image:photo of Clive Hodges (left) receiving the trophy, for the heaviest bass (12lbs) caught on natural bait in 2008

[photo – Clive Hodges (left) receiving the trophy, for the heaviest bass (12lbs) caught on natural bait in 2008, from angling author, Chris Yates. The fish was released.photo courtesy Alan Parfitt]

On Sunday 30 March 2008, BASS members from all points North, South, East and West, including one member from the ‘Emerald isle’, descended upon Oxtalls Tennis Centre, Gloucester for the BASS AGM.

BASS AGMs are noted for their lack of formality and, despite some very serious issues being discussed, this year was no exception. Old friendships were renewed and new ones made. Members gathered to discuss bassing matters, listen to some very interesting lectures, debate the way forward with regards to bass conservation, browse at some of David Miller’s excellent works of art, as well as purchase, a few ‘must have’ tackle items from Veals tackle stand and watch some very interesting fly tying demonstrations by Steve Binckes & John Taylor. This year members were able to preview the new book, ‘Bass and B.A.S.S.’ which has been produced by the Society in conjunction with BASS member, Geoff Gonella of Anglers Bookcase, who has edited the book and arranged for the publishing. (N.B. the book is due out in mid April).

Raffle tickets were purchased (this years prizes were exceptional), even the odd late payer renewed his subs!

Peter Macconnell, BASS Chairman, took charge of the proceedings and the day ran like clockwork, ably assisted by the Committee members and other members eager to help.

Mike Ladle, BASS veteran, film maker and well known angling writer, opened the proceedings with a very interesting talk on bait fishing and the use of circle hooks. Mike, who has been involved in fishing, both professionally, as a Fishery research scientist and as an angler, probably for more years than he cares to admit to, is still not averse to learning new skills when it comes to bass fishing. This years lecture was about those newly acquired skills and gave many members food for thought.

The ‘official’ side of the AGM was kept to a minimum, as is traditional with BASS, although this year a new BASS Treasurer, Paul Owens, was elected into office. John Halton, the previous Treasurer, decided to step down after six years of safely managing the BASS finances. Thank you, John, for your hard work over the years, which is much appreciated by the membership. BASS is financially stronger because of it.

A lively discussion, promoted by the BASS Restoration Project Team, chaired by John Leballeur, ensued. The Restoration team detailed their work concerning the bass mls and other issues currently concerning BASS members and the recreational sea fishing fraternity. Members were given the opportunity to air their views. A useful exchange of ideas concerning the way forward followed, which was continued later in the day, chaired by Peter Macconnell, BASS Chairman, after a very interesting talk by Chris Yates, the well known angling personality and author.

Chris Yates is normally associated with carp and other freshwater species. Who would have known that Chris is actually a ‘closet’ bass angler, forming his first association with the species as a teenager on holiday with his brother, many years (well a few) ago. Chris gave a talk, literally ‘off the cuff’ about his bassing experiences, which have been encouraged by his friend and BASS member, Matt Spence. The members sat enthralled listening to Chris, whose relaxed style and enthusiasm for bass, captivated the audience. On behalf of the membership, thank you Chris.

2007 was quite a good year for some members, many of whom collected awards for their catches (all returned). A particularly pleasant occasion was to see John Leballeur, Chairman of the BASS Restoration Project team, as well as co-ordinator of the BASS bass tagging project, a few years ago, not forgetting his work as a BASS Fish recorder for a number of years, be made a ‘Fellow of the Society’ in recognition of all his hard work. Chris Yates made the presentation.

This years AGM was enjoyed by all those who attended, many journeying home with newly acquired rods, reels, lures, etc., as a result of the raffle which raised a few hundred pounds towards the BASS coffers. Thank you to all those who contributed prizes. Also thank you to all those members who helped to make the day special for those attending. We would also like to thank, Veals, David Miller and Geoff Gonella of Anglers Bookcase, for giving up their time to provide some retail therapy for the members.

Another excellent AGM. See you next year.