By FishRecycler | September 20, 2011
$17,500 – cash amount raised (does not include in-kind donations)
Scrolling through AMI Cabins you’ll see over 1240 fish that were caught, photographed and released. They represent a total of over 2,000 fish. Bluegills represented the most numerous catch at 45%, followed by largemouth bass, catfish and trout.
The teams removed over 13,000 pieces of trash with cigarette butts being the most numerous item removed. Plastic bottles and “other plastics” represented 20% of the items. Fishing-related trash represented only 3% of what was removed, but our stewards did remove an estimated 4,000 feet of fishing line from the areas they fished.
We are thanking the over 500 individual donors, and marveling at the over 26,000 grassroots interactions and the estimated 256,000 media impressions for our waters.
Of course, part of the story is that it’s fun! There’s some friendly competition and some exciting prizes. It’s with great pleasure that we announce this year’s winners and award prizes – the payoff for enduring what few ever do: the fishing version of running a marathon.
Top Fundraising Team: Team Bear Trail – Alaska ($7,182)
Nanci and Kate win an all-expense paid fishing trip of a lifetime to Griffin Fishing Charters in the world famous Mississippi River Delta, where they’ll cast for bruiser redfish and speckled trout.
Nanci Morris Lyon and Kate Taylor’s team raised more than the entire 2010 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon raised in total.
50% of funds raised by their team will be dedicated specifically to the campaign for Bristol Bay to prevent Pebble Mine.
Top Fishing Team: Team Bass Addicts – Delaware (43,103 points)
Ted, Kevin and John win an all-expense paid trip to Minnesota’s North Woods to fish the waters of Lake Vermillion at Spring Bay Resort. They’ll cast for musky, pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, perch and a handful of other species.
Team Bass Addicts won in spite of harsh weather in the wake of Hurricane Irene and the subsequent tropical depression. They had considered utilizing the ‘rain date’ for the evenet because of extensive flooding. Lucky they didn’t! High water in the Delaware River had concentrated bass in a backwater and they found hot and heavy fishing for chunky largemouth bass.
Runner-up fundraising team: Team Playland 1 – Pennsylvania ($2,715)
Buddy and his team score a $100 DICK’S Sporting Goods Gift Card and an Abu Garcia Vendetta Rod & Cardinal Reel Combo.
Team Playland would have won the fundraising prize in 2009 or 2010 by nearly $1000, proving that the bar has been raised every year. In addition to fishing the event, Buddy Johns has been a part of the leadership team that runs the overall 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon, and served as the coach for teams east of the Mississippi this year.
3rd place fundraising team: Team NEFGA 1 – Nebraska ($1354)
Alex, Josh and Brian scored a Shakespeare 6-piece travel rod.
It could be said that Team NEFGA is responsible for the funds raised by all of the Nebraska teams combined. Through their role in the leadership of the Nebraska Fish & Game Association, this team has helped cultivate support for Recycled Fish and the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon from across Nebraska. More teams from Nebraska fished the event than from any other state.
2nd place fishing team: Team Fishing Friendzy – Ontario, CA
Mike and crew score a $100 Scheels Gift Card in addition to an amazing 24 hours on the water.
It may be that the greatest prize has been awarded to Team Friendzy – the weekend of the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon was also their due date, and on September 10, 2011 at 1:32 PM they welcomed Kyela Anne Sklad to the world. At 8.10 lbs, she’s a keeper. The official rules allow for a team to fish early due to extenuating circumstances, and that team’s fishing record is kept confidential until after the other teams complete their fishing. Team Friendzy fished a couple of weeks early.
3rd place fishing team: Team KayakJak – Nebraska
Marty and sons will have no trouble spending their $50 Scheels Gift Card – Marty is a high school physical education teacher, a competitive runner, and all of his sons are involved in sports.
These guys also know how to fish. They won the fishing portion of the 2010 Recycled Fish 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon. Fishing as a father-sons team from kayaks, they load the boats. You’ll love their video and report from their “Trip of a Lifetime” with Brian Snowden.
Team who collects the most trash: Team Savuka Kayaks – Nebraska
Stewardship has its rewards! Arron Slater at Dragon’s Custom Rods is building a “Trash Rod” – a custom rod with odds and ends for a truly one-of-a-kind look and feel. Both anglers also earned We Are Stewards T-Shirts.
This paddle-powered husband & wife team not only organized a lake cleanup to remove a dumpster load of trash from the Fremont Lakes, they landed in the Fremont Tribune for doing so.
Runner-up trash collection team: Team Fishfeeders – Iowa
Ben, Cookie and Steve will have to split up the $100 Berkley Fishing Products Prize Pack and fight over the We Are Stewards Shirt, because they all earned it.
This team won the trash collection prize in 2010 and used the same strategy this year in enlisting the help of Central Iowa Anglers to clean up Big Creek Lake. They collected 14 bags of trash, an old tire, three boat trailer bunk boards that had been discarded on the side of the lake, an 18VDC battery for a drill and a discarded grill. Their efforts were covered by WHO-TV 13 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Highest scoring bass (any species): Team Catch Us If You Can – Texas
Jason Teames released this big girl, but he will get to hang a signed, framed Curt Redden Largemouth Bass on his wall.
This was not only the biggest bass this year, it’s the biggest bass in the history of the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon.
Highest scoring trout (any species): Team Roaring Fork – Colorado
Guide Craig Davis described this as an “epic” 24 hours on the water – their team caught and released 127 trout from the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers, including this honey of a rainbow treat. At 22″ it wasn’t the biggest trout to meet the net this year. Team Bear Trail met a 26″ rainbow in Alaska, but in the AMI Calculator, the 22″ Colorado trout edged that egg-fattened fatty in Alaska by a few points. Craig wins a signed, framed Curt Redden Brown Trout print.
