Lunkerville, the TV show that features real people with real fish stories, announced the official launch of Get Folks Fishing Foundation (GFF), a nonprofit organization. Founded by the show’s creator and host, Michael de Avila, GFF is dedicated to communicating, promoting and furthering the mental and social wellness benefits of recreational fishing on individuals and society.
“No matter how different people’s lives are, it’s amazing how everyone experiences the same feelings when fishing: It’s meditative, exciting, introspective, and social all at once,” explains de Avila. “When I created Lunkerville after 9/11, I wanted to show people how fishing was this easy, fun and accessible stress reliever, and that anyone could do it, even a guy like me, in Manhattan, who didn’t know how to fish. Today, with mental health and social wellness at stake for so many, I’m even more driven to get folks fishing and bring people together to share fishing’s wellness benefits. Starting the GFF Foundation is my way of focusing attention on the importance of mental health, and having my TV show Lunkerville send that message out into the world so people remember – and first-timers realize – that fishing isn’t just about catching the biggest fish or a meal, but something even more important.”
The GFF Foundation was launched at ICAST 2021, along with the new Lunkerville Lure Tank. Tackle companies demonstrated their new lures to potential buyers atop a giant fish-filled aquarium, custom-wrapped with emotion-rich images from the long-running Lunkerville TV series, alongside getfolksfishing.org signage. “The response to GFF and its mission at ICAST 2021 was powerful and moving,” continues Mike d. “People came up to me and shared their personal stories and journeys, explaining how fishing saved them – or, without fishing as an outlet, they might have ended up in a gang; or certainly would not be the success they are today. It was encouraging to see how much our cause resonated with so many.”
Get Folks Fishing Foundation is now calling on private and corporate benefactors to get involved through one or more of its four inaugural platforms:
Lunkerville TV – Everyday anglers from the Lunkerville fan community are featured on the TV series as inspirational, engaging and achievable role models who share their passion for fishing and personal perspective on the outdoors. Individual anglers can submit their stories, pictures and videos on the Lunkerville Facebook Forum. Corporations can support the cause by underwriting all or part of the series’ production, which is broadcast and streamed internationally on Discovery Channel, World Fishing Network, Amazon Prime Video.
Club Lunkerville – Community leaders can join a nationwide network of like-minded anglers who develop after-school fishing programs for kids, and angling clubs for adults, where members can fish together at regional parks and waterways, learn about local conservation efforts while meeting new friends.
cheaptackle.com – An online fishing tackle store makes angling affordable and accessible to all by offering brand name tackle at deeply discounted prices. Manufacturers and distributors of fishing tackle can unload closeout and overstock inventory – all profits benefit Get Folks Fishing Foundation, allowing both corporations and individuals to support the cause.
freetackel.org – GFF helps jumpstart future anglers by providing support through donations of tackle to new fishing clubs, schools, recreational centers and fishing events.
“This is only the beginning,” continues de Avila. “My hope is that when people watch the episodes and witness folks from all walks of life, all thriving from the same feelings that come from recreational fishing – calm, joy, focus, surprise, excitement, camaraderie – they’ll want to experience it themselves. For me, fishing is the great connector that can bring people together. That’s what the social wellness part is all about. I want to get folks together…communicating and understanding each other.”
About Get Folks Fishing (GFF) Foundation
Mission Statement: We believe every human can benefit from the positive effects of recreational fishing on mind and body. We partner with like-minded companies and individuals to communicate this message. GFF is a 501c(3) pending charitable organization. For more information, please visit www.getfolksfishing.org
When Indie film director Michael de Avila hooked his passion for story telling onto his love of fishing, he spawned the documentary fishing series Lunkerville: The show that features real people with real fish stories. Since 2004, the five-time Sportsman Channel Award wining show is still going strong as host “Mike d” continues to cast his line at everyday, recreational anglers, travel to their secret spots, and share their special techniques; making them the expert stars of the day. In his signature laid-back manner, he reels in the camaraderie, the fun and the fish. Lunkerville also hosts one of the most popular Facebook pages for an outdoors TV show. With over half-a-million fan followers, guests are chosen directly from the Facebook group to star in the show. For more information on the show, please visit www.lunkerville.com.
Produced by the American Sportfishing Association, the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) is the world’s largest sport fishing trade show. ICAST continues to be the place where the most valuable business relationships are born, strengthened and celebrated. For more information on the show, please visit www.icastfishing.org.