independently underwater while the engine’s powerhead remains in a space‑saving fixed position. This provides more room for multi‑engine configurations and a wider steering angle for agile handling. With help from contra‑rotating propellers, it also has better “bite” in the water for docking and other close‑quarters maneuvering.
  • Several enhanced Mercury technologies work in conjunction to enable the V12 Verado outboard to deliver exceptional fuel economy and range.

“The V12 Verado outboard delivers everything boaters want and more in a high-horsepower outboard. This engine makes boats easy to maneuver near the dock and provides superior handling at all speeds. It’s incredibly fuel efficient, so boaters can go farther and stay out longer. It’s so smooth and quiet that you can have a conversation while the engines are running. It’s durable, reliable and easy to maintain. There’s nothing else like the V12 Verado in the marketplace today,” Drees said.

The development of the V12 Verado outboard is a product of Mercury’s continued commitment to investing in R&D and manufacturing expansion, which includes more than $1.5 billion of investment since 2008.

“We’ve dedicated substantial investments and years of effort toward enhancing our ability to turn highly creative ideas into practical, functional and dependable solutions,” said Tim Reid, Mercury Marine vice president of development and engineering. “That work has positioned us well to anticipate and respond to shifts in the marketplace. We listened carefully to boaters’ needs and wishes, and we created new product capabilities aimed at exceeding their highest expectations.”

The Mercury Marine V12 Verado outboard will be available this spring. For more information, visit mercurymarine.com.

About Mercury Marine

Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Mercury Marine is the world’s leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications. The company empowers boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury’s industry‑leading brand portfolio includes Mercury outboard engines, Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages, Mercury propellers, Mercury inflatable boats, Mercury SmartCraft electronics, Land ‘N’ Sea marine parts distribution and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at www.MercuryMarine.com.

About Brunswick

Headquartered in Mettawa, Ill., Brunswick Corporation’s leading consumer brands include Mercury Marine outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; Mercury global parts and accessories including propellers and SmartCraft electronics; Power Products Integrated Solutions; MotorGuide trolling motors; Attwood, Mastervolt, and Whale marine parts; Land ’N’ Sea, BLA, Payne’s Marine, Kellogg Marine, and Lankhorst Taselaar marine parts distribution; Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Heyday, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Thunder Jet and Uttern boats; Boating Services Network, Freedom Boat Club, Boat Class and NAUTIC-ON. For more information, visit brunswick.com.

DETAILS ON U.S. OPEN NATIONAL BASS FISHING CHAMPIONSHIP

On February 1, Bass Pro Shops announced a new era in fishing with the introduction of the Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships. Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris had a dream to create “the ultimate owner’s appreciation event” while benefitting conservation. The first-of-its-kind tournament invites owners of Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Sun Tracker, Tahoe, and MAKO brand boats to compete in two-person teams. With proceeds benefitting conservation and the future of fishing, the event is being created exclusively for amateurs, including serious weekend tournament anglers, parents, grandparents, and youngsters giving everyday anglers, friends, and families the chance to win big!

The tournaments will benefit local fish habitat with proceeds supporting the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP). One-third of all entry fees will be matched equally with donations from both Bass Pro Shops and Tournament sponsor Toyota.  This amount will be equal to 100 percent of all entry fees – to benefit conservation through our partnerships under NFHP.

The Open Championship events will accommodate a total of up to 4,700 anglers, and each regional qualifying event will be open to up to 250 two-person teams. Regional qualifiers will take place at some of the best bass fishing locations in the country while offering up plenty of fun. Event dates and locations are as follows:

  •  Lake Okeechobee, FL – March 13, 2021
    • Lake Ray Roberts (Dallas), TX – April 17, 2021
    • Lake Mead, NV – April 24, 2021
    • Chesapeake Bay, MD – July 17, 2021
    • Lake St. Clair (Detroit), MI – August 21, 2021
    • Old Hickory Lake (Nashville), TN – September 11, 2021
    • Grand Lake ‘O the Cherokees (Tulsa), OK – October 16, 2021
    • Last Chance Qualifier: Bull Shoals Lake, AR – November 17, 2021
    • Grand Championship finale for those who qualify: Table Rock Lake, MO – November 19, 2021

“We are grateful to be a conservation partner of Bass Pro Shops and are excited for the announcement of the US Open National Bass Fishing Tournament,” said Ed Schriever, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “This is a beautiful example of how partnerships with the angling community support conservation. Great fishing requires great habitat. Aquatic habitat is the field of dreams for anglers; if you build it – the fish will come. This is how anglers pay it forward and help ensure the ability for future generations to share in the passion of fishing and conservation.”

