I am not one for banging the political (fishing) drum, but there are a lot of us here who spend the majority of our actual sport fishing lives obsessing about that wonderful species we know as the bass. OK, so the current weather is hardly allowing us to indulge that passion much at the moment, but nobody could deny that here in the UK and Europe, all that can be done to protect and look after these fish needs to be done. As I have said before, I do not believe that there can be any "perfect" angling body as such, but the more I learn about the organisation known as BASS (Bass Anglers' Sportfishing Society), the more I feel that grassroots anglers (like me) need to give these kinds of people more and more opportunity to try and make a difference.
I hear all kinds of arguments for and against joining such an organisation as BASS, and I can understand many different points of view. But the simple fact is that a large proportion of our fish stocks are in real trouble (cod in the Bristol Channel anyone ?), and my own personal view is that sitting on the fence and burying our collective heads in the sand is going to get us nowhere. BASS is not a big organisation, but they pack an increasingly strong political punch. They know what they are doing, they are very well connected, and they are doing what they do because they are the same as us. In reality it is a small organisation run and populated by a bunch of bass freaks. Kind of like a lot of us here then. But what humbles me hugely, and quite frankly it also embarrasses me, is that there are people within BASS who are doing a scary amount of unpaid work to try and make a difference when it comes to the future of our bass stocks. You will hardly ever get to hear about these people, for they do not court publicity, and they go about their (unpaid) business in a way which quite frankly astounds me. I had a meeting with a couple of BASS guys last week.
I wish from a personal point of view that I could say that I have been a member of BASS for many years now, but in reality I only joined up this summer at the CLA Game Fair. Like many anglers, I suppose I sat there for too long and thought that any kind of specialist organisation had to be some kind of closed shop to the regular angler (such as me). I am not a club kind of person, but we are at the stage now in the UK when I passionately believe that it does not matter what kind of person you are - the people who are doing all this work for us need to be given as much opportunity as possible to make a change. We can moan all we like about any organisations' rules and regulations, their forums, their competitions, their meetings, whatever you like, anglers can moan about it. We can all stand there and question why we should be spending a bit of money to join a club such as BASS, but these unpaid and unsung people need our help to keep doing what they are tirelessly doing already for the good of our future sport. It costs only £20 a year to be a member of BASS (check here for all the details), and before anybody moans about that, think about the cost of a modern hard plastic lure.The stronger an organisation such as BASS, the more seriously they are taken on the political stage. The stronger collectively that anglers can be, the more seriously they will be taken. Do you see the correlation ?
I apologise for getting on my soapbox here, but anybody who spends a lot of time travelling around the world for their job and gets to see all kinds of fishing, all kinds of fishing related problems, and also all kinds of fishing related success stories is going to form an opinion on where our saltwater fishing in the UK is right now, and which way it is headed in the future. At the very least we should be giving the right people at least a sniff of a chance at making something happen. The days of getting a chance for free are long gone......
The RISE fly fishing film event in Exeter on Monday night was fantastic, and I take my hat off to Nick from Gin Clear Media (see here) for making these films and also for having the guts to organise the UK's first fly fishing film festival. He promises to be back next year with his new film from Iceland, plus various others I am sure - at the end of the main films, we had a ten minute taster of some of the Iceland footage they have shot this summer and it was mind-blowing stuff. Wouldn't it be cool if there was a UK produced short fishing film showing next year ? Do what Nick did - get a video camera, get out there, and teach yourself how to do it. Never has there been a better or easier time to get your material out there into the public domain. I tell you, it gives me a few ideas on doing some proper bass related stuff................if the TV stations won't commission proper fishing shows, surely the only avenue left is to go and do it yourself.
A bit of an update to my working in fishing post from the other day (see here) - I was really taken aback by the numbers of emails I got about this, and I can assure you that all of them have been forwarded on to the right people at the company that asked to see them. Thanks for sending them in to me. Please rest assured that I did not go through the emails or the CVs to check you guys out, for it is none of my business - I simply collected them together and forwarded them on. I have been told that they will be looked at properly from next week, and the company will contact those people they wish to speak to further. I want to wish those of you who applied the best of luck again, and I am so hoping that the open position gets filled by somebody who responded via this blog.