The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) announced that Ray Scott is the newest member of its board of directors. The move appears to be the first major step the organization has taken toward making an honest effort in the freshwater arena.
Best known as the official keepers of all saltwater and freshwater world records, the IGFA was founded to track of saltwater big game catches and promote the conservation of those fish species. Over the years it broadened its scope, and for a while the non-profit organization has been talking about reaching more freshwater anglers.
Until now, that has been mostly talk. But new IGFA CEO Don Watts, who came from Bass Pro Shops, has brought a new appreciation for freshwater fishing, and bass fishing in particular. Because of that, he decided to enlist the help of the No. 1 guy in the No. 1 fishing market in the world.
"The IGFA fully realizes that bass is the No. 1 species for U.S. anglers, and we want Ray Scott to help us put the sport and fun back into bass fishing," Watts said. "We hope that Ray will help re-introduce light-line angling and skill into the sport."
Mike Levitt, chairman of the IGFA board, added: "We're delighted to have the best known promoter of bass fishing in the world, Ray Scott, join our board."
Scott, now 68, is head of Ray Scott Outdoors Inc., a marketing and consulting group based in Pintlala, Ala. "I'm excited about the opportunity to serve on the IGFA's board of directors," he said. "For over six decades the IGFA has been at the forefront of ethical fishing rules, records and conservation of our fishing resources and habitat.
"And what better way to continue that spirit and heritage than to put the sport back into sportfishing by promoting light-line fishing and having fun?"
Light Line and IGFA Match
That alludes to Scott's recent push to see more people discover the joys of fishing by using light line and light tackle. He believes that will boost freshwater fishing interest.
"I'm concerned about a seemingly declining growth in freshwater fishing interest," he said. "Overall, fishing license (sales) are sliding, and fewer and fewer kids are being introduced to the sport of fishing. Lifestyles change and there are less opportunities for the fishing experience.
"For several years I've concentrated on the idea of light-line fishing and using only 4-pound-test line. You'll get far more strikes on the smaller line, and you'll be amazed at how much fun and excitement there is in challenging a big bass on light tackle and 4-pound test."
To help get his message out, Scott is teaming with the IGFA and Watts. In May, Scott and the IGFA co-sponsored the first-ever Light-Line Tournament at the Hall of Fame World Championship at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita.
Scott also noted that many states have blanks when it comes to entries for light-line bass records. "For the most part, freshwater fishermen are missing out in getting their names in the IGFA Record Book," he said.
According to the IGFA, 33 states have no record for the 4-pound line class for largemouth bass. Of the 17 states with records, California's stands as the most amazing: Bob Crupi caught a 17-01 monster at Castaic Lake on Dec. 28, 1990.
For More Info
For information on the IGFA click here to visit the IGFA's web site (www.igfa.org), call (954) 927-2628 or when in Florida drop by the IGFA's Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum located off I-95, next to Bass Pro Shop's Outdoor World in Dania Beach.