Sacramento, Calif. — Being a Federation Nation state president can be a thankless job. Presidents often spend many hours, on a volunteer basis, building programs, organizing tournaments and planning meetings. They consider their service a labor of love.Andrew Sayles is one of those people. As president of the California B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, Sayles works to keep his members involved in competition, conservation and youth activities.
"I decided to get involved because I loved the tradition of BASS, and having been a life member since the early 1990s, I didn't want to see the Federation stop in California."
An angler himself, Sayles won 11 regional tournaments in California from 1991 to 2001 until he stopped fishing to be with his ailing mother. "I loved competing but needed to be with my mom; when she died in November 2004, I started fishing again."When the split between BASS and TBF occurred, Sayles decided to get involved. "I contacted then-Federation Nation Director Gary Jones in 2006," Sayles said. "I told him I wanted to be a part of keeping it going in California, for the organization and the members," said the 39-year-old.
Sayles recruited volunteers for the board of directors, then he incorporated and established the nonprofit status of the organization. "The board's help is invaluable," Sayles stated. "Jack Kreiss, Mike Landy, Dave Castro, Chuck Perkins and Dan O'Sullivan have jumped in and made a difference. Our effort has helped membership increase by 37 percent since 2006."One of the state's biggest projects was to organize support of the Elite Series Western Swing in March 2007. Under the direction of Sayles and the board, volunteers met every morning at the boat ramp and assisted the pros by directing traffic, handing out cold water and energy drinks, and launching and parking."We wanted to make a good impression on the Elite Series pros and BASS," Sayles said. "We wanted them to know we were happy to have them here and support them as best we could."The effort had the desired impact, as Elite Series pro Glenn DeLong explained. "I had never been to California, and to pull into the parking lot each morning to see that kind of support from the Federation Nation made me feel comfortable," said DeLong. "They had it completely organized and were willing to help."Chuck Harbin, BASS tournament manager, also recognized Sayles' dedication. "Andrew did a great job of supporting us," said Harbin. "He was meticulous in his organization, and it showed in the effort and motivation of all of the volunteers."The Federation Nation volunteers are vital to our success as an organization," Harbin continued. "They are responsible for the fish care and for providing our camera boats. Without them, the Elite Series tournament show would not go on. Andrew and the California volunteers were as good as we've worked with."
Aside from supporting the Elite Series show, Sayles and the board of directors work to provide the members with opportunities to get involved with conservation, youth activities and competition. "Our conservation project this year will be to educate our members on how to deflate swim bladders of deep caught bass," Sayles said. "We will provide needles and instructions for each club."He also said they have made big strides in youth programs, specifically with CastingKids.In 2006, we were limited by how much time we had to pull things together because of the split," he said. "In 2007, we held eight events, plus a state cast-off during a Stockton Ports minor league baseball game, and we will do more this year."
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