USA TODAY US Edition
Largemouth bass fishing event set for Earth Day
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.