News from the Nation

November 11, 2008
BASS Federation Nation Update

 The BASS Federation Nation Championship (BFNC) was held November 4-8, 2008 on Milford Lake in Junction City, Kan. This championship event qualified the 6 BASS Federation Nation competitors for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport, La., and was a tremendous success despite very adverse weather conditions. The event was won by Bryan Schmidt of Texas (Central Division), and he will also be given the option to compete in the 2009 Elite Series. The other 5 divisional qualifiers to the Classic are: Scott Parker, New Hampshire (Eastern Division); Jay Evans, Montana (Western Division); Ken Baumgardner, Pennsylvania (Mid-Atlantic Division); Terry Fitzpatrick, Iowa (Northern Division); and Waine Pittman, Georgia (Southern Division). All are first time qualifiers to the Classic.

 During the Championship we also conducted our annual meetings with the state Presidents and the state Youth Directors from the BASS Federation Nation. These meetings went well and the mood of the group is upbeat and supportive of BASS and ESPN. Their support of BASS and ESPN continues to grow.We also conducted the National Finals of the Bassmaster CastingKids program and the Junior World Championship. These programs were moved from the Bassmaster Classic to the BASS Federation Nation Championship to provide better mentoring opportunities for the juniors by the BFN adult anglers.

 JWCJoey Nania from Liberty Lake, Wash., won his second Junior Bassmaster World Championship title. Competition was tight in the 15-18 age group with Nania edging out his closest competitor, Drew Creel form Shawnee, Okla., by a mere 18 ounces.

 Competitors in the 11-14 age group struggled to bring any legal fish to the scales. All scholarships undetermined by weight will be added together and divided equally among the divisional champions who qualified for JWC competition.

 Bassmaster CastingKids

 The Bassmaster CastingKids competition was held at Junction City High School where divisional champions from around the BFN qualified for the honor of being the best of the best in flipping, pitching and casting.In the 7-10 age group, Hunter Hutchinson of Sherwood, Ore., outlasted Garrett Isbell of Ragland, Ala., in a head-to-head cast off after both youngsters tied with an impressive 130 point scores. Hutchinson won the cast off with a 30-point cast from 30 feet away to clinch the title.

 In the 11-14 age group, and in his final year of eligibility in the CastingKids program, Jonny Schultz of Maumelle, Ark., completed his career as he started it. With bookend victories he won on his final year as he had won on his first year, but it didn't come easy. He tied with an impressive 140 point score which was followed by a head-to-head three round cast off. After three tense sudden-death rounds, Schultz finally emerged victorious narrowly outlasting hard charging Ryan Werley of Danielsville, Pa., by only 20 points.



June 11, 2008
We Must Grow Our BASS Federation Nation Membership!

 The membership numbers for the BASS Federation Nation affect almost everything we do, and the higher the numbers the better! Let's look at just a few examples of the benefits of increased numbers and what BASS is doing to create an incentive to help increase your membership.For years the payouts for the BFN Divisional tournaments have been based directly on the member numbers. We would take the total number of members in the BFN, multiply by $6 per member, subtract some expenses like trophies, patches, etc, then divide by the 6 divisions, and that was the payout.When the split in the federation program occurred a few years ago, the numbers were so low that the management at BASS greatly increased the payout above this level, until the BFNs "got back on their feet." But we must return to the above policy of basing the payouts on numbers in 2009. So, the higher your member numbers, the larger your payout.Now with that said, in 2009 we will continue the practice of awarding a boat to the winning team. So actually your payout is still much higher than $6 per member.

 Another aspect of increased membership is the insurance program. While we generally pay a price per member, that only attaches when we reach a certain threshold of membership. Prior to reaching that threshold, we pay a minimum premium which greatly exceeds the price per member that we have paid in the past. So as we increase our membership, our premium can stay the same, leaving more dollars available for operating expenses and programs.To help you build your membership, BASS and our wonderful sponsors are once again offering the "Drive the Nation" program for 2009. This program provides a Toyota Tundra, a fully rigged Skeeter/Yamaha boat package, and a couple of trips to your state tournament or other state event by Ray Scott, founder of BASS, as prizes. It was a big success last year, and, thanks to our great sponsors, we're offering it once again. See elsewhere on this Web site for the full details and rules of the Drive the Nation contest and help your state BFN grow.