Pictured here is Cari’s jumbo ‘gill from Indiana’s Team Skinny Dippers. It’s an equal gill to Savuka’s bull, but AMI scored the Nebraska fish better by a few points.
Highest scoring sunfish (any species): Savuka Bluegill – Nebraska
Like all fish in the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon, Cari’s Manson’s bluegill above was released just like Kristi Kirkwood’s. Kristi takes the Curt Redden Bluegill print in this year’s competition.
Highest scoring walleye, pike or muskie (any species): Coulee Region Adventures – Wisconsin
The biggest toothy fish of the year earns its captor a Curt Redden Walleye. This year a pike takes those honors, although we saw some quality walleye coming in from teams like Nebraska’s Team Toads. At 924 AMI Points, this pike put more than a bend in the rod, it put some beautiful paint on the wall for a powerhouse team.
Highest scoring catfish (any species): NEFGA Outstate – Nebraska
No joke – that ain’t a real dark flathead, that’s a big, big Channel Cat, and this team caught a bunch of ’em. The Curt Redden Catfish will hang on the wall of either Harold, Corey or Mike – all three touched some doozies in Western Nebraska. They also captured the imagination of the Kearney Hub, who did a story on them.
Largest crappie (any species): Team Playland – Pennsylvania
Buddy and his friends fishing at the Playland Pond scored the highest scoring crappie of the year, so they’ll hang this Curt Redden Crappie on their wall.
Best “Hero Shot” Photo Overall: Team Bear Trail – Alaska
Runner-Up “Hero Shot” #1: Team Catch Us If You Can – Texas
Another look at this gigantic bass. Jason scores a Scott’s Elite Lures Tackle Pack & We Are Stewards T-Shirt
Best “Hero Shot” #2: Team Toads – Nebraska
These guys always send in so many good photos, it would nearly be a shame if they didn’t take a Hero Shot honor. Winners of the 2009 fishing competition, the Workman brothers take a Scott’s Elite Lures Tackle Pack & We Are Stewards T-Shirt with them on their next trip to the lake.
Media & Awareness Award: Team Coulee Region Adventures – Wisconsin
Anthony, Paul and Andy could use this Curt Redden Note Cards Set to send a note of thanks to all of the media that covered them. Pretty neat, a note-card set of actual signed-by-artist cards. They’re actually suitable for framing themselves. You might have seen Team CRA on TV in LaCrosse, caught them in the LaCrosse Tribune, on the radio on Castle Rock Radio, or on one of many websites like Wisconsin Outdoor Fun.
Sportsmanship Award: Team Dragon’s Custom Rods – Nebraska
Arron and Erin Slater and their family – including mom Le Anne Slater – most likely put more time into the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon than anyone else. They sponsor the event with their business (not reflected in their fundraising total) and are generous with their time to Recycled Fish year-round. They also volunteer as Youth Fishing Instructors for Nebraska Game & Parks. Their photos were close competitors in the Hero Shot division, they removed a load of trash from the lake they fished, and were strong finishers in fishing and fundraising.
Honorable mention goes to Team Playland 2 (PA). Zack Soltis – age 15 – led this team. He showed excellent participation – including leadership – during calls leading up to the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon. Going door-to-door in his neighborhood, Zack raised hundreds of dollars for the cause and explained problems facing our waters and how we can solve them to his neighbors.
Honorable mention also goes to Team Zombie (MN). Andre Xiong and his family were met with tough fishing, but managed to make their way through all 24 hours on the water. For months before and after, Andre is a member of our organizing team for the event managing media and helping with internal and external communication.
A final Honorable Mention is awarded to Team Miller (NE). Jim and Gary brought their grandsons onboard for this year’s event. They were among our top fundraising teams but finished just out of the prizes. They not only fished for the event, but they made the outing a research program for Nebraska Game & Parks. They won the 2009 Fish-A-Thon in both the fishing and fundraising categories. Throughout the year, Jim manages the Recycled Fish Stewards database.
We also proudly recognize the participation of Team Flyinit, Team Count and Team Bacon who won challenges leading up to the 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon if not any during the event itself.
Final fundraising totals:
Team Bear Trail $7,182
Team Playland Park $2,715
Team NEFGA1 $1,354
Team Miller $1,050
NEFGA Outstaters $820
Team Playland 2 $435
Team Savuka Kayaks $405
Team CRA $320
Team Toads $300
Team Fish Feeders $240
Dragons Custom Rods $235
Team Roaring Fork Anglers $227
Team Zombie $210
Team Bacon $185
Team Catch Us If You Can $175
Team Bass Addicts $150
Team Fishing Friendzy $125
Team Count $125
Team Kayakjak $100
Team Skinny Dippers $60
Team 12 oz Jiggers $50
Team Flyinit $30
Team SC Striped Bass $25
Team Scott’s Elite Lures $25
Final fishing standings:
Dragon’s Custom Rods
Catch Us If You Can
Roaring Fork Anglers
Final note: some teams would have won in other categories by score or election. However, our official rules state that a team can win in only two 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon Challenge Categories.
Concerned anglers and hundreds of generous supporters raised over $17,500 for our waters – more than 2009 and 2010 funds combined. Teams caught more and bigger fish than ever before, and most importantly, we more than doubled our grassroots and mainstream media impact. That means raising awareness for the problems facing our waters, and giving people everyday ways to help solve those problems.
We’re proud of the accomplishments of these anglers, grateful to our corporate and destination sponsors, the many generous individuals who have supported the teams and our cause, and we are already planning for another bigger, better event in 2012!
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