Large­mouth bass fish­ing event set for Earth Day

USA TODAY US Edition - - SPORTS - USA TO­DAY Sports

A con­test cen­tered on one of Amer­ica’s old­est pas­times with a hook to the Fourth Estate will be held on Earth Day across the USA.

The Reel Time USA Catch and Re­lease Chal­lenge will task an­glers to land as many large­mouth bass as pos­si­ble in a four-hour pe­riod Satur­day.

All catches must be pho­tographed next to a news­pa­per pub­lished on the day of the con­test.

Dig­i­tal images will then be sub­mit­ted. Win­ners will re­ceive prizes in 16 di­vi­sions, rang­ing from chil­dren to se­niors.

The or­ga­nizer of the con­test, Leonard Stro­bel, pres­i­dent of Reel Time USA, touted it as a “fam­ily fun event.”

“My dad got me into fish­ing, and I’m so grate­ful,” said Stro­bel, 48, of Jupiter, Fla.

“I’m hope­ful that this ef­fort will en­cour­age lots of fam­i­lies to get on the wa­ter and go fish­ing on Earth Day.”

Reel Time USA is a for-profit cor­po­ra­tion.

The con­test is free to en­ter; Stro­bel says he is self-fi­nanc­ing the 2017 event, with the goal of grow­ing it in fu­ture years. Stro­bel ini­ti­ated the con­test in 2016 and had par­tic­i­pants from nine states. He says he has en­tries from 29 states so far this year.

Prospec­tive par­tic­i­pants should check lo­cal and state reg­u­la­tions be­fore reg­is­ter­ing. Rules in some states pro­hibit tar­get­ing bass on the date of the con­test.

On most Wis­con­sin wa­ters, for ex­am­ple, bass sea­son is closed un­til May 6. It is il­le­gal to in­ten­tion­ally catch bass un­til then, even if the fish are re­leased.

Fish­ing re­mains a pop­u­lar recre­ational ac­tiv­ity in the USA. Thirty-three mil­lion peo­ple 16 or older par­tic­i­pate in the ac­tiv­ity and spend $48 bil­lion an­nu­ally on equip­ment, li­censes, trips and other fish­ing-re­lated items or events, ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Sport­fish­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

Black bass (which in­cludes large­mouth) are the most sought af­ter fish in the na­tion with 12.7 mil­lion fresh­wa­ter bass an­glers, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice.

Visit Reel­timeusa.com to learn more.

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