RICK AMSBURY AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
The Rick Amsbury Award of Excellence is presented annually to an
individual(s) judged by the angling community based on their outstanding
performance put forth through the course of the year.
Todd Longley AKA The Rock N Roll Fisherman
Known for his long hair and big heart. A fishing guide on the world famous Red River and Lake Winnipeg since 1999 for giant Channel cats and monster walleye. Director of GENERATION NEXT ANGLER, a not for profit organization that gets kids from all walks of life out fishing. Has won countless awards for working with children in Manitoba. Also teaches fish camps and learn to fish programs for the City of Winnipeg. He raises money through fishing events for the Never Alone Foundation of Manitoba to help people suffering with cancer. Director of KEEPING IT REEL, an event to get kids with life threatening illnesses or disabilities out fishing. A contributor for HOOKED MAGAZINE and has a fishing radio show on NOW COUNTRY 104.7FM.
Pat Pagano, an avid fisherman, started the HANDICAPBLE FISHING DERBY in 2003. The event started with 10 participants and today brings over 350 participants and is the largest derby of its kind. Many local media and authorities have participated in the success of this event raising community awareness and funds in continued support of the ICHA HandiCapable Fishing Derby.
The ICHA HandiCapable Fishing Derby, one of Canada's largest events for HandiCapable individuals, attracts people of all ages from Essex County and surrounding areas to take part in a wonderful day of fishing, community, food, entertainment and friendly competition.
It has attracted celebrities like Italo Labignan, host of the "Canadian SportFishing TV Show" on Sportsnet Network as well as bringing in Clay Dyer, a Pro Fisherman who is proudly HandiCapable himself. Other notable attractions include: Music talent from Music Express, Canada’s Premier Show Band, Magic Show by Attila, Windsor Flyboard, Zoo 2 You, BBQ , Wood-Burning Oven Pizza, French Fries stand, interactive events, RCMP, OPP, Coast Guard, La Salle Police, Windsor Police, Firefighters, MNR, OFAH and over 50 Pro Fisherman who volunteer to help out.
Come join us and see what all the excitement is all about.
Best known as the creator of the Fishing 101 for Women program, Yvonne is a strong advocate of getting women and children outdoors and on the water.
Her vision of the ladies’ program started in 2012 when she first became an instructor at Women’s Outdoor Weekend, an annual event run by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.
As an ambassador with the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, Yvonne promotes National Fishing Week and the Keep Canada Fishing initiative at every opportunity. Yvonne writes for several outdoors publications, participates in a number of fishing tournaments during the season and volunteers her time at kids’ derbies and charity events throughout the year.
Her focus is to contribute to the growth of the sport by increasing female participation and mentorship, so in turn; women will pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation of new anglers.
Bruce Tufts has been a Professor in the Biology Department at Queen’s University since 1990. His main research interests are fisheries biology, conservation and sustainable use of aquatic resources. He is also a passionate angler with family roots on Canada’s East coast where he has spent a lot of time chasing Atlantic salmon with a fly rod. Now that he is a resident of Ontario, he has become a multi-species angler that participates in several bass tournaments each summer. For many years, he has conducted scientific research to maximize the benefits of catch and release, including the best practices for live release at tournaments. His lab’s research was the basis for the development of the Shimano Water Weigh-In System. In addition to almost one hundred scientific publications, Dr Tufts has gone the extra mile to disseminate a wealth of valuable information from his research to anglers over the years via seminars, magazine articles, brochures, video, TV and radio.
BOB & WAYNE IZUMI
Founded in 2000, Fishing Forever is a not-for-profit conservation organization that acts as a funding agency for worthwhile fishing, conservation and outdoor education projects. Funds, raised by anglers dedicated to the preservation of our fishing heritage, are invested to ensure sustainable fish populations for the future. Fishing Forever has raised nearly $500,000 for various fisheries projects throughout Ontario – from small scale fish hatcheries and stocking programs to scientific studies and, most recently, the Lake Ontario Atlantic Salmon Restoration project.
In 2003, Fishing Forever partnered with the Police Association of Ontario and Canadian Tire to develop the Kids, Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days program. With over 50 events per year, to date, over 10,000 young anglers have been able to experience the thrill of fishing.
Dave Mercer’s Casting for a Cure is a non-proﬁt initiative, fully endorsed by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Casting for a Cure was founded in 2005 in honour of Dave’s mother, Ann Mercer. It is the organization’s commitment to raise funds through the angling community to help in the ﬁght to end cancer.
To date Dave Mercer’s Casting for a Cure has raised over $100,000.
