SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is challenging families everywhere to put down their digital devices and head outside to discover the joys of fishing this summer. Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s are donating more than 50,000 rods and reels to not-for-profit partners that help kids from all backgrounds connect to the great outdoors to kick off Gone Fishing.
The nationwide movement is part of an annual call-to-action that aims to introduce the sport to millions of kids. Activities include donations, nonprofit partnerships and a variety of free in-store activities at all Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations across North America on June 9-10 and 16-17.
“In a world where kids are increasingly surrounded by screens and digital distractions, it’s more important than ever to help them discover the joy of fishing,” said Bob Ziehmer, Bass Pro Shops Senior Director of Conservation. Today’s donations underscore our commitment to inspiring the next generation of conservationists, sportsmen and women, and we hope everyone joins us for our free Gone Fishing events in stores this summer.”
National Donation Day
Gone Fishing kicked off with a national donation day on Thursday, June 7, with Morris, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s donating more than 50,000 rods and reels to nonprofit organizations that connect kids to the outdoors and help get more kids outside. Customers brought in gently used rods and reels this spring in exchange for discounts on new gear; each piece is refurbished to ensure they are fish-ready for kids. With Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s joining forces, this year marks the largest donation in the event’s history. In the last five years, Bass Pro has donated more than 300,000 items to youth-focused nonprofit organizations including Boys and Girls Club and Boy Scouts of America.
Free Family Activities
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations across the U.S. and Canada will host free activities and special giveaways during Gone Fishing designed for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Family-friendly events hosted on these consecutive June weekends (June 9-10, June 16-17) include:
- Free Catch-And-Release Ponds: Kids can experience the excitement of fishing at in-store catch-and-release ponds and earn a free “First Fish Certificate” from FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) to celebrate their achievement. (1-4 p.m. local time)*
- Free Fishing Seminars: Learn the basics from a knowledgeable staff during in-store, informative sessions.
- Free Fishing 101 Guide: Free copies of Nibbles & Bites teach the fundamentals of fishing and provide tips on best local fishing spots. The informational guide is available while supplies last.
- Free Door Hanger: The first 100 catch-and-release pond anglers at each location receive a commemorative Gone Fishing door hanger to let friends and family know a fishing trip is happening.
- Free Kids Craft Tables: Kids can enjoy free crafts tables and decorate a fish to get in the summer spirit. (1-4 p.m. local time)
- Video Game Trade-Ins: Trade-in a video game and receive $5 off a new youth start rod and reel combo for $19.99 or more. Collected video games will be donated to AMVETS Association. Limit one coupon per customer.**
To share memories from the great outdoors, anglers of all ages are encouraged to join the movement by posting a fish selfie to social media using the hashtag #gonefishing, challenging friends to post their catches and pledging to take someone fishing this summer. Participants are also encouraged to donate to Teach a Child to Fish. Founded by former professional football player Kendall Newson, Teach a Child to Fish is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing underprivileged, disabled and less fortunate children the opportunity to enjoy nature through fishing, outdoor activities and educational programs.
A Conservation Leader
Gone Fishing is one of the many ways Johnny Morris guides Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s to inspire everyone to enjoy, love and conserve the great outdoors. The premier outdoor and conservation company is a leader in protecting wildlife and habitat, and connecting new audiences to the outdoors. Last September, Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium opened at the Bass Pro Shops National Headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. A gift to the sportsmen and women of America from Johnny Morris, Wonders of Wildlife was recently voted America’s Best Aquarium and America’s Number One Best New Attraction by readers of USA Today. Larger than the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the not-for-profit attraction is the world’s grandest tribute to the conservation movement and the adventurers, explorers, outdoorsmen and conservationists who helped discover, develop and preserve the nation we love.