April NewsWaves

Table of Contents

Announcing “60 in 60”

Announcing 60 in 60

It’s no secret that our industry is currently facing an incredible challenge. Current participation trends show younger, more diverse audiences reluctant to take up fishing and boating, all while older while males are aging out of the sport. We should all be aware of the impact that decreased fishing and boating participation would have on our nation’s economy, conservation efforts and the fishing and boating industry, and know that our community must take action immediately.

To address this challenge head-on, RBFF is embarking on a grand effort: 60 million anglers in 60 months. This initiative, coined “60 in 60” by RBFF, provides an aspirational goal that should work to inspire others in the industry to do their part to help realize this goal.

With the start of its new fiscal year on April 1, 2016, RBFF has begun work on a plan to achieve 60 in 60 wherein we will act as a catalyst for change. Much of this will start with the current effort to define, develop and lead the community in implementing standardized Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation (R3) efforts. To be better-equipped to handle this initiative, RBFF has reorganized its staff. Stephanie Hussey is now the State R3 Program Director and will work along with RBFF’s state partners as an incubator for innovative ideas. Rachel Piacenza has been promoted to Marketing Director, and will work with RBFF’s state and industry partners to implement new programs in accordance with the forthcoming R3 Guidelines.

To help start the journey to 60 million anglers, RBFF’s Take Me FishingTM campaign is encouraging new and experienced anglers alike to share their #FirstCatch in its advertising, public relations and social media. Vamos A PescarTM has partnered with 2015 American League Rookie of the Year, Carlos Correa, who will encourage Hispanic families to get out on the water and make memories.

RBFF is committed to this goal, but will need full support from state and industry stakeholders in order to reach the 60 million angler mark by the finish line of March 31, 2021. Please stay tuned for our specific, actionable recommendations that will come as part of this plan. With your assistance, the 60 million angler mark will be reachable.

President George H.W. Bush Helps Announce Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund Grantees

President George H.W. Bush Helps Announce Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund Grantees

RBFF, along with President George H.W. Bush, Bass Pro Shops and representatives of the states of Texas and Florida, announced the George H.W. Bush Vamos a Pescar™ Education Fund’s first grantees. A total of $50,000 in grants were awarded to organizations bringing conservation, education and fishing and boating experiences to Hispanic families during a ceremony at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on April 14, 2016 in College Station, TX.

Founded by RBFF in 2014, with an initial $125,000 donation by Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris, the mission of the Education Fund is to bring hands-on fishing and boating experiences, along with conservation activities, to Hispanic families across the United States. This event announces the first grants made in furtherance of this mission.

"I am hard-pressed to think of an outdoor activity that teaches you more about the beauty of nature and the joy of family and friends than does fishing," said President Bush. "And so I am very pleased to salute my dear friend Johnny Morris and all involved in running this wonderful program for their selfless and inclusive commitment to sharing the wonders of fishing with an ever-broadening audience of American families."

Hispanics currently make up 17 percent of the U.S. population (54 million), and are projected to grow to 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2020. Out of 46 million total anglers, 3.3 million are Hispanic, representing only 7 percent of all anglers in the U.S.

"We are honored to be a part of this historic fund to engage Hispanic Americans in recreational fishing and boating," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "The fund will work to increase awareness and participation in fishing and boating among our nation's fastest growing population through grassroots programs, classes and on-the-water activities."

To celebrate the announcement, local families and members of the community participated in fishing activities and a fun-filled fish fry at the April 14 event. In addition, Johnny Morris, Bill Dance and Pedro Sors presented President Bush with a Bass Fishing Hall of Fame jacket and plaque in recognition of his recent induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. The President was also honored with a giant fishing lure from Rapala and a custom set of Benchmade knives from RBFF Board Chairman, Ken Hammond, both complete with the Presidential Seal. So far, the event has earned nearly 500,000 media impressions, not only bring awareness to the Fund, but also to the need for effective programs to engage the Hispanic audience in fishing and boating.


The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is managing three grants with established groups in the Houston area:

  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Fishing's Future - Houston Chapter
  • Houston Parks and Recreation Department

These organizations will use funds to organize fishing and boating trips that will be held in areas that are easily accessible and regularly stocked with fish. Participants will receive skills training on basic fishing, boating and water safety.

