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Getting started in a Bass fishing Club

Category : ANGLER’S POV

“Why or Why Not A Bass Club”

The question always comes up in conversation; do you belong to a Bass fishing Club?  When answering, the responses are generally mixed.   Whether you are a novice angler or an advanced angler don’t discount the fact that many of the top pro’s today once got their start fishing with a club and some still are affiliated with them today.

I’ve been involved in the sport since the mid 70’s and first got my experience bass fishing from the back of the boat fishing with a club.  I still remember my first experience fishing out of a 70’s model 16’ Monarch Bass Boat.  It was a small 12 boat tournament on Lake Don Pedro, and I remember myself and my boater each caught a limit that day using 6” red ring worms by Mann’s.  My limit gave me 2nd place and a trophy and a small check that I used to help upgrade my gear and buy more tackle.   I remember after that experience, I was hooked into the sport from that day forward.  I spend my Friday nights and Saturday’s on the water instead of at the movies or parties like many others my age.  I remained in the club for 3 years before my job took me a far.  Even though I didn’t have a boat at the time, tournament circuits back in the late 70’s and early 80’s still offered draw tournaments with the opportunity to fish as a non-boater.  But, as year’s passed many tournament circuits begin to transition into a team circuit format, and I begin to look again for a club to remain active in the sport.  Realizing you need to have a good partnership to fish as a team, I begin to look at a club to gain more than just a fishing partner on weekends and tournaments.

In the late 80’s, with my working career in full swing, family and home responsibilities, I sought out for another club.  Still with no boat at the time, I realized finding a strong partner to fish regularly who had a boat was key to keep myself active in the sport I desired and passionate second to my wife and family.   I ended up finding a start-up club mainly with adults that had careers, family much in the same situation like me.   The club small at the time grew from as few as 15 members to as many 75 at one point.  The club had monthly tournaments which began with as little as 8 teams and grew to as many as 15-20 teams.  Many of the members also fished other team format circuits outside the club.  But, as the club evolved so did the anglers, the vast personalities, and the difficulties of running the club at a level to please every member.   Over the years, many members left to pursue the next level, and others do to the political agendas or the diverse personalities which came along with the transition.   However, what wasn’t lost were the friendships and the fishing family many of us gathered over the years that still exist today.

In the early 90’s I finally purchased my first boat and began fishing both club tournaments and team tournaments regularly again.  I used the club to learn and share information to help me succeed in local team tournament events. Many of my yearly partners and my existing partners today came from the club level.  Since the club I help found in the late 80’s, I have rotated in and out.  It’s been over 30 years since my first membership dues were paid in the club, but I still renew my membership each year.  I renew my membership for fellowship today from the friendships I found and I still find new friends from time to time from the new members coming and going. What hasn’t been lost in the club is the common foundation to try to keep it healthy for the common wealth of the active members.

I don’t believe a club is for everyone.  It involves leadership and often leadership that are not often appreciated with the devotion necessary required to put into it.   A club with any size, the leaders must deal with a diverse set of personalities from members that often don’t agree.  A club also has a wide range of experience levels from individuals just starting in the sport to advanced and pro anglers.  In addition, competition at any level can bring out the worst and the best of an individual.  However, looking back today, what I gained from the club was not my fishing experience but the many friends I call part of my family.   Today many have moved away and others have stayed in contact and we still share emails, dinner, attend functions outside of fishing.  When we enter local tournaments against one another we share information to help us all succeed.

I can’t tell you if a club is right for you. But, before you say yes or no, research the clubs carefully to find what the club is offering to you and what you can offer the club, not what the club can do for you.  Try contacting a pro on Facebook and find out how they got involved in the sport.  You may or may not be surprised.

Happy fishing and keep your line tight.
Author’ Steve Eason