History with NFHP and Bass Pro Shops:

NFHP is a significant conservation effort that can trace its roots back to Table Rock Lake. In 2007, Bass Pro Shops and other organizations established a science-based approach to improving reservoir fish habitat.  This resulted in the formation of the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership being developed in an attempt to enhance reservoir fisheries habitat.

Piloted on Table Rock Lake, the resulting effort established a national model for freshwater reservoir habitat efforts that continues to positively impact fish populations.

The US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships‘ finals will be broadcast live on NBC on November 19, 2021.

About the National Fish Habitat Partnership:
Since 2006, the National Fish Habitat Partnership has supported over 1,000 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships. In 2020, the National Fish Habitat Partnership was recognized by Congress as part of the America’s Conservation Enhancement Act.  For more information, visit http://fishhabitat.org/.

Ryan Roberts
National Fish Habitat Partnership Program Manager

Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
1100 First Street, NE (Suite 825)
Washington, DC 20002

PH: 202-838-3466
Fax: 202-350-9869
www.fishhabitat.org

LUCAS OIL SIGNS AS SPONSOR OF NATIONAL WALLEYE TOUR

Springfield, Mo.  – The National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s continues to add to an impressive list of sponsors. Lucas Oil, a producer of high-quality lubricants and additives, continues its support of the NWT throughout the 2021 season, which is set to kick of April 29 on the Missouri River.

“With the support of our industry partners such as Lucas Oil, competitive walleye on the NWT continues to be a top-tier fishing tour,” said NWT Tournament Director Anthony Wright. “Our anglers fish hard and rely on the best products available. Lucas Oil is the go-to marine products so our anglers can keep their rigs in the bests condition. We thank Lucas Oil for their continued support.”

Lucas Oil is one of the fastest growing producer of additives along with making lubricants for a wide variety of platforms. At the end of each year, the top pro- and co-anglers are bestowed with the NWT Lucas Oil Pro- and Co-Angler of the Year titles and win custom Lucas Oil rings along with paid entry fees for the following NWT season.

National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Nitro, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sunline, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, and G-Juice.

2021 NWT scheduled events:

April 29-30 – Missouri River (Chamberlain, S.D.)
May 27-28 – Sturgeon Bay (Sturgeon Bay, WI)
June 24-25 – Lake Erie (Huron, Ohio)
July 29-30 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)
Championship – September 22-24 – Otter Tail Lake (Otter Tail Lake, Minn.)

T-H MARINE RENEWS SPONSORSHIP OF NATIONAL WALLEYE TOUR PRESENTED BY BASS PRO SHOPS & CABELA’S

Springfield, Mo.  – T-H Marine, a leading manufacturer of boat parts and marine accessories, has re-signed with the National Walleye Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s (NWT) as an official sponsor for the 2021 season. The agreement was finalized as the NWT prepares for the upcoming season, scheduled to kick-off April 29 on the Missouri River.

“T-H Marine products are high-quality, which is what our competitive anglers are looking for when customizing their rigs,” said NWT Tournament Director Anthony Wright. “We are fortunate to have sponsors such as TH-Marine who help drive competitive fishing and allow us to host premier events for some of the best walleye sticks in the nation. We are happy to have them back on our team.”

T-H Marine has been serving the recreational boating industry since 1975. During those 46 years, T-H Marine has been a true innovator and leader in designing and manufacturing the highest quality boat parts and accessories. T-H Marine has grown from a three-person company, manufacturing a few parts, to a 200-plus-employee conglomerate of three companies, manufacturing thousands of different products.

Participating anglers of the TH-Marine Atlas Awards can earn up to $1,180 in cash or $2,800 in store credit. By signing up and paying the annual due of $29.99, anglers will receive a free TH-Marine hat and two decals. Participating anglers that win or are the highest-finishing angler at sanctioned events will win cash or store credit with amounts depending upon what TH-Marine products were used during the tournament. To sign up for the TH-Marine Atlas Awards and learn more information on payouts, please visit https://thmarinesupplies.com/pages/atlas-awards-info.

National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sunline, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas and G-Juice.

2021 NWT scheduled events:

April 29-30 – Missouri River (Chamberlain, S.D.)
May 27-28 – Sturgeon Bay (Sturgeon Bay
June 24-25 – Lake Erie (Huron, Ohio)
July 29-30 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)
Championship – September 22-24 – Otter Tail Lake (Otter Tail Lake, Minn.)

$4.3 MILLION PAYOUT ANNOUNCED IN JOHNNY MORRIS BPS U.S. OPEN

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bass Pro Shops today announced a new era in the sport of fishing with the introduction of the Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships.

