STRAFFORD, N.H. — It was one year ago this month that the Bass Finatics club became official. The new BASS Federation Nation club was dedicated specifically to family fishing.
Now, several tournaments later, the group is flourishing, according to Mike Lytle, club president.
"The most exciting part of all of this, is how overwhelmingly successful and fun it has been to have a family-oriented club," said Lytle. "We currently have approximately 40 members in the club and more people who want to join in 2010."
Bass Finatics hosted several tournaments throughout 2009; some were adult events, some were kids' derbies, and some were family tournaments.
The club has relied heavily on sponsor support so the children don't have to pay to enter the tournaments. Sponsorship has worked well for the family club, too, with several new sponsors (including Lowrance and Fitt's Insurance) signing on this year.
One family tournament last summer on Baxter's Lake near Rochester, Mass., would have been a rained-out mess, but the club members — young and old — had a great time thanks to their ingenuity and a pavilion at Grand View Campground.
"This was a downpouring, terrible day, but you wouldn't know it because of this huge pavilion the folks at Grand View opened to us," he explained.
Those tired of fishing in the rain gathered under the pavilion for food, games and crafts.
"All the crafts we did related to fishing, like gluing little foam fish on visors," Lytle said.
Grand View Campground's Chuck Greene said the event was a perfect match for the philosophy of the facility's owners.
"We are a family-oriented campground, and when we heard what they were doing it was a no-brainer for us," Greene said. "We've already given the Bass Finatics an open invitation for next year."
Sponsor Stephen Cunio of Fox Ridge Outfitters participated with his family and said he was pleased with the event.
"There's nothing better than to see children catching a fish and seeing the expression on their faces," Cunio said.
He said supporting such events also makes sense from a marketing standpoint.
"We already do a lot of events that are strictly for children in the store because it's important for use to have the local community come into the stores," Cunio said. "These are future customers, so we want to get kids into the sport."
Click here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhRP1Iwyox0) to see a video slide show of the Bass Finatics.