“In 1964, I was four years old, and that’s the year my father taught me how to fish”, said local resident and Beacon fishing columnist Julia Davis. “My first rod was a whittled stick that had a line and hook tied to it. It didn’t even have a reel. I would sit on the dock and try to catch bluegills and crappies all day long with meat that I would find in the clams that washed up on the beach. I grew up fishing. I even became Professional Walleye Tournament Angler and fished on some of the most beautiful lakes and rivers, and against some of the best walleye anglers in the country. Now, I am a Charter Captain here on Lake Erie. And, just like that little girl sitting on the dock all day at four years old, I’m still fishing today at 50 years old. I think I will be fishing until the day I die. Introducing someone new to the sport, and watching them have fun, is what it’s all about for me. I just couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
When Captain Juls heard about a request for rod and reel donations to help with the children’s fishing tournament at the annual Walleye Festival this spring, she knew immediately what to do.
Davis reached out to Laura Schlachter from Main Street Port Clinton, and explained how the NPAA could possibly help. “Helping kids get involved in fishing is one of the largest goals of the NPAA, and they are usually pretty excited about events like yours”, Juls said. “I think we can make this happen”.
After a few emails and phone calls to the NPAA president and the NPAA Future Anglers Event manager, the application form was quickly approved. The NPAA will be donating 50 brand new rod and reel combos for the event.
“Our team will give a short seminar on the importance of Clean, Dry, and Drain,” said Captain Juls. “It’s a campaign to help spread the message to stop the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in our lakes and rivers”. It’s something the NPAA practices and hopes to get everyone else practicing too.
The NPAA will also be supplying 50 casting plugs, so kids can learn to tie a strong fishing knot and practice casting their lines with their new rod and reels before their tournament begins.
Registration for the Skipper Bud’s Kids Fishing Derby is at 11 a.m. and the seminar is at 11:30 a.m. The Skipper Bud’s Kids Fishing Derby begins at noon on Sunday, May 25.
About the National Professional Anglers Association
The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) is a 501(c) (6) non-profit organization whose mission is "To grow the sport of fishing and increase the professionalism of its members". The association was founded in 1997 and has grown to today's level by working to develop programs to benefit its members and the sport. One such program includes the financial support and organizational support for the Future Angler Events that are run by its members each year. These Future Angler Events impacted nearly 10,000 young anglers and nearly 7,000 adults at over 80 events in 2013.
NPAA membership consists of guides, charter captains, tournament anglers and industry promotional experts from all over the U.S. and Canada. Their members target all species of fish and have varying levels of experience and expertise varying from those who just took up the sport and want to take it to a higher level, to those who have made a career of pursuing their passion on the water. The NPAA provides a forum for interaction between professional anglers of all experience levels at their conference each year and throughout the year by posting members’ contact information and through the association's Facebook page.