Noted conservationist and Bass ProShops founder Johnny Morris had a dream to create “the ultimate owner’s appreciation event” while benefitting conservation. The first-of-its-kind tournament invites owners of Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Sun Tracker, Tahoe and MAKO brand boats to compete in two-person teams. With proceeds benefiting conservation and the future of fishing, the event is being created exclusively for amateurs including serious weekend tournament anglers, parents, grandparents, and youngsters, giving everyday anglers, friends, and families the chance to win big!

  • The prize totals are staggering: Competitors will be rewarded with a total guaranteed purse value of $4.3 millionThe national championship team wins a $1 million cash prize – the largest cash payout of any single freshwater fishing tournament in history. Conservation wins too, with a minimum of $1 million going to improve fish habitat.
  • Build your own team with a fishing buddy or family member: Registration is open exclusively for amateur anglers, creating a thrilling opportunity for families and friends from all walks of life to compete together on the water. To help grow the sport, regional and international qualifier events will feature division payouts for youth, family teams, all-female teams, veterans, and more. Additional prizes will be offered for the biggest bass and other categories that add to the collective excitement. Johnny is awarding one lucky junior angler (ages 11 – 18) a $250,000 scholarship toward a conservation-related area of study. Events will offer fun for the whole family with activities and entertainment.
  • Rewarding customer loyalty and supporting conservation: As a thank you to loyal customers, the event is open to owners of the world’s foremost boat brands – Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Sun Tracker, Tahoe and MAKO brands. For over 50 years, these celebrated brands have come to represent the #1 bestselling boats in North America. Along the way, they made first-time boat ownership more affordable for thousands of families.

Anglers to Help Raise Over $1 Million for Conservation and the Future of Fishing

The tournaments will benefit local fish habitat with proceeds supporting The National Fish Habitat Initiative. One-third of all entry fees will directly support the project. Bass Pro Shops will match each donation as will Toyota, a longstanding conservation partner, enabling an amount equal to 100 percent of all entry fees – over $1 million – to benefit conservation.

Learn all the details at https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/usopen

ABU GARCIA SEEKS TOP 100 FRESHWATER FISHERIES IN U.S.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Think your honeyhole is the best fishing spot in the country? Here’s your chance to say so.

Abu Garcia, in conjunction with its 100th anniversary, is looking to identify the 100 best freshwater fisheries in the United States. To complete the list, the legendary fishing-equipment maker is asking a panel of experts and fishing fans across the United States to help. The goal is to honor those fisheries that have elevated the sport of fishing over the past century while helping anglers identify the must-fish places for the next century.

“What makes lists like this fun comes from the debate they inspire, especially when you look at the diverse species that anglers pursue,” said Abu Garcia Senior Vice President of Marketing Jon Schlosser. “There are so many factors that separate good fisheries from great ones. Tournaments are a small part of what makes a fishery great, but for most anglers a great fishery is defined by how many fish were caught, how big they were, or the experiences and memories that were made there. We know there are some hidden gems out there which is why we’ve empaneled some experts and are asking our fans to contribute to the conversation to see which fisheries have the most to offer as we kick off the next century of Abu Garcia.”

Abu Garcia fans can weigh in on the Top-100 list by going to www.abugarcia.com and nominating their favorite fishery. The list will be unveiled in late February with special events and promotions centered around the list results throughout the company’s anniversary year.

MEET THE PANEL

Ken Duke

Ken Duke is the managing editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer magazine, North America’s fishing trade publication; a former senior editor of B.A.S.S. Publications and a former publications editor of Game & Fish Magazine. He is the author of two books on bass fishing, and his work has appeared in more than 50 national and regional outdoor magazines and websites. When he is not writing about fishing, he is usually fishing.

Mike Iaconelli

Mike Iaconelli is a fan-favorite professional angler of more than 20 years. Iaconelli competes on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and is the only angler to ever win the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year, and the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship. In addition to competing at the top level of professional bass fishing, Mike is driven to grow the sport of fishing with his own entertainment, education, and charitable organizations.

Dr. Keith Jones

Keith Jones earned his Ph.D. in Biology from Texas A&M University. Specializing in the sensory biology and behavior of fishes, Jones devoted his professional career to studying how fish use their senses to feed. In 1985, he joined Berkley & Co. (which would later become Pure Fishing) as Director of Fish Research, later serving as the Vice President of Product Development until his retirement in 2017. His book, “Knowing Bass: The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish,” is still considered the subject’s definitive work.

Ashley Nichole Lewis

Ashley Nichole Lewis, known as Bad Ash, is the owner of a salmon/steelhead guide service on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state. A member of the Quinault Indian Nation, Ashley began guiding on the Queets and Quinault Rivers during college. She is also the host of a new digital series, “Breakout with Bad Ash,” where she strives to encourage others to interact with their environment in new and positive ways through fishing.

