The smell of support

I bought a candle. I think it was the bramble berry scent, whatever that is. I do know that it was the color of my favorite junebug worm, which sealed the deal. The purchase was inspired by my neighbor’s daughter, who was raising money for her high school band. I wanted to support her cause, and in doing so my man cave now smells like a Hallmark store. Not ideal. So, I was crazy excited to hear about a new program designed specifically for high school anglers, which includes fundraising opportunities, minus the candles.

The new Berkley & Abu Garcia Student Angler Program was launched to help remedy a few painful aspects of being a high school or college angler. First, each registered team member will get special pricing on products. Since students are either working part-time jobs or rely on parental funding, the significant discount on Abu Garcia gear and Berkley baits will certainly help.

One of the biggest investments teams make each year is jerseys. Sure, the kids can go out and fish in T-shirts — but, how much team spirit and unity would the football team have if they all dressed differently? Plus, the jerseys have the student’s name on the back, sponsor logos and are made of technical fabric designed for being in the elements. So, you gotta have them. The problem lies in the cost. My son’s high school fishing team spent $150 per jersey last year. Multiply that times 16 anglers and eight boat captains, and it really cuts into gas money and hotel expenses for out of town tournaments. Abu and Berkley have partnered with jersey vendors to very significantly cut this price. There will be multiple designs to choose from, will include the school logo and name of angler. And most importantly, will only cost the team $34 to $42 per jersey.

The new program will also offer teams BASS IQ access, which is a great resource for anglers and coaches to not only start a fishing program, but also grow it. Plus, BASS IQ will have information on upcoming tournaments, as well as college scholarships available for graduating seniors. 

The first 100 teams to sign up will be given the opportunity to be mentored by a Berkley or Abu Garcia pro angler. How much would a high school fishing team love to have David Fritts swing by for a crankbait seminar? For the first year, the program will be capped at 500 teams. To sign up, simply go to, download the form and follow instructions. 

All of this is awesome, but for me, the best part of the new program is the team fundraising aspect. Typically, student anglers would be tasked to hit the pavement and drum up enough sponsors to pay for entry fees, gas, jerseys, lodging expenses, etc. This is never easy, especially for the more rural schools. If your high school signs up for this program, you will be able to sell fishing gear to raise money. Abu and Berkley will send you a fundraising catalog. Simply hit up all the anglers you know and visit a couple of bass clubs to sell the stuff anglers will be buying anyway. And there is no crazy markup. The prices for rods, reels and lures are the same as your local tackle shop. Teams will receive 30 percent of total sales to go in the fishing bank. And I promise, the folks who support this cause will greatly appreciate the smell of PowerBait over bramble berry.

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