The 30th BASS Annual General Meeting was held on 28 March 2004 at the Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre Plock Court, Tewkesbury Road, Gloucester GL2 9DW.

The formal part of the day began with opening remarks by our illustrious Chairman, John Leballeur, and this was followed by a presentation by Graham Pickett of CEFAS, who spoke about the findings of the ICES Study into the viability of current bass stocks. It was heartening to see that members listened with great interest to quite a scientific paper, and asked numerous relevant and challenging question at the end.

This was followed by the presentation of BASS Fellowships, a new departure for the Society, and one decided upon by the committee as a way of marking both our thirtieth anniversary, and the outstanding contributions of some of our current and former members. John Leballeur, who made the presentations, commented:
“We had decided to introduce the Bass Fellowship award, and present the same at the AGM. I had the pleasure of presenting those, who in the end could attend, with their framed certificates, having first outlined each recipient’s personal contribution. In all eight persons were chosen, for the first year’s award. They were Clive Gammon, Brian Harris, Donovan Kelley, Malcolm Brindle, Malcolm Gilbert, Bob Spurgeon, Dave Cooling, and John Darling whose award was given posthumously, he having, so sadly, died, earlier this year. Four of the eight were able to be present. Much effort had gone into keeping all this a secret from the recipients, and their surprise truly showed when each was invited to collect their award. Whilst the concept of the Fellowship awards was the work of several committee members, a special thanks goes to Steve Pitts for taking the lead and making it happen”.

Then it was time for Lunch – a time to chat with fellow members, meet friends old and new, and spend money at the takle stalls.

After lunch it was time for the formal business part of the day. Reports (thankfully short ones) were given by the Chairman, John Leballeur, the Teasurer, John Halton, who presented the annual accounts for the Society and the Restoration Project. It was agreed that we were in a good financial position and that there was no need for subscription increases at the moment. Finally the Secretary, Wayne James, announced, formally, that he was standing down from the post after serving for three years. Others to stand down, after doing sterling service for the Society, were Steve Pitts, David Riley, and Allan Hughes. Simon Everett was elected as the new Secretary, and Graham Wilson and Andy Rye were elected to the committee (Andy is already a member of the Restoration Project Team). After this a rule change proposed by the committee, to allow Restoration Team members to be compensated if they had to take time off their own jobs to undertake important campaign activity, was discussed and unanimously adopted by the members present.

Next came the annual award ceremony where those members who had caught notable bass or made a notable conservation contribution were recognised. Details of the awards can be seen in the trophies and awards web page.

The Grand Raffle followed. Prizes included a 9ft, aftm 9, 4 piece saltwater fly rod (hand built by Phil Hyde of S.W. Tackle Developments, Paignton), a 12ft Penn Extreme Vengeance Bass rod and Penn 525GS multiplier (donated by Penn), a classic book titled, ‘Bone Fishing’ by Randall Kaufmann (donated by Martin James), a selection of saltwater flies (donated by Fulling Mill Flies), plus sundry other prizes. As usual members bought many tickets, and sufficient money was raised to cover the cost of the AGM, which is our aim each year. Many thanks must go to Steve Pruett and Di Rawles for the way they sold those tickets.

Once this was all done it was time for presentations about fishing. These are always appreciated by members. The committee is careful to chose presenters who do real fishing (like most of the rest of us and unlike the rubbish one often reads in the mainstream sea angling press). This year we had our esteemed Vice Chairman, John Morgan, give a talk and PowerPoint presentation about bait fishing for bass along the shallow reefy shores of South Wales, and the Gower in particular. This was followed by a more exotic but still quite ‘down to earth’ presentation by Steve Pitts about sea angling in Tobago, a place that he and Mike Ladle have now visited on a number of occasions. Both talks were immensely well received.

Then there was time for a discussion amongst the membership about the direction being taken by the Society and the Restoration Project Team. A number of members said they found this very helpful.

And then it was time to pack up and go home.

If you are a member and haven’t been to an AGM already, put 13th March 2005 in your diary now. You won’t be sorry.

AGM photographs can be seen in the photo gallery.