The Death Of Bass Clubs In R.S.A.

SA Bass - - Sa Bass - Kevin Lof­st­edt*

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).

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