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The Fisherman and Steiger Craft Boats have launched a new Youth Angler Showcase column to showcase young angler in the magazine starting June 1.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.
Young Aiden Lapinski, son of New England managing editor Toby Lapinski, is one of the lucky American youth growing up in a hardcore fishing family; this summer The Fisherman would like to see more of these kids out doing what they were born and raised to do!

The Fisherman launches new Youth Angler Showcase starting June 1, 2017.

I was talking with a father and his teenage son over lunch recently about, what else, fishing.

The young man is a pretty sharp kid who shoots a lot of video to share his fishing exploits on social media. His exuberance with fishing and conservation caught the eye of a few folks who had seen his picture popping up in posts, which has led to him working with a few manufacturers to put some of their products to the test, while also becoming a young ambassador with a regional Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs (HOFNOD) campaign designed to introduce more kids to the joys of fishing.

This past weekend, AJ was one of a number of kids competing in the 26th Annual Governor’s Cup fishing classic along the Jersey Shore at Island Beach State Park. While this surf tournament has always been about kids and families, this year a new category was launched featuring skilled teams made up of high schools with organized fishing clubs.

In the first of what many hope to be a regular competition for high school clubs - one that perhaps leads to even more scholastic fishing events in the future - the team from Lacey Township High School narrowly edged Manasquan High School in the Governor's Cup on May 21, 2017.

Imagine reading boxscores in your local newspaper’s sport section every week to find striped bass tallies and leaderboards for schools with fishing teams, just as they do with baseball, softball and lacrosse?

Which brings me back to that lunch with AJ and his dad; while picking over a plate of fried flounder, the young fishing addict looked me dead in the eyes and asked if we had ever thought about putting together a Junior edition of The Fisherman Magazine. I paused for a second, put down my own crab cake sandwich and said simply, “why on earth would we do that?”

His jaw dropped a bit at first, until I explained. “The Fisherman is about you just as much as it’s about your dad here, in fact some of our writers are barely older than you are!”

Truth, some of this next generation is hardcore into fishing, and they’re getting it done (sometimes much more successfully than a few of us fogies care to admit)!

We all hear people talking about kids and technology; video games, snapgram, instachat, all that stuff us old people hardly pay any attention. But while folks say all this high-tech stuff is keeping kids from experiencing the finer things in life, like fishing, it’s really just giving kids the ability to share their experiences instantaneously with the world. And like I told AJ, The Fisherman Magazine via print, our website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, and yes, even Instagram, is already being used by a whole lot of hardcore anglers of many age groups.

And that’s why we want to help kids and families share those experiences with others; starting in June, we’ll be showcasing that next generation of young men and women, boys and girls, who are out there getting in done this season. Fresh or salt, we’re looking for the very best photos to share with readers in our Youth Angler Showcase, a new editorial gallery presented by The Fisherman and Steiger Craft which runs from June 1 through September 30.

But we need your help putting it together!

Capture the excitement of your child on camera while fishing, catching, even releasing, and email over to us at info@thefisherman.com. Starting in June, we’ll select some of the very best photos to publish in the gallery. And as a token of our appreciation, kids who have their photos featured in The Fisherman will be sent a t-shirt and collection of fishing books from The Fisherman Library.

Do kids still read books? Of course they do, when they’re all about fishing!

Youth angler must be 18 or under, and a photo release form must also be submitted with those photos in order to run. Prints and printed copy of the release can be sent to Youth Angler Showcase, 14 Ramsey Rd, Shirley, NY 11967, or again by emailing both photo and release form to info@thefisherman.com. And be sure to let us know which edition – New England, Long Island/Metro New York, or New Jersey/Delaware Bay – you read. Hey, just like those tournament kids out there, our regional editors are a bit competitive too; there’s a crab cake and flounder lunch on the line to see which of our editions get the most submissions!

Would be great too to see some of those local high school fishing clubs getting involved too; we’d love to share some of those competitive shots coming in to the Youth Angler Showcase this season – perhaps challenge one another to see who gets the glory, the t-shirt and the books (don’t worry, there’s no quiz involved!)

Fishing is an amazing way for kids to enjoy the great outdoors and have a fun and rewarding day with family and friends; you can put down the cellphone long enough to get a rod and reel in their hand, but keep it close at hand to snap that award-winning shot for The Fisherman Magazine.

And if you need help with emailing it or sharing later on Facebook, ask your kid for help - that's what this old fogy does!

Download Photo Release Form.