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I am looking at joining a Bass Club and fishing some tournys this year. I have never done either before. At this point, even though I own a boat, I plan to fish non-boater for the first several tournys. My questions are: What should I expect from a club, what are some things I need to make sure I don't do as a non boater, what are some things that can help make this experience a good one, and what are some negitives I need to be aware of ? Any info, advice, or comments would be appreciated. I have been assured by the person who asked me to join that it is a good club with a bunch of good guys but I have heard horror stories about some clubs in the area and want to avoid the pitfalls. :shrug:

Gary
 

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Clubs of any type are as good as the folks who make them up. Bass clubs tend to be a good ole boy pecking order, where the top 10 are held at some level of esteem by the members and it takes a little time to become a member of the herd. Just need to sit back and determine who's on first and what, if any, politics are involved to become accepted. I wouldn't expect too much knowledge to be shared, as knowledge leads to the upper level top 10 ranking.
To learn tournament fishing you may want to enter open draw tournaments where top pro's and amateurs are paired. The cost of these are reasonable and you will learn a lot fast in that environment.
We have lots of tournament fishermen and women on this board and they will give you some good advice.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Tom. I apperciate the input. I have always been a weekend lunker hunter and have just gotten to the point of considering a club. It may be that I find that it isn't my "cup of Joe" but I wanted to make sure that if I went on this adventure, especially as a non-boater at first, I wouldn't do anything bone-headed that would p.o. my boater. I do understand the politics of some of these groups and frankly there is one club in our area I wouldn't even consider due to their reputation. Again, thanks a lot and if anything else comes to mind--lay it on me.

Gary
 

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My advice is to use your boat get in have fun. Go fishing learn what you can and make it a fun experience. Sounds like the club has one decent member to ask if you want to join. Club meetings suck theres is no other way of putting it. I have belonged to four different clubs and every club meeting turns into a bitch session. Its hard to make everyone happy and someone is not gonna be whether it is over the schedule the rules or the entry fees. I try to stay out of all of it. I help out my share with the fundraisers and weigh ins and when I think something needs to be said I say it. I let my fishing talk for me. Its fun to beat the guys that do all the crying. Good luck and have fun and keep us updated on what happens. P.S. This is just my 2 cents. Drew
 

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I think being in a club is pretty good for the most part. Since you want to go as a non-boater to start with you can take advantage of this IF you get paired with people that are pretty good. I watch what they do ( where they cast , how they work a lure ) I will even ask questions.
Now, im sure there are jerks that WONT help you out, but I have yet to find them in my club.

Something else I like about being in a club, I get to fish alot of lakes that I probably wouldnt go to other wise.

Like what was said up above about the meetings.I dont care for them to much , there can be some bickering for sure because you cant please everyone. I just go for the pizza and to get my points for the meeting lol.

After a few months in our club, I started getting involved more. I made a website for our club and maintain it.
 

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Otter, Membership brings responsibility; you must ask yourself several questions.
1. Does your personality lend itself to being part of a group? If not you will not be happy.
2. You must understand the reason you are joining a club. Is it because a friend says it is a cool club with a lot of great guys. If you want to keep him as a friend check it out for yourself on a trial basis. Most clubs will allow you to attend meetings and fish as a guest angler before committing to membership.
3. More importantly are you willing to help others to learn the enjoyment of BASS fishing. Can you learn from others as well as sharing your knowledge?
4. Do you have the time to go to the meetings, to fish the tournaments, and to help with the clubs community projects?
5. Are you financially able to cover the cost of club dues, Federation dues, tournament fees and etc. There are benefits to membership especially if the club is affiliated with the Federation. There are subscriptions to B.A.S.S. Times, a monthly newspaper that contains articles relating to tactics and techniques, conservation topics, and coverage of the professional tours. You also have the ability to fish larger more organized tournaments where a few are lucky enough to fish their way to the Bassmaster's Classic.

A few don’ts
• Don’t worry about making your boater angry. Just be yourself.
• Don’t violate his fishing water.
• Don’t carry your whole arsenal of tackle and limit your Rods to no more than 5.
• Don’t forget to offer to pay him for boat expenses
• Don’t knock off his10lb fish with the net even if he is a Jerk

Like others have said throughout this post, if you decide to join a club have fun. Keep your eyes open for new learning’s, and patterns. With the right attitude you will gain new friends, new experiences and new techniques. Oh yeah, don’t forget to share with your Basshole buddies. I know this is long winded, but I hope it helps
 

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I fished with a club for a while, and here's some advice. First, everybody has their own style of fishing. So if you are fishing non-boat, be ready to addapt to the boater. Second, the bait monkey will work overtime if you let him when you are starting off. You gotta have this or that for next weekend's tourny. This stuff can add up quick. One new rod/reel, 5-6 cranks, popular worm color for the lake, gotta have lure(that never catches jack). Third, RESPECT the boater. You own a boat, so this will be easy for you. Just act like you would want someone to act on your back deck, and have fun out there on the water. Thats a bucks worth of advice from a two-penny mind rite there.
 

