Niagara Gazette — For nearly 15 years, key members of the outdoor media have been coming in to visit every May to take advantage of our outstanding spring angling action – Lake Ontario salmon, trout and bass; Niagara River steelhead, lake trout and brown trout; Lake Erie smallmouth bass. While things have been quiet in local media circles all those years, it was great to see them take notice this time around.
“I fish from Alaska to Panama every year, focusing primarily on salt water fishing,” said Mark Davis of South Carolina. “I’ve been coming for 15 years to Western New York, however, the first week of May every one of those years. You have some outstanding fishing!” Davis is the host of Penn’s Big Water Adventures that appears on The Outdoor Channel. He was also quick to point out that having the support of Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. was huge.
Davis was telling that to Kevin O’Neill from the parking lot of Tops in Lewiston as O’Neill worked his morning magic on the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, WGRZ. As he told him, the message went out to the watchers of this popular station. And it didn’t stop there. The morning news team continued to banter about the fishing in the area as they extended comments about the live coverage.
When O’Neill asked about the economic impact of sportfishing in the area, his jaw almost dropped when we told him that sportfishing generated $30 million annually, based on a recent study conducted by Niagara University. He pointed that out the next time he was on the air. Yes, fishing is big business in Western New York. More people need to recognize that.
The day before, it was Jeff Pierce of Scottsville and Bob George of Idaho extolling the fishing virtues of Western New York to YNN, the news channel for Time Warner Cable. “My company recently relocated from Auburn to Miami, Florida,” said Pierce, National Sales Manager for Mustad Hooks and one of the corporate sponsors for the event. “I told them flat out that if they wanted me to continue, I had to be able to work from home … because of the fishing opportunities on the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. I travel the world fishing and these are some of the best waters anywhere.”
George, who serves as National Sales Manager for Buck Knives, was just as high on the fishing here. “Our company sponsors only one media event for fishing and its right here in Niagara USA,” he told Jon Daugherty of YNN. “We caught 60 smallmouth bass yesterday and our biggest was almost six pounds. You have it all – bass, walleye, salmon, trout, musky, northern pike – a little bit of everything.”
The media guys in attendance were a who’s who when it comes to the outdoor marketplace. James Hall, the editor of Bassmaster Magazine; Joe Cermele with Field and Stream; Jimmy Fee with On The Water; Chuck Beasley with In-Fisherman; Larry Ladowski, host of Mid-West Outdoors Television Show; Mike Caruso with The Fisherman; Mike Pehanich, with a long list of publications – there were a dozen media guys and five corporate guys working together to tell the WNY fishing story.
It was fun to see the exposure start to snowball. WBEN radio talked about on the news for a good part of one day; it made papers like Business First, Lewiston Sentinel, Buffalo News and others. The media guys were becoming local celebrities of sorts. Walking into Tops for breakfast and lunch sandwiches, they were greeted by the public and some of the workers.
“Hey, we saw you on TV!”
“Did you guys catch any fish?”
“Can I take your picture?”
The good thing was that this was general media outlets, not publications targeted specifically to anglers. Everyone was seeing that the writers were here to sample our great fishing. They could go anyplace … but they were here…year after year.
This is a big bang for our advertising buck. We support the effort wholeheartedly and we are happy to work with them to make this happen. Not only is Niagara USA featured in and on some of the top outdoor publications and shows in the country, we are getting the personal endorsement from some of the top names in the industry.
In the middle of all this is Capt. Frank Campbell, a pro staff for many of these companies that are involved. “I wish all my Pro Staff guys were like Frank,” said Pierce. “He’s knowledgeable, a pleasure to work with and willing to go out of his way to assist the media.” Other area charter captains are also part of the effort. Hats off for all who assist for the good of the cause – promoting the fishing in Western New York.
Classic West Pro-Am Cup Offers BIG Cash Prizes
Lake Ontario Pro-Am Salmon Team Tournament officials in Niagara and Orleans counties have announced that there will be a significant cash purse up for grabs for teams competing in the Classic Division (Long Box) of the two Western end tournaments. Using the Challenge Cup scoring system for the Classic Division only over the four days of the two tournaments, a total of $35,000 will be up divided up among the top three places overall - $20,000 for first; $10,000 for second; $5,000 for third. In the Trophy Division (Short Box), only Cup Trophies will acknowledge winners unless sponsorships come forward. Note: There is no entry fee for the Cup competition.
Tournament officials in Niagara, Orleans and Oswego are pleased to announce the continuation of the Lake Ontario Challenge Cup awarded to the top Classic Box team in the Cup Points standings at the conclusion of the three Pro-Am events.
Deadline for signing up for the Niagara tournament set for June 1-2 is May 18; deadline for the Orleans tournament June 8-9 is May 25. Register at www.lakeontarioproam.net.
Harrisburg Sport Shot Finds Replacement
We told you about the firestorm that was building when Reed Exhibitions put restrictions on some of the firearms at the Eastern Sports, Travel and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania earlier this year. The ensuing boycott resulted in the cancellation of the show before it ever happened. A recent announcement was made by the National Rifle Association promoting the fact that they will now be taking over this Harrisburg show – the largest outdoor consumer show of its kind in the country. The show next year is set for Feb. 1-9, 2014.
To follow suit, the National Shooting Sports Foundation announced this week that Reed Exhibition will no longer be the show organizer for the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2014. This is still some of the fallout that occurred as a result of the Harrisburg incident. NSSF is seeking out a new promoter for this show, the largest firearms trade show in the world.Bill Hilts Jr. is the outdoor sports specialist with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.