Alexandria, VA – The 2022 Sportfishing Summit, held October 25 – 28 in New Orleans, La., convened more than 200 sportfishing industry leaders to address critical issues impacting recreational fishing. The American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) annual business meeting included presentations as well as board and committee meetings that engaged the fishing community about pressing issues from conservation to the economy.

“ASA’s mission is to look out for the interests of the sportfishing industry and the entire sportfishing community,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “To do this, we focus on clean water, abundant fisheries, access to those fish, favorable trade and commerce polices and increasing fishing participation.”

This year, the Summit provided a forum where its members and partners could hear information about the workplace of the future; the U.S. economy and its impact on our trade; what ASA’s Government Affairs team is doing to address fisheries policy issues; ASA’s plans for its 90th anniversary in 2023; and develop strategies for next year and beyond.

During the Summit, members and staff welcomed Phil Lillo, owner and CEO of the Don Coffey Company, as ASA’s new board of directors Chair. Other members appointed to the Executive Committee are Vice Chair Patrick Gill, CEO, TackleDirect; Secretary Casey Shedd, president, AFTCO Manufacturing Company, Inc.; Treasurer Dan McDonald, President, Yakima Bait Company; At-Large Dan Ferris, publisher, MidWest Outdoors; and Immediate Past Chairman Jesse Simpkins, vice president of Marketing, St. Croix Rod.

“My thanks go to Mr. Simpkins who handed the gavel over to Mr. Lillo after two years at the helm,” said ASA President Glenn Hughes. “I commend all our board of directors and committee members who are willing to give so much of their time and talent to work on our industry’s behalf.”

Recognizing the Industry’s Leaders

During its Thursday evening awards dinner, Bill Shedd, chairman and CEO of AFTCO Manufacturing Company, Inc., was presented with the inaugural Gary J. Zurn Conservation Award.

Left to right: Mike Leonard, Government Affairs VP, Bill Shedd and Glenn Hughes.

The award is named for long-time ASA supporter and Government Affairs committee Chair, Gary Zurn, who passed unexpectedly in August 2021. Zurn was a partner and Senior Vice President of Big Rock Sports for nearly 30 years. During that period, he gave freely of his time and talent to help ensure that anglers across the United States had access to well-managed fisheries, both freshwater and saltwater.

“There is no better person to receive this recognition than Bill Shedd,” said Hughes. “Both he and Gary Zurn share a legacy of working tirelessly to conserve our nation’s fisheries on behalf of the sportfishing industry and anglers everywhere.”

During the same event, ASA recognized the contributions of all its former board of directors Chairs. Those in attendance at the Summit were David Bulthuis, president, Pure Fishing, Inc.; Peter Foley, president, Boone Bait Company, Inc.; Kirk Immens, president; Sportco Marketing, Inc.; Chris Megan, publisher, On The Water, Inc.; Richard “Chip” Powell, president, Mason Tackle; David Pfeiffer, president, Shimano North American Fishing, Inc.; and Jesse Simpkins, vice president of Marketing, St. Croix Rod.

Left to right: Glenn Hughes, Richard “Chip” Powell, Peter Foley, David Pfeiffer, Chris Megan, Jesse Simpkins, Dave Bulthuis, Kirk Immens and Government Affairs VP Mike Leonard.

The 2023 Sportfishing Summit will be held at the Hilton Sandestin Resort in Destin, Fla., from October 3 – 6.