The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) awarded top honors to several members of the professional angling community at its 2020 conference last month. The awards were bestowed to one individual in each of the following categories: Member of the Year, Supporting Partner of the Year, Future Angler Educator of the Year.

Lance Valentine – NPAA Member of the Year – Each year, the NPAA recognizes member contributions to bring awareness to the sport of fishing, enhancing professional skills, angling skills and educating others. Lance Valentine, guide and founder of Walleye 101 ( was the recipient of the award. “Lance continues to be a tremendous advocate for the NPAA and the future of our sport,” says NPAA Executive Director Pat Neu. “There is no doubt that he deserved this honor.” Valentine humbly accepted the award and thanked all members saying, “I promise you it has IGNITED my passion for what I do to levels I haven’t felt in years. I can’t wait for the 2020 season!”

Award Recipient Lance Valentine

Spencer Deutz – Future Angler Educator of the Year – Each year, the NPAA recognizes a member who gives their time, talent and services to create new anglers by educating youth and adults both. As a professional walleye angler in several tournament trails, Spencer is a strong competitor and owner of Deutz Fishing ( He also has a strong passion for educating new anglers, supporting the Future Angler Foundation (FAF) by leading many youth and family fishing clinics around the Midwest. NPAA Executive Director Pat Neu said, “As president of the FAF, I am very aware of the efforts Spencer puts forth to create new anglers.  He does a tremendous job at the Future Angler Events he hosts and as such was an obvious choice to receive this award.”

Award Recipient Spencer Deutz

Yamaha Motor Corporation – Supporting Partner of the Year – Each year, the NPAA recognizes a partner that has displayed outstanding support to our members while contributing to the overall health of the sportfishing industry. Yamaha is the award winner for their efforts in 2019 and has been a Gold-Level supporting partner of the NPAA for nearly a decade. Yamaha Tournament and Pro-staff Director David Ittner accepted the award, citing his pride in Yamaha’s strong partnership with NPAA. “Yamaha and David Ittner continue to support the NPAA and the FAF every year,” said NPAA President Brian Bashore. This is the 8th year in a row they have sponsored the FAF Benefit Banquet held at our conference. That alone is commendable, but David takes it step above by personally engaging at the event to make it a huge success.”

Award Recipient David Ittner