For recreational fishing industry professionals ranging from tournament anglers and guides to tackle shop staff, service crews and industry representatives, the National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) Annual Conference is a special event that truly delivers on its promise. Following a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns, NPAA is going all out to make the event’s return a smashing success.
The organization has selected sunny Fort Myers, Florida, to host the conference January 6 through 8, 2022. Member’s Only Registration begins at 7 a.m. (CST) on October 5 and continues through October 6. Open registration begins at 7 a.m. (CST) on October 7. (Note: For those requiring discounted room blocks, the code to access the room black will be e-mailed with your Conference Registration Confirmation.)
“We’re putting together a blockbuster event to be based out of the Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport – Town Center,” states NPAA’s president, Patrick Neu. “We are thrilled with the central location – just 20 minutes from sandy Fort Myers beach – plus the amenities, conference rooms and dining possibilities. The hotel and conference center are built next to a lake and can accommodate 225 attendees.”
According to Neu, there’s no better location to host the NPAA’s Annual Conference than Florida. “This state leads the nation in recreational fishing license sales, as well as freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities,” he points out. “With the early January timing, great fishing opportunities and plenty of attractions nearby, we expect to see some of the country’s top anglers and industry representatives at this event.”
Which is exactly why you need to attend. The NPAA Conference features business-related educational seminars, networking opportunities, partner booths and product demonstrations. It is a key component of the NPAA platform, which exists to help members grow their professional angling careers and run successful industry businesses. The event will also host a Benefit Banquet for the Future Angler Foundation (FAF), which introduces millions of potential new anglers and boaters each year to the thrill and fun of sportfishing and boating.
In addition to superior networking opportunities, sportfishing advocacy and promoting entry into the sport, NPAA also offers a monthly member newsletter, a weekly industry NewsBLAST, and access to significant discounts on gear and services provided by many of its nearly 80 supporting partners.
“Simply put, joining the NPAA and attending the Annual Conference are essential if you are serious about making a living as a true fishing professional,” says Neu. “Having our conference in Florida should be very inviting and is representative of our ever-growing nation-wide professional membership. The conference is expected to sell out quickly, so sign-up by Oct. 9thor earlier to keep from missing out on this year’s event.”
Long-time professional crappie angler, and owner of CrappieNow and CatfishNow on-line magazines, NPAA member Dan Dannenmueller agrees with Neu’s assessment. “Being an NPAA member is an honor,” he says. “This organization is all about teaching professionalism. Attend the conference and you’ll rub shoulders with successful professionals in our industry while making yourself a better angler, better businessman and better person. To be a pro, you need the right tools, and attending the Annual Conference will help you acquire them. The camaraderie and unity within this organization is unsurpassed. You’ll love the seminars, meet industry leaders and build lifetime memories here.”
Michelle Kilburn, Senior Manager Competitive Angling at Mercury Marine, also stresses the importance of joining the NPAA and attending the Annual Conference. “It’s a great place to network with professionals and potential partners in the recreational fishing community,” she says. “NPAA also advocates for our industry and keeps us aware of important trends, legislation and environmental concerns that might affect us. Whether you’re looking for professional development and skills to grow your business, or to make some new friends in the industry, NPAA is an awesome resource to achieve your goals.”