by Ed Lee
Every now and then in the world of competitive sports an event is created that captures the imagination of its participants and fans so resolutely that it becomes an instant mainstay of the sport. And, so it was with the first Redfish World Championship – the Redfish World Series. The maiden voyage of the RWS began in 2019 and it was an instant triumph for the anglers, the fans, the sponsors, and the sport itself. With the first Redfish World Championship the competitive redfishing world was changed forever.
The RWS did not rest on their laurels though. The owners quickly expanded from a tiny LLC with a single event to a company conceived, designed, and built to achieve the lofty goal of uniting what has historically been a fragmented, undisciplined, and disjointed sport. With multiple tours, trails, and events and without leadership, cohesive management, or mission statement competitive redfishing has languished in relative obscurity for over 20 years.
In just one year the RWS has become a charity-supporting 501(c)(3) organization, installed a Board of Directors, created a fair and equitable national ranking system for the anglers, and fashioned a National Redfish League to promote the organization, building, and maintenance of a cohesive and unified sport.
The RWS and NRL are now on pace to revolutionize and legitimize competitive redfishing. The entire organization is based on the belief that In order to grow, prosper, and attain longevity and success, a sport must have a strong central organization to generate and oversee the rules, management, and promotion of that sport. This is the premise that will forge a solid and consistent base for both endemic and non-endemic sponsors and partners.
But nothing of the magnitude and importance of the RWS happens unaided. Endemic partners are a necessary ingredient for success and some of the big names in the industry immediately saw the value and supported the inaugural event.
One of those big names is Mercury Marine. From the beginning Mercury has been a major partner with the RWS. As a leader in the marine outboard engine industry, Mercury has always supported significant events in the world of competitive angling. It was no different with the RWS. They recognized the importance of the mission behind the RWS and lent their support and name to the endeavor.
In fact, the event far exceeded everyone’s expectations and has now become the most sought after and coveted invitation in the history of competitive redfishing.
After over twenty years as a disorganized, broken, and amateurish sport, competitive redfishing has been transformed and legitimized. We are now witness to the birth of a genuine professional sport and industry rising from the ashes of poor beginnings. This is now a sport that will continue to grow and flourish thereby providing anglers, fans, and industry alike with enjoyment, opportunity, and the promise of an important and rewarding future.