By Jerry White
Two's company, three's a crowd, four or more means you'll need t-shirts, window decals, and a secret handshake. Then you'll need a name, a place to meet, and probably some tongs.
I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. There are a number ways to become involved in the conservation of our estuaries here. Granted, that's rewarding work, and we all should give something back. But sometimes, you just need to talk fishing, and have a little fun. Here's one way to spell fun in my corner of the world: B.A.C,K. That stands for "Bay Area Canoe and Kayak Fishing Club".
This club was formed to help better organize some activities that we're already taking place. Not quite a year ago, Sam Ledford (founder of B.A.C,K) got the ball rolling by starting a poll on paddle-fishing.com, which also serves the greater Tampa Bay area. There was enough interest, the club evolved and finally was formed. As the club grows in membership and interests evolve, B.A.C,K. plans to become involved in some conservation minded activities.
The club meets once a month, normally on the 3rd Tuesday. The meeting starts at 7 pm, ending around 9 pm.
Most of our meetings are held at a local sporting goods store. It's good for the store because if members get there a little early, might as well do a little shopping. That's also why the meetings rarely end promptly. Imagine a store full of anglers, full of new ideas after the meeting. The cash register at the front of the store is bound to jingle. Below you see Sam getting ready to introduce the guest speaker for the evening.WHO ATTENDS:
All are welcome. These meetings aren't just for members, so anyone that is interested is welcome to attend. Our normal attendance is relatively small (normally around 30 people). But, the numbers and actually paying membership is slowly growing.
WHAT GOES ON:
Local guides speak, lure manufacturers give demos, and sometimes anglers just talk about paddle fishing. Exchanging information about paddle fishing is what this is all about, whatever that might be. Normally when you get a group of anglers together in these numbers it's at a captains meeting for a fishing tournament. And, not much information gets exchanged at those things, except lies about good launches and what lures to use.
What really draws people to the club are the FISHING gatherings. The gatherings are what got the club moving in the first place. Normally, an event is scheduled for the weekend following the meeting. In our case, these events are called "Goomba Gatherings". A venue (launch) will be determined, people show up and fish. It's not a tournament, but more of an opportunity to meet new people, exchange rigging ideas, and fish new areas.
You must eat to live. But at these events, food plays a major part. All of the attendees volunteer their services and/or bring the makings for a pot luck shore lunch. Trust me, no one leaves there hungry. Everyone heads back to shore around noon. That's where the tongs come in handy. No one wants to eat burgers that have been turned with a seasoned boca grip.
SHIRTS and STICKERS:
With your paid membership fee comes a t-shirt. Window stickers are in the works. And, no club is an upstanding club without a proper logo.
HOW TO LEARN MORE:
Here's the link to current discussions for the club. If you're in the Tampa Bay area, feel free to check us out. If not, feel free to use this to model a club in your area. http://cybermessageboard.ehost.com/paddlef/viewforum.php?f=19.
THE SERCET HANDSHAKE:
That handshake wouldn't be secret if I told you about it, now would it ? You'll just have to show up at a "Goomba Gathering" and see for yourself …
See you out on the water...
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after"
~ Henry David Thoreau
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