OKAHANDJA, Namibia — Increasing popularity in bass fishing in Namibia has resulted in this southwestern Africa country becoming the latest addition to the B.A.S.S. Nation.
Namibia is rated as the sixth-least populated country in the world and has only two small man-made lakes inhabited by bass, yet the country has 100 B.A.S.S. members.
“It is always exciting to get a new Nation and it seems like we are getting more interest from foreign countries,” said Jon Stewart, B.A.S.S. Nation director, “which is good for us that we are getting the B.A.S.S. brand spread all over the world.”
Namibia will be aligned in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
Largemouth bass were introduced to Namibia in the late 1970s by a local water utility to curb growing populations of carp and barbell, according to Neil Engelbrecht, Namibia B.A.S.S. Nation founder. The main bodies of water where Namibians fish for bass are Oanob Dam, which contains Florida-strain largemouth, and S. von Bach Dam, which is populated by Northern-strain largemouth.
“Bass angling as a sport became formally recognized in the early 1990s with the establishment of the Namibia Bass Angling Association (NBAA),” Engelbrecht said. “The NBAA is the only officially recognized bass angling body in Namibia and is affiliated with the Namibia Federation for Freshwater Anglers (NFFA), which is the only freshwater angling body officially recognized by the Namibian government.”
Engelbrecht said NBAA members don’t have to be in a recognized club. The NBAA has direct members, club members and “country” members (non-active angler members).
The NBAA is required to have a minimum of eight national tournaments per year and hold national trials and national championships to determine the Namibian Angler of the Year, the Namibian National Champion and the Namibian National Team. The national team competes annually in the Zone 6 Bass Federation Tournament against other African countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. In the 2013 Zone 6 Tournament, Namibia finished third behind Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“The NBAA decided that it will put forward its national champion to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, as he or she is the angler who has performed best over all of the tournaments held,” said Engelbrecht, who is also the NBAA chairman. “The NBAA has a very active development strategy, as we are constantly striving to enlist new members into the sport.
“A program such as the Nation programs run in the USA is something that we will strive to develop even further, once active cooperation between the B.A.S.S. Nation and the NBAA is started.”
Namibia’s program is just getting started, and the country will not send a delegate to the 2014 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, but it plans to send one in 2015.
Namibia is the second country to join the B.A.S.S. Nation in as many months. Australia joined the program recently, too, making Namibia the ninth non-U.S. country to be part of the B.A.S.S. Nation. See the new divisions map here.