Taking Out Line Fast

BoatUS, NOAA Volunteers Build 40 Fishing Line Recycling Bins In Two Hours

Photo of BoatUS staff assembling monofilament recycling bins at BoatUS HQ

BoatUS staffers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leaders teamed up to build 400 fishing line recycling bins in just under two hours at a special volunteer event to mark the 41st anniversary of Earth Day.

Photo of a BoatUS Monofilament Recycling Bin at a dock

The three foot-long cylindrical bins constructed of PVC pipe are mounted to fishing piers, at launch ramps, or marina boat docks, and are part of the Reel In and Recycle national fishing line recycling program. The bins are distributed around the country to help keep fishing line out of our waterways.

The 400 bins have already been distributed to fishing clubs, community groups, and marinas who had previously signed up to adopt one at www.BoatUS.com/foundation/monofilament.

The groups retrieve the recycled fishing line from the bins periodically and send it to Berkley for recycling. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco brought a 10 member "recycling bin brigade" to BoatU.S. national headquarters for the event.

Photo of a BoatUS Monofilament Recycling Bin

"Earth Day is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on our connection to the natural world. This project helps anglers take concrete steps to protect places in their own backyards," Lubchenco said.

The additional 400 bins brings the total to nearly 2,000 around the country. In 2010 alone, the program recycled more than 2,700 miles of fishing line — enough to stretch from coast to coast.

To learn more about the program, add your name to a waitlist for future bins, or learn how you can easily build your own fishing line recycling bin, go to www.BoatUS.com/foundation/monofilament.

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App Will Get You Home When Boat Won't

Share Your Location, A Backup GPS

Screenshot of the BoatUS Towing App on a smart phone

When your boat breaks down on the water or runs out of gas, calling for an on-the-water tow is simple. The hard part, sometimes, is being able to tell the BoatUS towing fleet precisely where to find you, which can delay a safe tow home.

Now, BoatUS offers the only smart phone "App" that helps you call for a tow in a hurry and also adds helpful location and tracking features just for boaters, sailors and anglers. And you don't have to be a BoatUS or BoatUS ANGLER member to download the free App.

"The new BoatUS App can greatly improve towboat response times due to the accuracy of the GPS latitude and longitude technology built into these high tech phones," said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services, Jerry Cardarelli. "The moment you hit the App's 'Call Now for a Tow' button, it automatically provides us with critical information before our crew even answers the phone. We think the App really adds a new layer of comfort and peace of mind."

Available for iPhones and Android phones, the App is available by going to www.BoatUS.com/app. Once uploaded to your smart phone and information is entered, the App is ready to go and gives boaters three choices: Call Now for a Tow, Share Your Location, and BoatUS Directory.

Call Now For A Tow

When "Call Now for a Tow" is activated, the App operates similarly to the roadside assistance operator system built into General Motors vehicles - data, including your boat's precise latitude and longitude, its make, length, your emergency contact information, whether you have a working VHF radio aboard, and your smart phone number, are automatically provided to the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers before voice communication takes place.

"The first thing we'll ask is if everyone onboard is safe, and then we'll use this critical information to arrange for a tow," Cardarelli said.

BoatUS members with the association's nationwide roadside Trailer Assist service can also take this App with them from the water to the road to summon help for a disabled vehicle or boat trailer (while towing). Trailer Assist will even winch your rig out of a slippery boat launch ramp when you're stuck in the mud.

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Life Jacket Design Breaks New Ground

BoatUS Competition Winners Announced

Photo of the See-Tee by Float-Tech Inc

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- If you think that life jackets have to be bulky, uncomfortable or hot to wear, the winners of the "Innovation in Life Jacket Design Competition" will prove you wrong.

The BoatUS Foundation and Underwriter's Laboratory recently announced the winners of their 2011 competition, and you may be surprised at how much the inventive designs break new ground.

The Competition, which began last year and was open to anyone, asked a simple question: Can you build a better life jacket?

Of the original 35 entries (some from as far away as Malaysia), 15 semifinalists were selected and short videos of the designs were posted online for the public to pick their favorites, with the focus on choosing life jackets that were more innovative, wearable, affordable, reliable and practical.

In addition, expert judges voted for their favorite designs at the recent International Boating and Water Safety Summit held in Savannah, Ga.

The See-Tee by Float-Tech Inc.
The first place winner is the "See-Tee", a design from Jeff Betz of the Troy, N.Y., based Float-Tech Inc. This isn't Betz's first life jacket innovation -- his company started as the result of a graduate school project that designed the firm's first non-traditional inflatable life jacket based on a foul weather coat.

The Sea-Tee is a standard rash-guard shirt that many water sports enthusiasts are used to wearing -- but with a twist. It has a built-in inflatable bladder similar to most inflatable life jackets. Betz is careful not to call this a life jacket however, and simply refers to it as a buoyancy aid.

The winners can be seen at BoatUS.com/foundation/winners. Plans for the next round of the design competition are already under way and will be announced in 2012.

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UCF Knights Win 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship

Photo of Sonar Burghoff and Casey O'Donnell of the University of Central Florida

Sonar Burghoff and Casey O’Donnell of the University of Central Florida were very confident heading into the final day of competition in the 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship. Trailing the day one leaders by less than a quarter of a pound, the team believed they were on the fish to win the National Championship.

