(May 18, 2017) Isle, Minn. — The Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance (MLSA) along with corporate partner Scheels have teamed up to offer bass anglers incentives to “Free the Fighter” during the 2017 Mille Lacs fishing season. What’s the bait, you ask? Getting on the board, the Free the Fighter Trophy Board that is. Any angler with a personal best smallmouth bass 17” and up, caught and released, are eligible for the board, but any 22”or longer trophy released qualifies for an extra special tribute. The prize closet is stocked with Scheels gift cards and discounts on a custom-made smallmouth full-size replica art prints along with up to 22 complimentary commemorative art prints.
Getting on the board is easy, just visit MLSA’s website at www.millelacssmallmouthallianc
“These are beautiful, full-size smallmouth bass replica prints with the angler’s name, date, lure and lake commemorated,” said Jim DaRosa, President of the MLSA. Quality printed artwork is suitable for framing. “It’s a great legacy gift for a special moment on the water.”
Memorializing a trophy catch is important, and preserving the memory through a catch and release keepsake is better for the fishery. This all ties to the fundamental marketing message core to the MLSA organization: Free the Fighter. “We have billboards going up around the lake this year and we’ll continue with our newspaper and radio messaging, too,” continued DaRosa. “It’s important to release these big old fish.”
The artistic print approach is something many anglers prefer over a taxidermy mount or even a resin replica. “It’s often easier to find a place in one’s home or office for a framed piece of art,” said George Liddle, Vice President of MLSA. “It lasts longer than either a skin-mount or a replica. Most important, it keeps these fish around to fight another day.”
“We couldn’t do this without our corporate sponsor, Scheels,” said DaRosa. “They stepped up in a big way to provide this incentive.”
“The Mille Lacs Smallmouth Alliance is doing an exceptional job of leading the effort to protect the world class fishery and we're happy to support in any way we can,” said Rob Yule, Store Leader at the Scheels St. Cloud-area store.
Membership is required to join the Free the Fighter Trophy Board, although it is allowed to join the MLSA and submit an entry at the same time. “We want all anglers on the lake—members and non-members alike—to remain mindful of releasing the big ones,” DaRosa added. “Of course, we think a $20 membership is something every angler on Mille Lacs can get behind to provide us with the resources to bring our message forward.”
The MLSA website is www.milleleacssmallmouthallian