Columbia, Mo. — The Bass Pro Shops Columbia store gave youth programs a boost June 8 by donating approximately 400 rods and reels to the Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation.
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris challenged families throughout the country to discover the fun of fishing this summer by donating 40,000 rods and reels to nonprofit organizations that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the outdoors. The effort is part of Gone Fishing, a nationwide movement aimed at introducing fishing to families everywhere through donations, nonprofit partnerships and free catch-and-release ponds at Bass Pro Shops across North America.
The donated rods and reels come from Bass Pro Shops’ trade-in program during the store’s Spring Fishing Classic. Each pre-owned rod and reel traded into the store is refurbished for the Gone Fishing donations. “The customers are allowed to bring in pre-owned rods and reels to trade in for coupons towards new equipment during the (Spring Classic) event,” said David Smith, Bass Pro Shops Columbia store manager. “It is a program that works both ways because the customers get coupons for the donations, so there is value to them, and then we get value with partners like MOBASS (Missouri B.A.S.S. Nation).”
Smith donated his store’s pre-owned rods and reels to MOBASS President Jim Zieger because Smith trusts MOBASS will fulfill Morris’ challenge to get fishing tackle into kids’ hands so they can discover the fun of fishing. “I have faith that Jim (Zieger) and his team are going to do that,” Smith said. “It is not enough just to get the rod and reels in their hands, you have got to be able to teach the how to fish and get them excited about the fish they catch. The folks who work with the MOBASS organization are all passionate fishermen so I know they will not just provide the equipment to the kids, they will instill in them the excitement and love for fishing that they have and hopefully it becomes a lifetime, life-changing activity for them.”
MOBASS President Jim Zieger said the donation will be “very helpful” to the MOBASS youth programs. “We have several clubs that do little private kids fishing events at ponds so a lot of the product can go there,” he said. “We also have a high school circuit we run so the baitcasters and other rods and reels we will use for attendance prizes to help the high school anglers. So we really appreciate the donations from the Bass Pro Shops in Columbia. The rods and reels will all go to good use.”