The Time Is Now

I've had the distinct pleasure and honor of working to build a program that all bass clubs in California can say proudly, "We're part of that." The California Bass Federation works feverishly to support bass clubs in a great many ways and we do so by focusing our attention on four major arenas; Youth, Conservation, Competition and Legislation.

Just about everyone knows that providing options for the youth of this state is as important as any goal we can set. We regularly urge our clubs to set up youth wings of their own adult clubs. Kids need to have fun and rewarding activities to deter them from the pratfalls that come with everyday life in this ever changing society of ours. Giving them a place to meet and learn about fishing gives us a chance our membership a chance to reach out and communicate with kids and it gives the kids the benefits of associating with their peers and adults, learning about the bass as a resource and how to build the skills necessary to catch them for fun or to compete at a variety of levels.

TBF, Inc. is in the process of building a program that will have bass fishing professionals going directly into schools to make presentations to kids on how fishing can help them in multiple areas of their young lives. It's not going to be strictly fish talk but much more geared on personal awareness and achievement. Also on the chalkboard right now is setting up a pro/am series of events that work around the FLW Tour to bring kids and pro anglers together for some fun competition.

We have a few youth bass clubs in California right now and we urge our clubs to contact us about how to set up a youth club in their neighborhoods. Frankly, we can't have enough, and would certainly like to set up more, youth clubs.

I have a proposal in front of me today that's being forwarded to TBF, Inc. for a major conservation project here in California. It'll be considered by them and forwarded on to representatives of the Army National Guard for their consideration and approval. The Army National Guard has jumped on board to take a lead role in our Youth and Conservation efforts. They are the name sake for the Junior Angler Championships, to be held during the FLW Championship, and are looking to assist our federation membership with other Youth and Conservation projects, with monies and manpower throughout the country. I urge clubs to contact us with ideas regarding conservation projects so that we might offer an assist and do the behind the scenes work to get your clubs proposals into the system for consideration for a great deal of support. As a state federation we are ready to assist on any and all conservation projects that you can dream up, allow us to work with you and improve the fisheries that we all love so much.

CBF club members now have more opportunities for advancement in major tournaments through the Federation process then ever before. Because of our new sponsor and partners, FLW and BassFan, our members nationally can advance past the Federation Division Championships to 26 spots instead of 6:

- 2 spots in the FLW Cup
- 12 spots in the BFL All American
- 12 spots in the BassFan Army Weekend Warrior Championships

Members also get priority sign up for FLW events.

In October we held our State Championship on Clear Lake and established the California Bass Federation State Team with the 1st Place Winner being Sieg Taylor. The rest of the State Team members are Ryan Krost, Tim Venkus, Jim Elsea, Cliff Gregory, Tim Brady as boaters and Gary Howell, Cameron Smith, Deacon Fernandes, Justin Lucas, Tom Loya and Mike Forslund qualifying as non-boaters. Alternates for the team are Phil Garica and Ben Willis. This team moves on in the Spring of 2007 to compete at the Western Divisional Tournament on Potholes Reservoir in Washington. These angler’s will progress forward with the majority of their expenses covered by CBF and TBF/FLW.

We still have a $1,000,000 limited liability insurance policy for our member clubs and it offers an additional $25,000 in excess medical coverage that we didn’t have before.

Members can get discount prices from many of our sponsors either on the TBF, Inc. or California Bass websites or through a federation board member. These sponsors include Ranger Boats, Lowrance Electronics, AFT (Cul-M-Rite), All Pro Rods, CAST Wireless Lanyard Systems and more. These are substantial discounts available only to federation members and we encourage our club members that are looking to make such purchases to do so via the Federation discounts.

CBF Regional Directors are ready to visit your club at their meetings to talk about why every club should be a part of the State Bass Federation. Scott Sweet, Allen Wetter, Brian Carpenter, Tony Thomasy, Russ Greenlee as well as Gary Bradford and myself are here to reach out to clubs and extend the warm invitation of affiliating now.

When this state put all competitive anglers into a situation where the limits for tournaments was reduced it was the California Bass Federation, in league with the BBAC and others, who stepped up and went into the political arena to voice our concerns. Change was affected and now we're fishing for five as we had in the past. This is but one example of the CBF taking a public stance on an issue that was near and dear to all our of clubs and we've vowed to always be at the forefront of such efforts. We'll be working this coming year to band with our salt fishing brothers and sisters to make sure that off shore fishing doesn't get shut down. We do so because it's our belief that the battleground right now is in the offshore arena and with our support and the support of many other multi-species anglers, we're choosing to fight that battle before it grows and extends into the fresh water arena.

We'll continue to seek out partnerships with the varied users of our fresh water resources to make sure that everyone in this stat has the access to public waterways that we've enjoyed for decades past. It's a part of our heritage and not to be taken for granted that we'll always have those usage rights. Sometimes you just have to step up and be counted when it comes to dealing with the many political forces that would take our access privileges away from all of us; fishermen and recreational users of many different types combined.

We will continue to fight for the rights of the bass anglers of our state on those issues as they arise and are important to our membership and all of the states anglers. We are here for our membership.

I strongly encourage you to get in touch with us whenever you have any questions or concerns as we are committed to serving you, our club membership, feverishly to make our State Federation one of the strongest in the nation. November and December are key months to make the decision to affiliate with the CBF. Your membership dollars are important to keep this state moving in the right direction for a great many people and the benefits of joining are plentiful. I ask that you all go to your clubs and push to join the CBF now.