 Good luck and good fishing,





February 27, 2008

STP: The Backbone of the Federation Nation

 Guest blogger: Jay McMillan, Federation Nation President (Colorado)

 I heard a comment this week while at the Classic. Paraphrased, it was "Without STP I could not be a state president, I only wish I could get more." I thought I missed a sponsorship announcement about a new oil treatment sponsor until I asked the person what they meant. He said the same ten people (STP) are the ones involved with all our activities. It really hit home. So many of our state activities are run by so few of our members. The same 10 people (plus or minus a few) involve themselves without asking. You need help with a project? Every state president knows who he can go to to get it. The problem is I feel I'm going to tap that resource once too often and lose some of my STP.

 I bring this up because I hear from the general membership comments like, "You know, this was a great event. I'd like to help out next year."Folks, next year is here! Now is the time to express your interest to your state leadership. Don't wait until the event is over! Do it now — before the event is planned. We're all aware of time constraints, and the state presidents more than anyone know the value of your time. We're also aware that not everyone is good with fish handling or knows how to work a computer. In other words, we know everyone has his or her area of personal strength. But go to your state leadership and tell them you want to help. Give them a few hours of your time and tell them what you can do.Everyone who volunteers won't be tasked with countless hours of manual labor or days of mind-numbing statistic correlation. But the state leadership can point you to one of the STP, one of the core groups of individuals that can utilize you and your unique strengths. You'll get a great sense of accomplishment, your state will pull off another successful event, and the STP will get a little break on the workload.

 Who knows, you may really enjoy it and find out why those same ten people keep doing this. They enjoy it also! A sense of accomplishment, successful events, pride in your sport and your sportsmanship, public awareness of the sport and those who participate in it, conservation development, youth involvement — all of this and more are possible with just a few hours of your very valuable time. Make STP stand for same twenty people or same thirty people. STP is truly the oil that keeps the Federation Nation moving.


Release a fish unharmed


Makes a kid's day


Make your state president speechless


Be a Volunteer




November 1, 2007
It's My Job, and I Love It!

 The story goes that all good lies begin with the phrase, "This is the truth" or "This is no bull," but good truths can begin with the same phrase! So, this is no lie: BASS wants to provide the programs, benefits and opportunities that you want from your membership in a BASS affiliated chapter.Organizations are only as good as their members, and their members only remain if the organization is providing for their needs and desires. I live with this understanding everyday, and I strive to be "your voice" at BASS. In a recent meeting with Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager of BASS, and all of the BASS Directors and Senior Directors, Tom pointed out that my position of Director, BASS Federation Nation was the only position on the BASS staff that was tasked with membership activities all day, every day, 365 days a year. If you think about it — that really is correct.I have the inherent responsibility to you, the BASS Federation Nation member, to plan, implement and manage programs for our BFN members. Certainly I have other tasks to perform, but all of those associated tasks are directly linked to you, our most loyal member. This is my job, and I love it, but I need your help.It has been a long time since I was a "rank and file" member of a BASS affiliated chapter. I know (or believe I remember) what I wanted then, but I'm getting a little old and times certainly change, so how can I be certain of what you want and need? The simple answer is by talking to you, our member. I do this by visiting your state BFN meetings, attending BFN tournaments and, most importantly, by your calls and e-mails. I can't do the things I need to do without your input — it is absolutely critical to our success.So next time you are sitting around with a fellow club member or two shooting the breeze, remember that the great ideas you discuss cannot be implemented unless they are brought to my attention. You can do this through your state BFN President or contact me directly at Together we can make this the best organization in the bass fishing world!

 Thanks and good fishing,




September 6, 2007
Beware of Telephone Scams!

 Yesterday I received an email from one of our state BASS Federation Nation leaders regarding a possible insurance scam targeting BFN members. In it he said:

I got a call last night from someone representing themselves as the representative for the BASS Federation Nation insurance company. He stated that in order for us to receive our life and disability policies that we are entitled to as a member of the Federation Nation, we (my wife and I) had to meet with him in person and this had to be in the next three days or we "would be out" for this coverage. I explained that due to our schedules, we could not make this happen in this time period. He was very insistent and pushy that we meet with him saying that he was required to give us the policies in person. I asked if he could mail them to us and he said that this was not possible.I think there is something going on here that is fishy. Has anyone else run into this? There is no reason why the policies cannot be mailed. I think the reason they want to meet in person is to try and upsell us for additional coverage or some other sales pitch.We want to take advantage of the policy coverage as provided but this hard sell technique and holding the policies for an in-person meeting is a bunch of crap.I immediately sent this to senior BASS staff, our risk management department, and to ESPN Legal. Here is the answer I got back from Risk Management:Our AON broker negotiates directly with the carriers and agencies regarding coverage and provides all the policies for the BASS Federation Nation directly to my office in Risk Management. The insurance carriers have no contact with the members of the BASS Federation Nation unless there is a claim and then it would be their claims office.

