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RBFF Kicks Off Fishing & Boating Season with a Splash
RBFF wrapped up a successful National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW) earlier this month, capped off with the reveal of the 2016 Top 100 Family-Friendly Places to Fish and Boat list. For the second year in a row, Florida’s Everglades National Park snagged the No. 1 position as the best place to fish and boat in the U.S.
RBFF brought back America’s Top Family Fishing and Boating Spots Instant Win and Sweepstakes for its third consecutive year, with the goal of finding great family-friendly fishing areas and getting more families out on the water. More than 300 sites representing all 50 states were pre-selected from across the U.S. and entrants were able to vote daily for their favorite places.
Criteria included having a public body of water within driving distances of a major city, good fishing opportunities and family-friendly amenities. Nearly 35,000 different anglers and boaters cast nearly 650,000 votes to support their favorite fishing and boating locations.
Top 10 Places to Drop a Line in 2016:
- Everglades National Park, Fla.
- Bahia Honda State Park, Atlantic Ocean, Fla.
- Blue Springs State Park, St. Johns River, Fla.
- Kissimmee State Park, Lake Kissimmee, Fla.
- Clear Lake State Park, Clear Lake, Calif.
- Brannon Island State Park, Sacramento River, Calif.
- Dockweiler State Beach, Santa Monica Bay, Calif.
- Hanging Rock State Park, Hanging Rock Park Lake, N.C.
- Guntersville State Park, Guntersville Lake, Ala.
- Lake James State Park, Lake James, Ala.
Other Interesting Facts:
- Places in North Carolina and Alabama moved into the coveted Top 10, displacing Texas and Pennsylvania.
- In 2016, 29 states are represented in the Top 100, four more states than in 2015.
- Florida and California are the only states to have placed in the Top 10 three years in a row.
In addition to the Top Places list being released, the popular #FirstCatch campaign, which encourages anglers to share their experiences using #FirstCatch, was launched during NFBW and the many Free Fishing Days that fall within the celebration were highlighted throughout the week. RBFF’s Take Me FishingTM and Vamos A PescarTM brands also joined forces with Walmart®, South Bend® and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) to host and promote more than 1,000 events featuring expert anglers across the United States at the onset of NFBW.
Overall, the events, campaigns and promotions of NFBW brought in more than 647 million PR impressions, including stories in the Los Angeles Times, O – The Oprah Magazine and Detroit Free Press.
The Top 100 list and #FirstCatch campaign will continue to be promoted throughout the summer.
RBFF to Discuss New Campaigns and Initiatives at ICAST
Seeing the steady long-term decline of fishing participation and realizing something has to be done to counterbalance this trend, RBFF recently announced its 60 in 60 push to reach the 60 million angler mark in 60 months to protect the future viability of the industry. RBFF plans to use its presence at ICAST to spread the word of this new aspirational goal and get members of the industry to commit to reaching out to younger, more diverse audiences, working together toward 60 in 60, as well as discuss the ways in which it will work to reach new participants.
To do its part, RBFF is launching a number of consumer campaigns and promotions this summer:
- The “Así Vamos A Pescar” campaign, featuring Major League Baseball star and 2015 American League Rookie of the year, Carlos Correa was launched earlier this year and will reach out to the critical Hispanic audience.
- RBFF’s #FirstCatch campaign will be returning for a second year and features a tagboard that aggregates images posted to Twitter and Instagram with the #FirstCatch hashtag. The goal of the campaign is to encourage anglers to share their #FirstCatch with the world, whether it be the first of the day, first of the year, or first of a lifetime!
- This year’s National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW) was filled with exciting events and great content to bring more excitement to fishing and boating this summer. For the third year, the nation’s Top 100 Family Fishing and Boating Spots list was revealed in the days before NFBW kicked off. The Top 100 list is the result of a nation-wide consumer vote for the best family-friendly fishing and boating spots across the United States. The featured locations are being promoted on the Take Me Fishing website, blog and social media channels, as well as local and national news outlets. In years past, the Top 100 locations have benefited from significant press coverage (138+ million impressions), further increasing awareness and appreciation of our nation’s great fishing and boating opportunities.
Additionally, RBFF representatives will be discussing the George H.W. Bush Vamos A PescarTM Education Fund with industry partners and potential donors at ICAST. The fund began with an initial $125,000 donation by Bass Pro Shops Founder and CEO Johnny Morris and works to increase awareness and participation in fishing and boating among the Hispanic audience. The first grantees of the fund were revealed to the public at an event held at the former president’s library outside of Houston, TX this past April. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and Miami-Dade Parks Recreation and Open Spaces-EcoAdventures are the first organizations to receive grants through the program.
To set up a meeting with RBFF at ICAST, please contact David Rodgers, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three New Members Join RBFF Board of Directors
At its recent Board of Directors Meeting, RBFF announced Craig Bonds, Ron Christofferson and Joe Lewis have been appointed as new members. Bonds, Christofferson and Lewis will work closely with RBFF leadership to meet its mission of growing participation in fishing and boating.
“We are excited to have such diverse and experienced members of the fishing and boating industry and state agencies join our Board of Directors,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “Craig, Ron and Joe were introduced at our June Board Meeting and we’re looking forward to the contributions they will be making in our efforts to grow fishing and boating participation.”
Appointed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), Craig Bonds currently serves as Inland Fisheries Division Director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He is a 17-year veteran of his agency, including prior service as a recreational fisheries management biologist at various levels and locations throughout Texas. He holds a B.S. from Texas A&M (’96) University and a M.S. from Virginia Tech (’00). Craig is a Certified Fisheries Professional with the American Fisheries Society (AFS). He has twice received the Outstanding Fisheries Worker of the Year award from the Texas Chapter of the AFS, an organization in which he has held numerous positions, including President. He was recently elected Vice President of the Southern Division of the AFS, and will progress through successive officer terms, including President.
Ron Christofferson, who was also appointed to the Board by AFWA, is the Boating Facilities Program Manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), where he has been employed for the past 27 years. Ron is a graduate of the University of Arizona (BS Wildlife and Fisheries Science), and is an avid hunter, angler and boater. He has extensive experience managing statewide programs for AZGFD, including evaluating the impacts of construction projects on wildlife, and implementing habitat improvement projects across the state. For the past 10 years, Ron has managed the Arizona Boating Access Program, including all programmatic aspects of the federal Sport Fish Restoration grants related to boating facilities (Boating Access, Clean Vessel Act, and Boating Infrastructure). In addition, he oversees Arizona’s Clean Marina Program and the Aids to Navigation Program. Ron is currently President of the States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA), comprised primarily of boating facilities professionals from state agencies across the United States and its Territories.
Appointed at Large by the RBFF Board, Joe Lewis came to the marine industry in 1989 with the purchase of Mount Dora Marina after a 20-year career in the outdoor power equipment distribution business. Since then, he has served as its General Manager overseeing all aspects of operation. Lewis first became involved with industry issues when asked to serve on the board of directors of the Marine Industry Assoc. of Central Florida. He went on to become its President, then became President of the Marine Industry of Florida in 2002. Appointed to the Grow Boating Board of Directors in 2006, he was elected Chairman in 2011 and currently serves in that role. Lewis has also served on the Marine Retailers of the Americas Board of Directors since 2009. He served as its Treasurer from 2012 to 2014 and is currently Vice Chairman. Lewis remains very active in helping to build a stronger marine industry. When not at work chances are you’ll find him boating, scuba diving and spear fishing with his family.
A full list of RBFF board members is available online.