President - Wil Newlin

Wil Newlin is the co-founder of Bass Unlimited Foundation, and his passion for fishing started at a young age on the gravel banks of a family members strip pit. Fishing from sunrise to sunset was a normal summer day while on break from school. As with many young men growing up in Indiana, Saturday nights were reserved for family trips to watch dirt sprint car racing. Often while fishing and between bites Wil would be dreaming of becoming a sprint car driver himself. Eventually the dream became reality and he became a professional non-wing sprint car driver. In spite of a late introduction to the sport Wil "The Thrill" accumulated over 40 feature victories at race tracks located in the Midwest. It was his aggressive style of racing early in his racing career, which quickly earned him the nickname "The Thrill". Unfortunately for sprint car racing fans, Wil’s racing career ended prematurely in 2005, due to head and neck injuries he received from a racing accident in July of 2005.
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However, as Wil was recovering from his racing injuries, and knowing that his racing career was all but over, it was Wil’s supportive wife Carol who actually began his tournament bass fishing hobby. She purchased their bass boat, and entered them both into a local bass team tournament. Wil quickly was hooked once again on fishing. In 2006, Wil joined a local bass fishing club and quickly realized the friendships among bass anglers was wonderful. Wanting to promote the sport, he started running team bass tournaments for two amateur fishing organizations in Indiana and Illinois in 2012. While competing with his friends in bass fishing tournaments, Wil realized that very few lakes could support 20 boat tournaments and still allow each team to catch a limit. It was at this point, that Wil recognized that the majority of public bass fishing waters needed assistance and additional funding to improve the sport of bass fishing. In 2013, Wil began to pursue his wife’s vision of Bass Unlimited Foundation, with a mission to “provide resources for conservation, preservation and restoration of public accessible waters for anglers of today and for future generations”.

Visionary - Treasurer – Carol Newlin

Carol Newlin is the visionary and co-founder of Bass Unlimited Foundation. Her fishing experience can be traced back to a young age, fishing on the sandbars of the Eel River with her father and sisters. Fishing on those hot summer days before the convenience of air-conditioning was a welcome retreat. After all, they would end up down river swimming and cooling off, to the displeasure of their father, because they were making too much noise. As a young country girl growing up in Indiana, often fishing in the evening was a welcome summertime activity, enjoying the light of the lantern and sharing stories with her sisters. Her idea for Bass Unlimited Foundation can be traced, to attending a conservation banquet with her husband. While she never hunted much, she did enjoy the atmosphere, food and prizes offered at many of the conservation banquets.
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Wanting to surprise her husband, by taking him to a conservation banquet, with a freshwater fishing theme, she began browsing the internet, looking for a non-profit foundation solely dedicated to improving fish populations in lakes and reservoirs through proven conservation practices. To her surprise, she was not able to locate such a non-profit foundation. Carol realizing the need to improve fishing in public accessible waters, and never afraid to accept a challenge, she shared her vision of Bass Unlimited with her husband and together they began their mission to start a non-profit foundation, solely dedicated to improving and enhancing the fishing experience enjoyed by millions in the United States.

Secretary – Dave Pleus

Dave is a lifelong fisherman and outdoorsman. He’s lived in Indiana his whole life and has seen firsthand the decline in public fisheries both as a recreational angler and a tournament angler. He’s a retired military veteran and has been involved in racing for the last 30 years as a driver and crew chief.

Dave lives in Farmersburg, Indiana with his wife Lorraine and has three daughters, a grandson and granddaughter. After a career in military and civilian law enforcement he is currently working as an automotive service advisor.

Board Member – Jim Vanzo

Jim Vanzo is a member of the board of directors of Bass Unlimited. As a young boy I used to spend most of the summer at my grandparents home in Clay county IN. They had a nice pond that I spent most of my time at. Grandmother used to say I would rather fish than eat! I have a great passion for bass fishing and love the competition. I was involved in truck pulling for about 15 years. Started small with a street stock truck and worked my way into a pro stock. I have pulled in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee and made many friends along the way. After selling out of the truck pulling, the next day I purchased a bass boat and have been hooked ever since. I have been fishing tournaments for about 20 years. I have seen many changes in the sport some good and some not so good. I have my own business which I have owned for 10 years. I have fished from Florida to Canada also fished many team series and still do today. I know there is a need for our lakes to do better and I believe Bass Unlimited will be a big step in the right direction.

Board Member – Josh Huxford

Josh Huxford grew up fishing at a young age in local farm ponds and strip pits. Later he wanted to expand his fishing knowledge to larger lakes. In doing so, he joined a local bass club and quickly found out; that it was very different. The experience was good and bad. Good in the fact; that he was able to fish with knowledgeable and experienced fishermen. Bad in the fact; that the large lakes in this area needed help with quantity and the quality of fish.

Over the past few years Josh has been building his business at Edward Jones and growing his family of now 3 girls. While he has been focused on business and family recently, he had not forgotten that fishing in public accessible waters in Indiana, needed assistance. In an effort to help improve fishing in Indiana, as well as other states. Josh joined Bass Unlimited Foundation as a member and became a member of the board of directors. He looks forward to volunteering his time, while applying his professionalism and business experience to help promote the mission of Bass Unlimited. His ultimate goal is to keep others in the future, from becoming discouraged in the wonderful sport of fishing.

Board Member – Bob Speers

Bob is a board member of the Bass Unlimited Foundation in a role which brings his unique experience in web marketing. His career included e-commerce marketing and development for several companies as well as forming his own web development company.

Having grown up in Wisconsin his passion for fishing came at an early age and eventually led to tournament bass fishing after moving to Indiana. After fishing a few years in tournaments and being a big fan of Major League Fishing Bob decided to form “Indy League Fishing” that host’s Major League Fishing style tournaments using the very same format with real time scoring and penalties. Learning about Bass Unlimited he realized that Indy League Fishing style tied right into some of the same goals of conservation and preservation of the sport. In the ILF / MLF format handling and treatment of the fish caught is a big part of our common goals.
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For example in our format Anglers are accessed penalties for mishandling any fish caught or released. Fish cannot touch anything in the boat including the Angler, nets are not allowed and the fish must be released below the gunnel of the boat. Fish are weighed immediately after being caught; the weight is recorded and the fish is released right where the fish was caught. Fish do not go in a live well. Seeing the passion of other members and our common goals led Bob to becoming involved in the Bass Unlimited Foundation.