After weighing in 17.07 pounds on day one, Sonar and Casey caught one of only six, five-bass limits recorded on the final day. They added 10.85 pounds to their day one weight for a total of 27.92 pounds, giving the team a comfortable margin of victory. The key to their tournament winning pattern was to concentrate on small pockets that featured deep water near the back. The team relied on the Navionics Platinum map chip to locate the productive pockets and Texas rigged Ouzo Chunky Monkeys as well as Secret Lures jigs to catch quality bass positioned around isolated dead willow trees. “We expanded on our water as the tournament unfolded both days,” said Sonar. “As we moved around the lake, we’d stop and fish isolated bushes positioned in pockets that had the right contour features.”

Starting the final day in 9th place with 12.39 pounds, Scott Jones and Andrew Sanders of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff hauled a 13.28 pound limit to the scales and claimed second place with a total weight of 25.67 pounds. “It feels good to do so well in an event of this magnitude,” said Scott. “We never caught a fish prior to 11:00 either day but we persevered and it paid off.”

The key for Jones and Sanders was to concentrate on green bushes positioned in 2-3 feet of stained water and avoid the muddy water resulting from the strong winds. The team utilized ¾ ounce Texas-rigged Sweet Beavers and 5/16 ounce Eakins jigs to entice the finicky Lake Lewisville bass to bite.

Finishing day one in 17th place with 10.71 pounds, Cody McCrary and Neil Arnaud of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette rallied to claim third place on the strength of an 11.17 pound five-bass limit, giving the team a two day total of 21.88 pounds. “We just junked fished,” explained McCrary. “We hit a bunch of spots based on previous experience and caught fish both shallow and deep.” The team used a variety of lures including a shaky head, Carolina rig, Texas rig and crankbait.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

4th Louisiana-Monroe Nick LaDart & Daniel Echols 21.55
5th Wisconsin-Steven’s Point Adam Kolbeck & Tyler Gollakner 21.38
6th Arkansas Mook Miller & Kyle Billingsley 21.30
7th Tarleton State Matt Carr & Cody Morrison 20.09
8th Alabama Jeremy Christian & Logan Johnson 20.02
9th Alabama Dustin Connell & Keith Kirkley 19.38
10th Arkansas Tech Dustin Huggins & Evan Barnes 18.95

The 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship awarded scholarships, travel funds, incentive awards and merchandise prizes to the top finishers thanks to the support of numerous event sponsors. The 2011 Champions will advance to fish the 2012 Bass Federation National Championship where they’ll have the opportunity to win the “Living the Dream” prize package and move on to compete in the Forrest Wood Cup.

The BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Series is sanctioned by the Association of Collegiate Anglers and will be televised on Versus, part of NBC Sports Group, by CarecoTV. The weekly television series will showcase the 2011 series of tournaments including the Collegiate Bass Fishing Open presented by Pepsi held June 27-30. Check out all the Series Episodes on-line.

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New "Green" Tool Nets Angler Real Green

by Ryck Lydecker

Photo of the BlackTip Catch & Release Recompression Tool

A retired Alaska charter fisherman-turned-inventor landed a cool $10,000 with an innovative tool designed to release alive any fish brought up from deep water with a case of something like “the bends.”

Ace Calloway’s BlackTip Catch & Release Recompression Tool won the grand prize in West Marine’s second annual Green Product of the Year contest, announced at the Miami International Boat Show last February. The device simply clamps firmly, but safely, onto the fish’s jaw and the angler lowers it by hand, downrigger, or rod and reel. A weight pulls the fish down until the device hits bottom and automatically releases.

But wait, do fish get the bends? Well, yes, in the sense that if deep-water species come to the surface quickly — like on the end of a fishing line — their bodies become distended from an over-inflated swim bladder, the eyes may bug out, and the fish’s innards can even pop out its mouth.

That’s generally not a problem if the fish is headed for the dinner plate, but when it’s one you want to release — say, undersized, wrong species, or the cooler is already full — that fish has to get back down to its proper depth fast to recover. Technically the condition is called barotrauma and an Oregon Fish and Wildlife Dept. study on the problem in deep-water game fish turned into a problem-solving quest for Calloway.

With long experience as charter captain, Calloway already knew that deep-water species had a high mortality rate due to the sudden change in pressure from their normal habitat to the water’s surface. But the study showed that if anglers could get the fish back down to their natural depth quickly, fatalities could be nearly eliminated. After experimenting with different methods such as baskets, bent wires, and barbless fishhooks, Calloway found that either the fish swam away before reaching the appropriate depth or it sustained injury in the process. But he persevered with prototypes until he hit upon what became the BlackTip device.

A panel of judges, including BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich, made its selection based on effectiveness, cost competitiveness, environmental impact, degree of innovation, verification of claims, and compliance with official rules.

Photo of he BlackTip Catch & Release Recompression Tool

“The BlackTip Catch & Release Recompression Tool addresses a real problem, in a way that is simple, effective, and affordable,” said Dr. Randy Kochevar, a marine biologist at Stanford University and another contest judge. “Using this innovative tool, any fisherman can make sure that a fish returned to the wild has the best possible chance of survival.”

“I have always wanted to leave this world a better place than I found it, and I feel this release will save thousands of fish,” said Calloway. “Hopefully this device will be my legacy that will help to preserve what I have come to enjoy and love so much — fishing.”

For more on Ace Calloway and his award-winning BlackTip Catch & Release Recompression Tool, go to www.git-r-down.com.

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