The Death Of Bass Clubs In R.S.A.
It seems that club fishing is doomed to become the “Ugly Sister” to competition fishing in South Africa. I belong to a club, and if the truth be told, I am the first to admit that my participation has left a bit to be desired. I ask myself why? This is what I believe is at the core of the “Death of Club Fishing”.
Some of the other activities causing a decline in club fishing are the unbelievable amounts of “alternate events” on offer. Some of these include. The SA BASS Cast-for-Cash tournament trial, EBASS, divisional fish-offs, regional fishoffs, interprovincial fish-offs, and then there’s the attempt to create camaraderie with inter club fish-offs and internal club championship tourneys. On any given weekend, there is always one of these going on, or practice for one of these. This of course is no one’s fault, but is the inevitable natural progression of things. The solution? I don’t know! But hopefully by putting it out there we can come up with ways to make this all work. Maybe you’ve got to award and add points at Provincial Level Scores that promote fishing at club Level. In other words, if you support your club by paying subs (which, as far as I know, is a requirement to join SABAA) and you participate by fishing “X” amount of in-house comps, then for each in-house, we should maybe award two points toward your provincial and or regional scores. If not, then the question begs asking why you need to be a club member to join SABAA? The situation as it stands now is untenable, and is, in my opinion, not sustainable. The whole set up from the juniors upward seems to pivot around a few selfless dads to give up vast amounts of their own fishing time in order to promote their son or daughter’s fishing career. As a by-product of this, they (the fathers) then indirectly become the mentors to the whole junior team. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing, but I remain convinced that there must be a better way. One thing that must be addressed is the financial input (sponsorships) from large, medium and small tackle suppliers. Also let us not overlook that same input from boat and motor manufacturers and or suppliers. They>> have a moral obligation to put their money where our mouth is. At the end of the day, club’s need to get creative in the way that they handle the core issues in running a successful club. It benefits no-one if the club is simply a meeting place to discuss regional or divisional and other competitions not directly associated with club affairs. I’m not for one minute implying that one aspect of the sport is more important than the other, but I do have to say that I find it a bit disingenuous for those involved at their respective levels to feel they are entitled to full support from their clubs, when in effect many “ordinary” members wishes seem to be deemed less important than the “national or provincial” agendas. This is usually evident when in-house venues are decided. These are chosen so as to be of benefit to regional and provincial fishermen and women. So, what’s wrong with that?
I’ll tell you. If the venue is chosen and it’s not where next week’s regional is, those regional fishermen opt to practice for “their” event, as opposed to attending the inhouse. Subsequently, club in-houses then become a tool for supporting divisional fishermen and women. Is this right? I don’t know. What do you think?
At the end of the day this is a very difficult situation, and all need to come together to find a solution. As things stand at this time, clubs are on “life support” and I don’t know how much longer they can survive.
Words of wisdom:
“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind” Joyce Meyer.
*Kevin Lofstedt is a regular writer and a well known veteran bass angler with three times Southern Gauteng Colours since 1985. He is also the main founder of Clearwater Bassmasters Bass Chapter (1994).