Well here it is my writing debut. My name is John Henning and I have been honored to be appointed as the new Conservation Director for the Pennsylvania Bass Federation. I appreciate the officers and president’s confidence in me to handle the job. I would like to start out by letting you know more about me and my experience. First I grew up like most, playing in any local creek or pond I could find, no matter where I was. I lived a quarter mile from Whites Road Park (creek) until I was seven. Then I moved crossed town and less than 100 yards away from where the infamous Wissahickon Creek comes out of the ground. I was always in that creek, bringing home buckets of critters, “pet” crayfish and minnows to try to interact with. I fished for whatever would bite at the little falls under the Rt63 Bridge, including snapping turtles. Long story short, like most of us, fishing is my sport. Studying the waterways and its inhabitants was my fascination.
I started tournament fishing in 1995, by joining Trailer Hook Bass Anglers, a B.A.S.S. affiliated club, in Bucks County. It was a sizable club of about 30+ members. During my time there I served as the Sponsorship Chairman soliciting and negotiating with local sponsors to support the club and its protected children fishing program. I also had the responsibility of designing and maintaining the club banner which promoted all the sponsors. I also qualified for 1997 club team, fishing the Eastern Regionals and PA state championship. My boater partner and I fished the E. PA and NJ A.B.A circuit from ‘96-2000. I fished some districts back then and took a trip to Santee Cooper, SC one year. In 1999 I was drawn to fish in the Potomac Bassmaster top 150 on the amateur side. I fished with Dave Mansue, Bud Pruitt, Norio Tanabe, Randy Blauket, and Mickey Bruce. I also road back with Mark Menendez, when Mickey and I broke down on the final day; He had 15lbs+. Lastly, I tried my hand at a few Redmans in 2000 and called it quits after we bought our house that summer.
I had not fished more than 3-4 times with my two kids over the years. They were still young, and I was trying to figure out how to go fishing without getting completely sucked back in. Summer of 2014, I heard a commercial on the radio for the Elites coming to the Delaware. I thought it was a spoof or joke and could not be true. I called an old THBA friend Bob Lengyel, who is the President of Bux-Mont Bassmasters, in Montgomery County. He confirmed what I had heard and invited me to a club meeting. I went to the meeting and joined. No brainer there. I also went to the Elite Tournament weigh-in 3days straight with my son. Since then, I have fished club tournaments, and Walmart BFLs in the Northeastern Division. I ended up 25thoverall for the year, and qualified for the division 1 regional on the co-angler side. I know I have met many of you at the district 1 tournaments or at this past years PA State championship at Raystown. I have also volunteered at the Quad State SAF tournament and the youth/junior tournament last year. I worked as a volunteer at the Elites series on the Chesapeake Bay last summer. I’m also a committee member and assistant Boy Scout leader in my son’s troop. We do a stream cleanup and road clean up every year for some of our badge requirements.
To finish this up, I love fishing, especially bass fishing like the rest of you. I also like the outdoors and the beautiful places we get to see and explore. I may be a conservation director but I’m not a radical activist. In other areas of my life, I have been called an ambassador because I’m able to see multiple sides and get opposing sides to come to an agreement. I want to preserve and protect our resources, but it has to be done with a level head and logic. I will also be looking out for us as bass tournament anglers as well. Too many times we are the target of negative statements and said to be the cause of negative impacts on bodies of water. I’m going to try to maintain and promote all the positive things we do. Look for more postings on conservation topics to come. I will be getting updates from our neighboring states as well. New York just changed some regulations. Maryland is making a few changes and proposing some big ones for the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac area. Please keep an eye out for this. I personally don’t support this new proposed regulation…..more to come on that in the next post. I look forward to another great next season and meeting more of you.
Thanks again, John Henning