Ask any angler in America about the best place to fish and most of them will tell you about a hidden gem right in their own back yard.
WFN: World Fishing Network, North America's only 24-hour fishing lifestyle network, is posing that question to anglers through a nationwide contest.
WFN's Ultimate Fishing Town USA will win a $25,000 donation to be used toward fishing-related causes, 10 WaveSpin Reels, a 30-minute show on WFN and national recognition.
WFN will begin accepting nominations March 1.
The promotion is being supported by Eagle Claw, manufacturers of fishing gear and tackle in the USA since 1925, and WaveSpin Reels, the only reel with a tangle-free guarantee. Charter Communications is supporting the contest through multiple marketing tactics, as well as on-air, including a free preview of WFN for the month of March in the Northwest region.
In addition, Knology will promote WFN's Ultimate Fishing Town USA in four key markets (Sioux Falls, Iowa; Charleston, S.C.; Panama City, Fla.; and Pinellas Park, Fla.) and run a free preview of WFN in all Knology markets for the month of March. AT&T u-verse will be supporting the contest by broadcasting promo spots on their barker channel.
"No matter if they love to fish in a small rural community or a tourist mecca, we encourage everyone to nominate their favorite fishing spot," said Shauna Gosevitz, senior director of marketing for WFN.
"This promotion gives us, and the participating towns, a great opportunity to profile the places where people love to fish all across the USA. We look forward to hearing their stories and letting the people choose WFN's Ultimate Fishing Town USA."
Last year, when WFN ran a similar promotion in Canada, the tiny fishing village of Port Alberni, B.C., with a population of just 18,000, earned the title of WFN's Ultimate Fishing Town Canada because of their world-class salmon fishing and overwhelming community support. The result, according to the community's tourism board, has been millions of dollars in free publicity and an immediate economic boom in tourism.
Baseball Hall of Famer and avid angler Mike Schmidt, who hit 548 home runs during a remarkable 18-year career, admits that he has probably reeled in more fish than that since his retirement.
Schmidt will serve as the national spokesperson for the promotion, appearing in promotional spots and conducting a media tour to encourage anglers to nominate and vote for their ultimate fishing town.
"When I played baseball I certainly enjoyed being on the road, but there was nothing like my home ballpark," said Schmidt. "Similarly, I love to fish all over the world, but nothing compares to my favorite fishing spots."
How to Nominate Your Ultimate Fishing Town:
People can nominate their town between March 1 and April 8 by visiting www.wfnfishingtown.com.
Nominations may include photos, videos and essays about why your town should be WFN's Ultimate Fishing Town USA.
If a town is already nominated, people are encouraged to add to the nomination with additional photos, videos and essays.
For the preliminary round of voting, WFN has divided the United States into seven voting regions:
PACIFIC: Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada;
ROCKIES: Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado;
SOUTHWEST: New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana;
MIDWEST: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana;
NORTHEAST: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, District of Columbia;
SOUTHEAST: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama; FLORIDA: State of Florida.
Following the nomination period, the first round of public voting will be open from April 12 through May 3.
To help spread the word and encourage voting, WFN will provide a variety of social media tools at the website. The 20 finalists, comprised of the two entries in each of the seven regions with the highest vote totals plus six "wild card" entrants, will advance to the final round of voting from May 10-31.
The results will be announced in June at a ceremony in the winning community emceed by a WFN personality.