It’s the fishing version of running a marathon. Anglers from across North America will literally be fishing around the clock. The first lines will be cast at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9, and the last fish must be caught, photographed and released by 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The Recycled Fish 24 Hour Fish-a-Thon, presented by Scheels and Griffin Fishing Charters, is a twofold event. The first part of the event is to raise funds for Recycled Fish, a non-profit organization, and second to raise awareness for the issues facing on specific bodies of water.

“ Team Bear Trail,” Nanci Morris Lyon and Kate Taylor, are taking on Pebble Mine as a part of the Recycled Fish 24 Hour Fish A Thon. Bristol Bay, Alaska is facing a proposed open pit mining operation called Pebble Mine. A massive open pit mine, among the largest the world has ever seen, has been proposed at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. Historically, mines of this type have failed, leaking toxic tailings and poisoning waterways. The mine could devestate the strong, wild native salmon stock, the local economy, commercial and sport fishing, and the native way of life. Team Bear Trail has raised over $2,200 and extensive exposure to bring this issue to light.

In Nebraska there are more teams fishing than in any other state. Eight teams will take to lakes across the Husker state in this year’s 24 Hour Fish-a-Thon. Team NEFGA Outstate, Corey Malm, Ken Fankauser, and Mike McClure, are fishing to raise awareness about angler recruitment, both young and old. It’s a common theme in Nebraska – 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon Coach Arron Slater leads another Nebraska team, Team Dragon’s Custom Rods, who wants to get more kids involved in fishing as well.

Our current fundraising leader, Team Playland from Pennsylvania brings to light the fact that catch and release is something that many anglers practice, but there’s room for improvement. Fish mortality rate is reduced by S.A.F.E. Angling practices;“Keeping fish out of the water for the shortest time possible, using single barbless hooks, and using knotless or rubber mesh nets are just some of the ways we can increase catch and release success,” said Buddy Johns, Team Leader and 24 Hour Fish-a-Thon Coach.

Invasive species, trash and runoff all are problems throughout North America’s lakes and streams. “The EPA reports that 49 percent of fresh water in America is so polluted that it can’t support a healthy fishery,” Said Ben Leal, Program Director for Recycled Fish. “Each team representing a lake or stream brings these issues to light on a local level.”

Anglers are fishing for more than fundraising and good will for the waters. “We’re giving away the fishing trips of a lifetime,” said Leal. “Whoever raises the most money and whoever has the best success on the water will choose from trips offered by Griffin Fishing Charters in Louisiana, Spring Bay Resort in Minnesota or FishTales Outfitting in Montana, all to world class destinations.” Additional prizes for challenges like cleaning up trash or taking the best fish photos include tackle from Pure Fishing, Dragon’s Custom Rods, and artwork from Curt Redden.

“To date, the overall effort by the twenty four teams fishing this year has raised over $8,000, with just a week remaining before the fishing begins”, said Leal. “Anyone can still help a team by logging on to www.recycledfish.org and clicking on the 24 Hour Fish-a-Thon Logo. Choose a team that best represents the issue that you are concerned about and support that effort.”

For complete information on the Recycled Fish 24 Hour Fish-A-Thon presented by Scheels and Griffin Fishing Charters visit http://www.recycledfish.org/our-programs/fish-a-thon-2011/index.htm.

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