The National Professional Anglers Association ranks include more and more fishing guides, pushing membership to record levels.  Three guides from Wisconsin, South Dakota and Minnesota shared their reasons for belonging to the association that is dedicated to protecting and preserving the sport of fishing.

Chad Schilling of Oahe Wings and Walleyes in South Dakota said, “I’ve never NOT been a member.  The NPAA interests are in my best interests.”  He joined in 1997 when he started guiding, and loves the benefits of the insurance program, member discount program, how NPAA helps his business grow by promoting the sport, and said, “I like being part of something good.”

With 28 years of guiding as the Wacky Walleye guide service, Dale Stroschein, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, re-joined the NPAA a couple years ago.  He feels that to grow the sport, all pro anglers and guides need to join.  “Too many people sit on their hands.  All of us with passion for the sport should step up and be involved.”  His original NPAA member number was 36, and when it became available a few years ago, he jumped at it.  “It’s also important to be part of what my sponsors believe in,” he said.

“There’s no manual on being a pro angler or guide,” said Tony Roach.  The Minnesota winter and open water guide of 10 years said, “In fishing, anglers learn from each other.  The same is true in business, that’s why getting together at the annual conference was so beneficial.”  As a first year member, he felt apprehensive about joining years ago when he didn’t know what the NPAA was all about.  “After the first conference, seeing how open and receptive everyone was, and what I learned, it was extremely positive.  I really liked the face-time with existing and potential sponsors and other fishermen.”

Schilling operates his lodge and guide service with his wife, brother and dad.  Personally, he guides 300 days of open water, ice fishing and pheasant hunting per year.  On the pro tournament trails, he won Rookie of the Year his first PWT season, won the AIM national championship in 2011 and was the FLW Angler of the Year in 2012.  “With all that’s happened, I landed a great deal with Lund boats, and am proud to represent them guiding and tournament fishing,” he said.  Oahewings.com.

With a two-fold passion of competitive fishing and working closely with his customers, Stroschein books more than 300 trips annually for walleyes, muskies and smallmouth bass.  He still competes, and has held PWT and NAWA big fish records, qualified for 12 national championships and holds the rod and reel ice fishing world record for a 13.76 pound walleye.  Wackywalleye.com or sandbaybeach.com.

Squeezing a number of walleye tournaments between 300 guide trips a year, Roach has placed in the top 10 in the past dozen Mille Lacs tournaments.  His seven guides are busy during open water and ice season.  He keeps up to 30 clients per day in portables during ice season to keep up with the nomadic walleyes.  Families and employee outings occupy the bulk of his trips.  Roachsguideservice.com

The NPAA is a non-profit organization focused on growing the sport of fishing and increasing the professionalism of its members.  Supporting Partners include: Advanced Tex Screen-printing, Cabela’s National Walleye Tour, The Walleye Federation, Evinrude Outboards, Fishouflage, Frabill, Plano, Great Lakes Sea Grant, Lund Boat Co, Mercury Marine, Milwaukee Muskie Expo, Navionics, Optima Batteries, Outdoor First Media, PK Lures, Pure Fishing, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, The Next Bite, The Reel Shot, U.S. Forest Service, Wildlife Forever, Worldwide Marine Underwriters, Yamaha Motor Co., Arrowhead Promotion and Fulfillment, Bait Rigs, G2-Gemini, Kingfisher, Liddle Marketing Company, Motor Guide, Mutual of Omaha, National Fleet Graphics, Northland Fishing Tackle, Oahe Wings and Walleyes, Off Shore Tackle, Pasha Lake Cabins, PK Lures, RDM Insurance Company, Simms Fishing, SmarTech Inc., Warrior Boats, High Tech Fishing, Financial Planning Services, Lowe Manufacturing Co Inc, and O2 Marine Technologies Inc.  More NPAA annual conference, member and association news can be viewed at www.npaa.net.

Image courtesy National Professional Anglers Association

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