Henry Gilbey
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The B.A.S.S. AGM - what a fantastic day out

Yesterday was the AGM of the Bass Anglers' Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) and it's open to any of the members to come along, and if the idea of an Annual General Meeting kind of turns you off a bit, then you need to throw those preconceptions out of the window and get along to it next year. I had been asked to come along and do a talk on photographing bass fishing, but really my stuff was a minor part of what was just a fantastic day that flew by far too quickly......

Now that I know a lot more about B.A.S.S. and what they stand for, what they are doing tor the better of our sport, and also the fact that the club is actually made up of a whole load of very keen and friendly bass fishermen, I simply can not understand how any angler with any interest in going bass fishing is not a member of B.A.S.S. It's about the best £20 I have spent for a long time, and I include in that all these shiny lures that have somehow found their way into my possession. Firstly I think there are far too many fishermen out there who don't even know that B.A.S.S. even exists, and secondly when I ask around, some anglers tell me that they think (without even knowing anything about it) a society that is dedicated to bass fishing has to be elitist. Utter garbage. I met a whole load of fantastic people yesterday at the AGM who are just like a load of us here - bass anglers plain and simple. If you go bass fishing and have any interest at all in the future of the sport that we love, then give these guys at B.A.S.S. a proper chance to continue doing what they do best - join up here.

Anyway, back to the AGM - there were over one hundred members gathered together yesterday, and thanks to the Plymouth lads I travelled up with (thanks Mike, more than kind) we got there nice and early and had proper time to do what we all do best before the day got going - yap about fishing. I have said it before, but one of the best parts of my job is getting to meet and talk with all kinds of anglers from all around the world, and the anglers I met yesterday could not have been more friendly or forthcoming. I also got to meet Welsh bass nuts Simon and his son Luke who I know follow this blog - Luke has already had a bass near to 5lbs on a lure !! Nice one, I hope the lures you won in the raffle catch you a few more......

What B.A.S.S. does so cleverly at their AGM is to mix up the stuff that has to be done (nice and quick, very informal) with a whole load of things that are just fascinating - to get to hear more about their Restoration Project, the Bass Management Plan and their logbook scheme was just so interesting and important. It continues to astound and humble me to hear about and meet these people who are doing so much (unpaid and generally unheralded) outstanding work to help protect and improve recreational fishing in the UK. There are some people within B.A.S.S. who deserve to be paid a fortune for what they do (but it's all voluntary, there is no money available), and they also deserve serious recognition from grass roots fishermen like us. Fishing is full of some truly wonderful people, and that is what makes it the best sport in the world.

Jim Hendrick is a professional bass fishing guide from the Wexford area of Ireland (south east), and he gave a really interesting talk about his guiding business and where he thinks he needs to go to keep growing the already excellent service that he already runs. I have heard a lot of very good things about Jim and his guiding, and he puts his lure and fly fishing clients into a whole load of insane bass fishing. Check out his website here and his excellent blog here.

I would like to thank the audience yesterday for not nodding off during my photography talk (and if anybody was asleep, nice one for keeping so quiet !!) - I love doing this kind of thing, and I feel incredibly honoured to have even been asked to come along and do this talk. The room was full of some awesome bass anglers who have caught more big fish than I could ever hope to see, let alone catch myself, and I was asked to help present the certificates and prizes for some outstanding catches. Even better is knowing that those fish were all returned unharmed. The fact that I have done a bit of (minor) TV fishing work always makes me feel a bit strange when I am asked to present prizes to anglers who are just a whole lot more talented than I am at catching fish. I know what TV does, but in reality guys like this just have no idea how much somebody like me respects their pure angling skill. As I said, I felt incredibly honoured to be talking to such an audience.......

I am going to do all I can to go to the B.A.S.S. AGM again next year, and I implore you to firstly join up, and secondly come along and meet the kinds of people I was lucky enough to meet yesterday. In the end we are all just fishermen, whatever we do and whatever we fish for, but getting such a big group off bass nuts of all skill levels together for one day makes for one hell of a fantastic thing to be part of. Personally I wish the day had not gone so quickly.

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