Liz Ogilvie

Liz Ogilvie is the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), where she oversees a variety of projects including government relations advocacy, conservation and education grant distribution, as well as the recreational fishing industry’s involvement in R3. Prior to joining ASA, she worked for the World Fishing Network as Senior Director for Partnership Marketing and served as Corporate Marketing Manager for Trout Unlimited and fly-fishing instructor for L.L. Bean.

Jason Schratwieser

Elected President January 2020, Jason Schratwieser joined IGFA as its Conservation Director in 2003, becoming the record-keeping organization’s president in 2020, and has been working in fisheries management and conservation since 2000. During his tenure at IGFA, he’s been instrumental in the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 and a subsequent amendment that was passed in 2018. He also co-directs the IGFA Great Marlin Race with partners at Stanford University.

Malcolm Stewart

In Supercross racing, the Stewart family name carries plenty of weight and Malcolm Stewart is regarded as an exceptional racing talent and a fan favorite at every race. Supercross stardom was not always in the cards for Malcolm though: from a young age, Malcolm’s heart was really captured by fishing—to this day he’d rather be on the water with a rod and reel in his hands than anywhere else.

For more information about Abu Garcia’s 100th anniversary and to see its lineup of industry-leading fishing equipment, go to www.abugarcia.com.

About Pure Fishing

Pure Fishing, Inc. is a leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio of brands that includes Abu Garcia®, All Star®, Berkley®, Fenwick®, Fin-Nor®, Greys®, Hardy®, Hodgman®, Johnson®, JRC®, Mitchell®, Penn®, Pflueger®, Sebile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, Ugly Stik®, and Van Staal®.

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Media Contacts

Josh Ward: (405) 802-7045 or joshw@gunpowderinc.com

Emily Kantner: (717) 679-5239 or emilyk@gunpowderinc.com

NWT logo

National Walleye Tour Presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Announces 2021 Schedule

NWT adds a fourth regular-season event

Springfield, Mo. (December 17, 2020) – The National Walleye Tour Presented by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s (NWT) announces the tournament schedule for 2021, which includes four regular-season events and a championship, all nationally televised and taking place on some of the country’s premier walleye fisheries at peak times.  

The regular season kicks off April 29-30, 2021, on the Missouri River at Chamberlain, South Dakota. The Missouri River holds great numbers of fish and is known for producing monsters. The NWT will move on to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on May 27-28 before heading to the familiar waters of Lake Erie at Huron, Ohio, on June 24-25.

The regular-season wraps on Lake Oahe at Mobridge, South Dakota, July 29-30. The NWT last visited the lake for the 2016 NWT Championship. Otter Tail Lake will host the championship event on September 15-17. This marks the first time the NWT has visited the lake, an iconic walleye lake with varying topographies that will surely test the best NWT anglers.

The three-day championship will also serve to crown the NWT Pro- and Co-Anglers of the Year, giving the winners custom ring and paid entry fees for the 2022 NWT season.

“Last season was full of challenges, but our fantastic staff and anglers came together to keep everyone safe and we were able to finish the season,” said NWT Tournament Director Anthony Wright. “Next season we will visit some classic walleye fisheries along with a stop at a new venue. It is shaping up to be one of our best seasons ever. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again in April.”

The NWT has implemented new changes for the 2021 season. Pro- and co-anglers will not be guaranteed entry this season, but rather will gain entry based on time and date of signing up and paying. Those who sign up and pay for all four events at once will gain entry over those who pay incrementally. The deadline to sign up and pay for all entry fees is April 12, 2021.

Entry fees for pro-anglers will be $1,750 per regular-season event, while co-angler fees will be $500 each. Also new for 2021, only the top 40 pro- and co-anglers will advance to the championship. The NWT Championship requires no entry fees for Pro Anglers and will pay $30,000 and a Ranger 620FS Pro, valued at a total of $106,000, to the first-place pro-angler. The first-place co-angler at the championship will win $6,000 and a Ranger 1882 Aluminum boat for a total value of $45,000.

Registration for the 2021 season opens on January 11 at 8 a.m.


For more details, anglers are encouraged to call 612-424-0708 or check out the website at www.nationalwalleyetour.com. From here, site visitors can learn more about the NWT, view the TV schedule and learn more about what’s in store for 2021 season.

National Walleye Tour events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Ranger Boats, Mercury, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Sunline, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, Atlas, G-Juice, Powertex Group.  

2021 NWT scheduled events:

April 29-30 – Missouri River (Chamberlain, S.D.)
May 27-28 – Sturgeon Bay (Sturgeon Bay
June 24-25 – Lake Erie (Huron, Ohio)

July 29-30 – Lake Oahe (Mobridge, S.D.)
Championship – September 15-17 – Otter Tail Lake (Otter Tail Lake, Minn.)

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