Dave’s unique way of promoting this charity, such as his ﬁrst pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game, brings something new to the table.
“OFAH Get Outdoors Program:
In 2001, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) initiated the Get Outdoors Program to provide our youth members with greater access to supervised, hands-on, and fun outdoor heritage activities. The result is a national, award-winning, youth conservation and leadership program, which promotes fishing, hunting, trapping, and outdoor traditions.
Each summer the OFAH invites 250 youth, ages 8-16, from across the province to put down their cell phones, video games, and turn off their televisions for the opportunity to experience the only camp of its kind in Ontario. This camp gives today's youth first hand exposure to conservation-based activities including shoreline fishing, boat fishing, ATVing, archery, canoeing, rifle and trap shooting ranges, and more. New this year, our first winter camp provided the opportunity for 30 youth to learn the basics of ice fishing, try their aim with airgun biathlon, and hone their winter outdoor survival skills.
Entering our 19th year, the OFAH Get Outdoors Program is proud to have provided 5,500 youth participants the opportunity to experience outdoor activities through summer camp, winter camp, leadership conference, and mentored youth hunts. These youth members have and will continue to become future stewards of conservation, and share our passion for fishing, hunting and trapping.”
DARREN JACKO & STEVE VOROS
Due to the overwhelming interest of over 100 students wanting to start a fishing club, EDUCAST, lead by Darren Jacko and Steve Voros was formed over 13 years ago. EDUCASAT provides a safe and friendly place to host over 1,500 students every year from across the province to learn about fishing and the environment. EDUCAST has grown from a single day/120 student event to a two day/750 students per day event. Over 100 volunteers help run the two day event with many local fishing pros teaching students about fishing. EDUCAST has partnered with many organizations to also focus on conversation and the environment including waste management, fish restocking, catch and release programs, species recognition and invasive species. The top qualifiers from the two day event get a chance to do a PRO/AM fishing tournament with some of the top pro anglers in Ontario. They have the chance to experience the sport side of the industry, with the focus on boat safety, ethics, conservation and of course enjoyment of the outdoors.
In 2011, in recognition for his “outstanding contributions to Canada’s Firearms Community,” Garry received the John Holdstock Memorial Award from the Canadian Shooting Sports Association. In 2010, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters awarded Garry with a certificate of merit for his: “many years of dedication, leadership and outstanding work on behalf of anglers, hunters and the outdoors community in the province of Ontario.”
Internationally, Garry’s work has been recognized with a prestigious award from the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities, “Shooting Sports Ambassador of 2005,” in the spring of 2005.
Gun owners and hunters around the world credit him with leading the battle to defend gun owners’ rights.
In February 2014, Garry received Safari Club International’s Legislator of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to a key policy decision maker who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect well-regulated hunting and continued sustainable-use wildlife management. His years of supporting hunting and the shooting sports made him an ideal candidate, and his success in repealing the Canadian long-gun registry has been vital to hunters throughout the country. He is the first Canadian to receive this award.
Thank you kindly - I am very honored. Rick was about as fine a friend as I ever had, we were more like family. I still have his jacket on a chair in my office where he forgot it the last time he was here shortly before he left us. He used to pull into the yard with his boat ready to launch it at my lodge, and I would yell down from my office deck and ask if he had a permit for launching the boat? Rick always answered the same way - "Right here in the cooler - come get one!".
We would often spend an evening in a marvelous stand of old growth white pine near here, having a beer and engaging in some of the most marvelous conversations on fishing, hunting and the future of our favorite sports. It was not uncommon for us to completely lose track of time and not return home until after midnight. Many of the efforts Tom and I work on today have their genesis in those conversations with Huck. Some people simply can't be replaced - Rick was one of them. I miss him every day.
LEO STAKOS & RON JAMES
Each year on Canada Day (July 1) Fish TV with Leo Stakos and Ron James organize and host the Fish TV Celebrity Showdown. This popular event pairs pro anglers with many of their celebrity friends from the NHL, NBA, actors and TV personalities.The money raised through the Fish TV Celebrity Showdown is donated to the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.To date, Leo Stakos and Ron James have raised over $200,000 for this worthy cause.
“BIG JIM” MCLAUGHLIN
“Big” Jim, as he is affectionately known has been an integral part of the Canadian sportﬁshing scene for over 25 years now and shows no signs of slowing down. Having ﬁrst gained notoriety as a tournament angler, “Big” Jim was vaulted into the sportﬁshing spotlight with two Canadian Classic titles along with a slew of tournament victory’s. “Big” Jim has spent numerous hours educating youths in the sport of fishing and participated in charity events in support of the outdoors and in particular fishing.