In Florida, a grant was given to Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces-EcoAdventures to continue to provide fishing opportunities and education to children and families in Miami-Dade County. Included in their grant program are:

  • A 2016 Vamos A Pescar fishing event at Tropical Park in Miami that introduces families to fishing, boating and environmental education programs, and improves upon 2015 efforts.
  • The continuation of Fishing and Boating Safety Camps held at various locations throughout the county.
  • A series of Family Fishing Workshops throughout the county where kids and families can spend time together, learning fishing from trained instructors and acquiring a respect for the outdoors.

More information about the George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund is available at takemefishing.org/educationfund/. For information on how to contribute to the Fund, please contact RBFF Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships Rachel Auslander at rauslander@rbff.org.

A video and images of the event are available here.

Five States Receive Innovative R3 Program Grants

Five States Receive Innovative R3 Program Grants

Through the 2016 State Innovative R3 Program Grants, a total of over $118,000 has been granted to five state agencies to help fund programs that focus on increasing fishing license sales and boat registrations. RBFF staff and a Proposal Review Working Group made up of industry Board members, Federal agency and NGO representatives reviewed 27 submissions and ultimately selected five which utilize methods for recruiting, retaining and reactivating (R3) anglers and boaters. The selected programs have all been designed with the idea that they can be successfully replicated throughout the country.

Grants Overview:

A new mobile fishing application will be developed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) that will help anglers find fishing access points, identify fish, record their catches in a fishing journal and more. This app will be used as a tool to engage anglers and assist them in having more successful and memorable fishing experiences. CPW will be able to communicate with the fishing community through the app and will also be able to track user downloads and data to compare it to license sales history.

"We're excited to help Colorado anglers have more successful and memorable fishing opportunities, as well as providing a new avenue of communication with Colorado's fishing community," said Bob Broscheid, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will work to increase high school participation in fishing teams and clubs across Florida with a particular focus on counties with high Hispanic compositions. Working with the FLW Foundation and Student Angler Federation, FWC will focus on the Hispanic community in establishing new and growing existing high school angling teams. At the same time, they will provide students and families with important conservation and boating safety education.

“We are committed to helping Florida’s families and youth fully enjoy healthy outdoor activities such as fishing and boating,” said Nick Wiley, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Participating on a high school fishing team is a great way for teenagers to learn more about conservation and boating safety. We are grateful for this opportunity to expand high school fishing within our highly-diverse communities of Florida.”

The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division is increasing their R3 efforts by enhancing their online Georgia Outdoor Map with additional information and features to increase public participation, and help retain existing participants, in recreational angling and boating. The map is a web-based application that identifies outdoor recreational opportunities on DNR-managed properties including state parks, wildlife management areas, public fishing areas, boat ramps and historic sites. The enhanced map will include a link to the mobile-friendly license and registration purchasing website, and targeted messages will encourage license purchase or upgrade.

Dan Forster, director of the Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division said, “Our goal is to improve how we provide customers information about recreational opportunities. We will use these grant funds from RBFF to improve how we provide the information. As a result, Georgiaoutdoormap.com will be even more user friendly, and anglers will be able to find where to fish near them on any internet capable device.”

Emerging digital strategies will be explored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who will also develop a partnership with the Iowa Tourism Office to promote fishing as a ‘leisure activity of choice’ for Iowa families. Utilizing the branding and imagery of the Travel Iowa campaign, the program will focus on a joint website with a landing page featuring Iowa-specific information on how to take a family fishing trip, where to go, and most importantly a “buy your license” button which will track visitors through license purchase.

“We are excited to partner with the Iowa Tourism Office and the RBFF to expand fishing participation,” said Chuck Gipp, Iowa DNR Director. “We hope this unique approach will introduce more Iowa families to fishing and the outdoors.”

Angler recruitment events will be taken to the next level by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) by working to sell on-site permits to Family Fishing event participants, and collect data that allows the tracking of, and marketing to, program participants. When data is collected at an event, NGPC will be able to introduce participants to the mobile permit system, validate contact information, track recruitment and retention of participants through permit sales and program attendance, and continue communication with participants after the event. With this project, NGPC’s goal is to increase license sales at events and accurately be able to evaluate and refine their recruitment efforts.

“Nebraska Game and Parks is pleased to partner with RBFF to use technology in a way that gets families excited about fishing together,” said Jim Douglas, Director of NGPC. “This grant will also help us collect feedback to improve our family fishing programs and to measure the value of our recruitment efforts – both of which are invaluable.”

For information on the 2015 grantee program and detailed case studies, please visit the RBFF Resource Center or contact Stephanie Hussey, State R3 Program Director. General information on RBFF’s R3 programs can also be found online.