In light of the recent division of amateur bass fishing clubs, I thought it essential to offer my point of view on the subject. As a club fisherman, I have a vested interest in the outcome as do each of my club members. We, the club fishermen, are at a collective new beginning in our history.
In my opinion, this squabble boils down to the inability for parties to communicate effectively. When you consider BASS’ five dollar increase demand, Irwin Jacobs’ tirade about Ray Scott, or the Bass Federation’s agenda in this, one item stands out. They lacked the ability to communicate effectively with one another. Each organization had an agenda and each attempted to secure support for their agenda among the masses of club fishermen.
I believe that BASS’ agenda was to thwart the power the TBF, Inc. had created upon its creation. Since BASS was bought by ESPN, the corporate dollar meant more to them than the average Joe Fisherman. Their proposal to TBF, Inc. was fair, but likely came too late for many of the state presidents to consider it. Distrust for BASS/ESPN and its leaders had grown too much. Irwin Jacobs’ agenda was to diminish BASS as the grassroots bass fishing organization. He also decided to diminish Ray Scott’s importance to not only bass fishing’s future, but also its past. I thought his statements were inappropriate, since Ray Scott does not own BASS anymore. In my opinion, Ray Scott has done more for bass fishing than Irwin Jacobs could ever do in his lifetime. Jacobs is not an innovator, a pioneer. He is, to me, someone who rides others coattails and constantly wishes to supplant them. You cannot supplant others by copying them. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
Finally, the TBF, Inc. also had an agenda. Its creed is “Owned by those we serve, dedicated to growing the sport“. But I find it difficult to believe that an agenda was not formed when the TBF was incorporated. When that happened, we found ourselves on a collision course with what is occurring right now. I think many people’s egos got in the way and the voice of many was not heard. Time will tell what we have created, but what is apparent to me is that there is enough blame to go around. There is enough for BASS, enough for the FLW, and for the TBF, Inc.
I will agree that this is the best of times and the worst of times for the club fisherman. We now clearly have a choice between BASS, TBF/FLW, and many other circuits available. But how we arrived at this point is disturbing to me. Disturbing enough to consider fishing only by myself, without an affiliation, and without a club. Maybe its cliché, but sometimes the end does not justify the means. In my opinion, no one should be patting themselves on the back for this situation. No one has anything to be proud of in this state of affairs.
My hopes for the future are simple. I hope that the transition to a divided federation (which we will certainly have) does not weaken its voice. My club is set to decide its affiliation this very evening as I write this article. I hope in the months and years ahead, that communication is the victor in our decision. Without effective communication at the club, regional, state, and national level, we will sadly be in this situation again.