Lund is partnering with the Student Angler Organization and the Student Angler Tournament Trail to grow and protect the future of fishing and bring new anglers to the sport.
The fishing industry is hitting a resurgence with an infusion of young anglers across the continent. Very similar to the recent youth movement in trap shooting, which has seen a rapid growth of high school trap shooting teams, high school fishing teams are springing up left-and-right as high schools have been jumping on board with a newly discovered team sport.
Minnesota is one of a limited number of states to see this flurry of activity, and interest in the sport is one of the key reasons why the SAO started its Student Angling Tournament Trail (SATT).
The state has experienced exponential growth in the number of schools starting fishing teams, and with the growth comes a need for more events and tournaments in which young anglers can participate.
In 2018, there will be five regional tournaments for young anglers, with one Tournament of Champions (TOC) event at the end of the season.
The growth and tournament activity requires a lot of support, which is why Lund is stepping up with additional resources, said Jason Oaks, Lund's marketing director.
"In order to properly support this program and these efforts, we felt we really needed some additional resources, which is why I'm excited to announce the partnership with the SAO and the addition of Jimmy Bell as a resource to help nurture and grow this program for us," Oakes said. "An opportunity to grow our sport and expose thousands of young anglers to fishing doesn't come along very often, and it is why we are so proud to be a part of this journey."
With more than 25 years as a multi-species professional angler, Bell is driven by sharing his life experiences with those around him, Oakes said. He has Angler of the Year and Professional Rookie of the Year titles, along with three tournament wins at the national level.
And, as president of the National Professional Anglers Association, Bell’s passion is helping others succeed as professional anglers and growing the sport, Oakes said.
"Having an opportunity to work with an industry leader like Lund Boats has always been on my bucket list," Bell said. "With Lund's commitment to Student Angling, and my passion for the same, it gives us an opportunity to truly grow the sport we love. Lund has always created the Ultimate Fishing Experience, and now they are committing to the ultimate support of the student anglers. I cannot be more excited to be a part of such a great organization that has the same values and integrity that my family and I continue to live by."
Lund started a concerted effort last year by supporting a few teams and working with the following Minnesota coaches: Jason Bahr from Brainerd, Stephen and Brenda Picht from Grand Rapids, Chris Wedes and Kolt Ringer from Minnetonka, and Timothy Bray from Pequot Lakes.
"Lund's commitment to student angling is second to none. I am very proud to be part of the Lund team that's focused on growing the sport of fishing through high school angling," said Bahr, head coach of the Brainerd Warriors fishing team. "I'm also very pleased with the addition of Jimmy Bell, who has many years of experience in the world of sport fishing, and we can't wait to get started working with Jimmy and Lund on providing even more opportunities for young anglers across the country."
For more information on the Student Angler Organization and its Student Angler Tournament Trail, visit www.studentangler.org.