Joining a Bass Club For The First Time - Do's/Don'ts

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Timothy Hanford

Well-Known Member
May 16, 2001
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I will be joining a new bass club that will officially begin in 2002. The guy heading it up is fed up with clubs h's been a part of and is starting his own. Although he's started organizing everything, the club will not be official until Jan 1, 2002. He wants to make sure his ducks are in a row before doing it.

He's starting a club that is different from other local clubs. It will be a B.A.S.S. sanctioned Federation club that will fish local tournaments too. But more important is the ideas he has that don't include tournaments.

He wants to have several family outings at a local State Park with no fishing. Just time for the families to get together and get to know one another. Not just a see you on teh water on Saturday type of club. He has some great visions for projects we could do to clean up area waterways too.

He is not new to clubs. He made it to the PA State Classic last year for his first year in a Federation club. I've talked to him 2 times so far on teh phone for about 1 1/2 hours each time and he really seems to be sincere about it being more than a tourny club.

I've never joined a club before now because I didn't care for what I saw at the local tournaments.

Waht are some things I should/should not do as a fisherman when fishing tournaments? Again, this is a whole new ball game but it is the type of club I have been looking to join.

Any thoughts and/or comments?
Tim, I have never joined a bass club. I have been involved with similar organizations in other hobbies. I firmly believe it comes down to the talent, character, and leadership ability of the club officers.

If you believe that this founder is well intentioned, and has the skill and energy to do good work in bringing this club to life, it sounds like a good investment of your time. Just make sure you are being reasonably objective in your assessment of the guy. Some folks do a great job of talking about something, but doing is another matter. You won't really know until you see it unfold.

What's the worst that can happen? You join, pay some dues, and if doesn't work to your liking, bail out.
It sounds like this guy is really interested in promoting good values and friendship in with the club. If it's genuine, that's terrific and support him 100%. Personally, I think I may leave my club. This past weekend at our opener I lost my power to trim up at the end of the day. Luckilly it was down and a pushed water the whole way back, but was unable to get my boat out since I would destroy my prop and skeg on the ramp. I was the only lone fisherman in the partner event and tied for 4th. I think a lot of guys were threatened because after weigh-in they all laughed and drove away. Lucky for me, Albany Bassmasters club was also having a tourney there and a couple guys from another club helped get me out. Made our club look real bad. Sincere to anyone out there and especially the 2 guys who stopped from the Albany club. That is what a club is for.
I joind a club (federation) last Jan and am having a blast. The attitude of the club is very dependent of the members in it. I am fortunate in that the guys in my club are very nice guys, good fisherman, and decent human beings. We have tournaments locally and some at other places (we fish St. Clair in July). We also do a bunch of charity for kids and local pond clean-ups.

Things to be wary of: Tournament fishing is very different to pleasure fishing. For example. You are supposed to split the time fishing from the front. Half the day you decide where to fish, the other half the non-boater does. If you fish as a non-boater, get used to being creative to get first crack at the fish while being in back. Otherwise you will always be fishing "used" water. This is called being blue tailed, and it took me several tournaments until I figured out how to deal with this. If your a boater, be aware of your non-boater. Give him some room for his equiptment and a decent shot at the structure.

But like I said, I am having a blast.

Thanks guys for the responses. I will probably only be able to tell what this club is like by being patient and seeing what happens. I am very excited about competing against others but I also look at this as a learning experience. I ama pretty good fisherman but sure could learn a lot.