Tom Mahoney is a lifelong resident of Tampa, well respected business man (TA Mahoney Company, Inc.) in the Tampa Bay Area, avid bass fisherman, and President of Bay Area Bassmasters, a Bass Federation Nation Chapter.
The goal of this interview was to gain his perspective and opinions in regards to bass fishing, bass fishing clubs, and the recent turmoil surrounding TBF, Inc. (The Bass Federation, Inc.). Bay Area Bassmasters currently has sixty-three members, and was established in January, 2003.
Tom was tired of the constant bickering and general disagreements on rules, rule changes in the club that he was involved with prior to 2003, and so together with Jeff Baker, the two of them decided to start their own club. The first event took place on Okeechobee with six boats. Tom recalled that he could not believe they were taking six boats to Okeechobee.
Tom explained to me that club rules may only be addressed in writing, and is decided on by the President and the club board at the time it is submitted. “We look at it and if it is a legitimate gripe or request we present it to the club members, if we think it is hogwash we pitch it in the waste paper basket, case closed.”
With the recent rift, and subsequent split between TBF, Inc. and Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, I asked Tom, “Where does your club stand at this time? Have you made your decision or taken a vote as to what direction you will go?”
While sensitive details were discussed on the subject of TBF, Inc., It was promised to Tom Mahoney that details in regards to his personal discussions with TBF, Inc. and the subject matter within that correspondence would not be printed, or divulged. It can be written that there were other factors that played key roles in the final decision to go with Bass Federation Nation, factors that I can and will divulge.
Tom likened the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society’s handling of the TBF, Inc. situation, to that of a company who may make a serious mistake, but in the end, goes above and beyond to either make it right, or sweeten the deal in order to recover losses.
“In the end, I made the decision to align our club with BASS Federation Nation because I could not ask our members to dole out another $70 in TBF, Inc. dues, and secondly, it is my belief that BASS knows they messed up and will fight harder and work harder to make things right again. I think when all of the dust settles on this issue, that those who jumped ship with TBF, Inc. will soon see that sometimes the grass is not always greener on the other side.”
As the hours of conversation went ticking by, it was crystal clear just how passionate Tom Mahoney is when it comes to children and families. His love and passion for life as well as the consideration for others was perfectly clear.
“The Casting Kids Program ™ is a great program, another reason for staying with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society. We have been involved with that program here in Tampa for a few years now and love working with the children.” Tom believes that there is room for improvement on children related programs.
“Children are the future of bass fishing and other outdoors related activities, leaders in our communities, and future industry related consumers. We need them to be a part of this sport and hobby. I would like programs to do a better job of involving under privileged children from inner city, foster care systems, and children’s home facilities. I know it would take a great deal of corporate involvement but it would be well worth it to them in the future.”
It was late, four hours passed by and I still had a handful of questions left. Tom graciously allowed me the opportunity to ask these remaining questions before parting ways.
“What was your greatest accomplishment as an angler?”
“My greatest accomplishment as an angler has to be my winning the 2004 Cracker Boys Classic. I worked my tail off that entire season and it paid off with a huge win!”
Obviously you see a lot of water so you probably have a very good perspective on what the condition of our lakes are in. Do you believe the FWC is doing a good job managing our natural resources?
“Overall I say they are doing a pretty good job. I think more law enforcement officers are needed in certain areas as well as an expansion of slot limits on highly pressured lakes such as Kissimmee and Harris Chain. Next question.” He said with a grin, sipping his sweet tea.
With so many bass clubs, and national bass tournaments being held on the same water, weekend after weekend and day after day, do you or have you seen a decline in the fishery?
“Twenty-seven and a half pounds on Kissimmee with a third place finish in last weeks Accent Marine Tournament, nah, nothing wrong with it other than sudden weather changes. Hot cold, cold hot, and we can not control that.”
What is your favorite lake?
“Kissimmee, because I have had my greatest successes, as well as my greatest failures on that single body of water.”
What is your least favorite lake?
“Lake Harris without a doubt. I have never been able to establish a pattern on that chain of lakes that would hold over from practice to competition. I hate that lake with a passion!”
Through his graciousness and indulgence a lot was learned on many different fronts. Chapters about a man I had only heard about through fishing circles.
Tom invites anyone over to the shop to talk fishing. TA Mahoney Co., Inc. is located at 4990 East Adamo Drive in Tampa on the NW corner of 50th street and Adamo Drive.