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The last 3 clubs I joined all had many things in common, none of which compared to the "good ole" days 20-30 years ago. Back then we were mostly hunters during hunting season, anglers the rest of the year, regular country boys and some businessmen. One common problem was newcomers just didn't have a seat in a boat until someone else joined needing a partner. Being invited in implies the guy inviting will likely be your fishing partner. The regular buddies tend to stick together unless fishing a tournament they can't control, requiring a random draw, pro-pairing or whatever. Each had rules about that, but when all of them ignore those "little" pesky rules, they are worthless rules. Some have fished together in every local tournament for decades. I had to bring my boat from the git-go in all three, and if I had a partner it was the bottom guy on the list. I had guys that were noisy, clumsy, inexperienced, not knowing the rules, folks that had been members long enough to have learned it all. Once you prove yourself all that begins to change, especially if two new guys start taking their money. THEN the rules get enforced. ;D

That isn't meant to describe all or maybe even most clubs. My clubs were mostly made up of 100% ******** with crude spirits, the better clubs with well-behaved folks closed to membership until someone dropped out. You'll get a good idea of what sort of folks are there just by observing them in your first meeting. You won't see much of the bad on the water. It takes having them all together in one place. I left all 3 clubs after witnessing too many bad practices, like dividing up all the weighed-in bass to take home, violating boat & game laws here & there, not getting involved with conservation programs or youth, and in all 3...jealousy. It gets to some guys when the jar is too often handed to you. I eventually learned it's good "politics" to lose a few you could win. That's no fun.

Around here club anglers hate the internet and don't trust anyone using it. The feeling is too many secrets are passed out on boards and in magazines. 'Ignorance is bliss, keep it to yourself'. I found that out when I contributed fishing E-books as door prizes, or recommended some good websites. Nobody took them home. They want line, rods, baits, anything they can handle. The deal is sooner or later you will learn some secrets that are supposed to remain the property of the originator. Don't steal a honey hole or pass on a hot color of worm until whoever found it is safe to release that. Once you learn what's safe or hazardous, then you can move on into building relationships there. Until then you are likely an 'outsider' at best and will be somewhat ignored while they watch you. Can't be too careful these days anyway. Some of that is wise.

I hope you are looking at an excellent club where a lot of the above doesn't apply at all. If it isn't perfect, gain their respect, get involved, and if possible aim for a committee position and eventually be in place to make the club better through leadership. Good clubs don't 'just happen'.

Ask your boater what he expects from you. If he says 3 rods, don't bring 4. Assume he has a very good reason for any rules or demands, ideas he's accumulated from years of partner fishing. I offered lures and even combos to keep the clutter down, but later on I got paired with old hands and they always use their own stuff, and sometimes won't pay attention to your rules. I expected and appreciated offers to share costs, but never took a dime.

Jim
 
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Boy glad I am not in a club. That is sort of why I stopped tournament fishing allot. Just sort of takes the enjoyment out of fishing. When fishing becomes a chore that is when it is time to hang it up. Fishing is not a business. Can it become a business? Sure. Anything on the planet can become a business. Fishing is best when it is kept at it's purest form which is for fun and relaxation. Once it turns into a business then you have to accept all of the other crap that goes along with it. Jim so eloquently described some of those above.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Man, I really appreciate the feedback. It has given me a lot to think about. To me, it definately is the fun of being out on the water and enjoying the hunt for the elusive bass!! And I will admitt that some of the best trips last year were when some tournys were going on and I'd boat 2 or 3 measurable fish within site of some of those guys and they weren't catchin' any >:D It was almost enough to make you laugh out loud--go Ike, and rub it in. However, being the nice guy that I am, I behaved ;) ;). But you could see em doing a slow burn |!!| Thanks again, Bassholes, you always give good info!!!! 8) 8)

Gary
 

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Don't let the advise get you down, Otter. If you think the guys in the club are decent, get involved. It is the best learning experience in fishing- on the water time with people equal to or above (or below) your skill level. If you are lucky, you will spend days on the water with all of the above. And with all the different styles you encounter, you will learn something every time out that will enhance your skill. You now owe me 4cents. :D ;D
 

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I certainly wouldn't want to discourage anyone from the club scene. It's THE way to get into tournament fishing if they have the right affiliations. Local tournaments can be a blast even if they don't mess with BASS, FLW, etc. Digging a few hundred bucks out of the jar is a fine experience that never gets old, and that can happen for one guy catching the one and only fish. If you have your sights on higher goals, then make sure they are active in an association that makes it possible to fish against folks around the state and nation.

The club I have my eye on is right now not accepting full members that can be in their tournaments. They have too many members, overbooked big time. If every member showed up for a meeting they would have to find a big convention center meeting room. Hey, they needed the dues to pay bills. Most of the members never show up for anything except a fish fry event. It's a lot cheaper and would get me in the door, a chance to size up what sort of club they really are.

Jim
 

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My advise would be to go to your local boat dealer and find the clubs in your area. Call them and go to a few of there meetings to see if you would fit in. I like the federation nation clubs simply because it keeps the dream of the classic alive. Also I like smaller clubs, it seems the bigger they are the more groupie they are. Then keep it fun. Some of the best fishing buddies I have came from club fishing. For the most part most of the guys I've been paired up with over the years have been pretty cool guys, but it is all in how you want to make your day. I choose to have fun and work together. Remember the better you get the more respect you'll get and the more guys that will want to pair up with you.
 
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