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Gary Engberg - River Currents - What's the NPAA?
If you fish and follow any of the fishing websites, tournaments, and magazines you've probably seen the NPAA mentioned regularly in the fishing news. Many of the National Professional Anglers Association members are tournament professionals, guides, and work in the fishing industry. There are other members who still love to fish or have "retired" from competitive fishing, but still find time to help promote, instruct, and introduce children to fishing and the outdoors. Anyone can join the NPAA if you like and enjoy fishing. The NPAA website, www.npaa.net, says that the NPAA is a non-profit organization that purpose is to educate and promote its members. The organization also gives anglers a forum where they can be involved in issues that affect competitive angling and the fishing industry in general. The two main goals of the NPAA are to increase the professionalism of the members and to grow the sport of fishing and the whole fishing industry. Though many members are tournament anglers and guides, the organization is open to anyone with a passion for fishing. If you believe in the two main goals of the NPAA, then you should become a member!
The direction that the group goes begins with the group's various committees which are; membership, internet, youth, insurance and legal, tournament liaison, supporting partners, and ethics. So, one can see that the direction of future projects and goals of the group is controlled by its members. If the work that the NPAA does interests you, then go to their website and find out more about the organization.
Personally as I get older my days of tournament fishing and guiding are dwindling due to my physical problems. But after being a NPAA member for years, I have found joy and a sense of purpose from being involved in as many youth events as possible. I'm one of the "baby-boomers" who has been involved in the fishing industry in all aspects for over 35 years. I've been seeing the loss of many anglers as they age, lose their fishing companions, and in some situations they even lose their fishing access to their favorite fishing locations. This is why the fishing world needs to continue to grow with groups and organizations like the NPAA. I suggest that all anglers should join the NPAA for the many contacts and new friends that you'll meet and help keep the sport of fishing continue to grow and prosper. You don't have to be a top money winning professional to join this group. All you need to have is a love for the sport and the desire to help today's youth get involved in fishing. I know that most of you have the fishing knowledge to "pass on" to today's youth. The smiles that you see on the children's faces make your involvement well worth while. Besides helping get youth involved, you'll get a sense of joy and accomplishment from helping get today's youth involved in the outdoors in an activity that they can participate in for their entire lives.
This past weekend, fellow NPAA member, Jim Kloth, and I helped retired walleye professional, Daryl Christensen, with the Fish-N-Fun Festival in Montello, Wisconsin. This was a three day festival with something for anyone including the "Fishing with the Pro's" where the "pros" took out 2 or 3 children out on Buffalo Lake for an hour of fishing, fun, and instruction. The fish were cooperative and every child caught at least one fish! Many of the children caught their first fish of their young lives. The smiles and joy that I saw in their faces and eyes are one of the reasons that I try to be involved in as many youth events as possible. The 20 "pros' who helped by driving early in the morning to Montello and fishing from early morning to late afternoon all deserve a big thank you. Those of us who helped with the fishing had as much fun as the children.
A couple of weeks ago at the Fish Fest Expo in Sauk Prairie, three NPAA members (Duffy Kopf, Jim Kloth, and I) helped by teaching the children how to cast and giving many of them a new activity to enjoy. This event was another successful outing where more children were introduced to fishing and the outdoors.
The first weekend in June, the Yahara Fishing Club in Madison is having their Kid's Fishing Day at Warner Park. The club members and some who are NPAA members, help hundreds of youngsters learn fishing basics at the park's lagoons. The first 300 children get a free rod and reel and many other "freebies" to help get them fishing and a free hot dog lunch for them and their parents. Greg Karch, the NPAA Youth Advisor, comes from Appleton to help with the event and give his "fishing seminar" in fishing basics for the children and parents. Greg helps with youth events all over Wisconsin for the NPAA and does a great job with the kids.
No matter where you live in most of the Upper Midwest, there is a youth event with National Professional Anglers Association members helping with the kid's programs and any fishing event in the Midwest has NPAA members helping. Children fishing events in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas all have programs to get children involved in the outdoors and fishing. If you attended these Kid's Fishing Days you'll most likely find NPAA members helping with the children's activities.e.
Later in the summer, the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk Prairie has a children's event on a Saturday where kids can fish anywhere they want with their parents or guardians as long as they return by 3:00 pm deadline. This event also draws hundreds of children and families together fishing and having fun outdoors. NPAA members, Wally Banfi, Terry Frey, Duffy Kopf, Jim Kloth, Robert Blosser, Joe Okada, and I all help with this highly successful outdoor event.
My point this week was to tell my readers what the National Professional Angler Association (NPAA) does for so many communities in the Midwest to get children outdoors and engaged in the great lifetime sport of fishing. You don't have to fish tournaments or be a TV star to be a member. All one needs is a love of fishing and a desire to help introduce today's young to this great activity. Go to the website, npaa.net, read about the organization, and pay the low membership fee to become a member. If you have any questions about the NPAA, you can always contact me or any member and they will help you join this great group of anglers who do so much in promoting fishing and introducing today's youth to the sport.
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Gary Engberg Outdoors
P.O. Box 92
Sauk City, WI 53583
Host of Outdoor Horizons on 1670-WTDY, Saturday's 8:00am-8:30am