What’s Your Record?

I’m fascinated by fishing records. World records, state records, lake records, tournament records, club records, records caught on antique tackle, records by certain lure types, it doesn’t much matter. (Though I’ll confess that line class records bore me to tears. Really, who cares? The size of the line you used has more to do with obstructions in the water than the size of the fish. But I digress, and my attitude toward line class records may reflect my bass background.)

My fascination with records probably started when I was 11 or 12. For Christmas I had gotten a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, and it listed Alf Dean’s 2,664-pound Great White Shark as the largest fish ever caught on rod and reel. Since it beat my personal best by about 2,660 pounds, I was duly impressed and figured he must have been fishing somewhere other than the canals of Miami, Florida, where I was doing most of my fishing.

I don’t think Guinness even keeps fishing records anymore. It seems they’ve decided it’s not politically correct. No matter. They provided the introduction, and I thank them for that much.

I care a great deal about freshwater bass records — especially the largemouth and smallmouth records — and would bet I’ve spent more time and energy studying and writing about those than anyone else.

One of my favorite records was broken this month. It’s the record for most fish caught in a 24-hour period. The new mark is 2,172 and it was set by my friend, Jeff Kolodzinski, who works with Johnson Outdoors.

“Kolo,” as he’s known throughout the industry, is not only a record-breaking angler. He’s also a record-breaking marketer who has helped the fine folks at Humminbird win eight of the last nine Best of Show awards in the Electronics category at ICAST. When you consider how competitive the fishing electronics world is — with Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine and others all putting out remarkable products and fighting for market share — you have an idea how impressive that is.

Kolo not only set a new record today, but it’s worth noting that the record he broke (2,143) was his own. So he didn’t get out of bed yesterday with a burning need to set a new world record. He already had it. What got him moving was the desire to raise funds and awareness for Fishing for Life’s Next Gen Program at the Giant Goose Ranch in Canton, Illinois.

Fishing for Life is a charitable, non-profit organization that uses hands-on fishing events and mentoring programs to positively impact youth and families, including military families. It’s an admirable cause, and it’s not too late to give. Fishing Tackle Retailer is proud to support Kolo’s Marathon Man effort and Fishing for Life. If you’re interested, visit MarathonManFishing.com.

Kolo is that too rare example of someone giving back to our sport and making a real difference. He’s a role model for me and you.

Unless you’re another of those all too rare examples, there’s definitely room to step up.

The good news is that you don’t have to pull an all-nighter or set a world record and raise thousands of dollars for a good cause to make a worthwhile contribution. You can get a good night’s sleep and still move the needle.

But we all need to do something. We all need to channel our inner Kolo. We all need to find a way to give back and advance our sport.

I’ve just told you the good news. Here’s the better news. When you give back, you can benefit in many different ways. First, you can feel good about advancing the cause, like Kolo feels about Fishing for Life and making fishing accessible to everyone who watches.

You can also advance your business. “Cause marketing” is what they call it, and you’ve seen it in action. When a big company puts its name on a hospital wing or sponsors a good cause they not only get the warm fuzzies, but also have every reason to hope that the effort will return dividends to the brand.

If you sponsor a Little League team, you’re doing a nice thing and hoping it will pay those kinds of dividends, too. You know what I’m talking about here.

I’m biased, but I particularly like the efforts that keep everything within the fishing family — fishing events that benefit fishing-related causes … like Marathon Man’s support of Fishing for Life’s Next Gen Program and the way it supports military families.

Other great causes certainly get some of my money, but when it can stay in the fishing community, that’s a win-win.