 I sent all of this to the state BFN leadership for the widest distribution, but I could also use your help. Please pass this on to other members, and if you are contacted regarding anything you believe to be a scam, please let your state leadership know or contact me directly at and we will try to research and resolve the issue.A big "thank you" to our Texas BASS Federation Nation leadership for bringing this to our attention!

 Thanks and good fishing,





August 22, 2007
Is your club open to new members?

 A bass fisherman wants to be part of a club — your club. Would he be welcomed with open arms?

 This issue has always been difficult for many BASS Federation Nation clubs. You're comfortable with the members you already have, and you worry that accepting an outsider might change the dynamics of your group. Or maybe your club is already as large as its members want it to be.All that is understandable. But together, we have to figure a way to get prospective members involved in a club.From our end, the system works this way: A prospective new member desires to join a chapter that is affiliated with BASS and the BASS Federation Nation (BFN), but does not know who to contact. If they joined BASS first, we ask them if they have any interest in the BASS Federation Nation. That's the perfect time to get them involved — but they don't know what to do.If they are not a brand new member of BASS, but still want to join the BFN, they either call our office or go online for the information. We direct them to the state BFN president who then attempts to get them in a chapter close to their home or discusses with them that with a minimum of 6 members they can start their own chapter. But unfortunately, the system frequently breaks down!Recently we had an employee of ESPN who desired to join the BFN. He went to and clicked on "Join a Chapter." This action then sends an email to BASS Customer Service who then responds with the appropriate state BFN president contact information. In this case, the prospective member was contacted in a timely manner by the state BFN president and provided with a name and contact information on a chapter in his area. He was then contacted by the chapter representative, but it was an initial call with very little information and a follow-up from the chapter was never done.The prospective member, who by this time was getting a little concerned, contacted the chapter representative again and identified himself as an ESPN employee and received an "immediate" call back. I would like to think that he would have been contacted a second time even if he hadn't identified himself as an ESPN employee, but I have seen too many times that this was not the case.I'm asking and/or begging for your assistance. When a prospective member moves to your area or simply decides that he wants to join a BFN chapter, please be diligent in contacting him. I realize that you are all volunteers, but there is no other way the system will work without your help, and I hate to leave a prospective member on the bank. We cannot assign a new member to your chapter — you guys have to vote on that.

 But if you aren't open to receiving new members, why don't you help this prospective member start his own club or refer him to a club that has an opening?I don't know what more we can do at the national level. When we are contacted, we will continue to refer these people to the state BFN president who must immediately refer them to a chapter — but then it's up to the individual chapter to make the contact and extend an invitation for the prospective new member to attend a meeting or a tournament. Your quick action will impress the new members and help us all grow the BASS Federation Nation.



August 9, 2007

State BASS Federation Nation Trips

 Now is the time when most State/Province/International BASS Federation Nations are planning their annual meetings, banquets and qualifying tournaments. This is the one time each year for most BASS Federation Nations when they have the largest gathering of their membership and it is the time when the BASS staff enjoys attending and speaking to the membership. As you plan for these events, please keep that in mind.The primary speakers at BASS available to you are Chris Horton (our Conservation Director), Stacy Twiggs (our Senior Youth Manager) and me. I also plan to ask Jon Stewart (our BFN Tournament Manager) to do some of these events as well. At least two of the state BFNs (Texas and Nevada) also won the chance in the Drive the Nation promotion to have Ray Scott attend. Since our schedules fill up fast, I would ask you to submit your request to me as soon as possible and we will attempt to fill as many of these requests as we can. Obviously we have to consider some budget constraints, but since these trips are as important to us as they are to you — we will make every effort to attend.A couple of rules: (1) We cannot send two speakers to the same location and (2) we want to attend the largest gathering of your membership. We can't send two since, if we did that, someone would be left out. With three or four of us traveling, we can cover a lot of ground. While Chris' presentation may be a little heavy on conservation issues, Stacy's a little heavy on youth and Jon's a little heavy on tournaments, I will work with all of them to make sure that we also have a "common thread" in our presentations.These visits are at no cost to you or to the BFN. Some of the BFNs provide us with a motel room that is complementary through the hotel facility or paid by the BFN, and we really appreciate that gesture, but it is not required. When we attend a banquet, our meal at that event is normally provided, but again that is certainly not a deal breaker. Our travel and other expenses are paid for by BASS. So there is little or no excuse for not asking us to come.Please understand that there are times when none of us are available. If that happens, please don't think that we don't want to visit — we may just have other commitments on that date. So drop me an e-mail or talk to your president and we will see what we can do.

 I look forward to meeting and talking to as many BASS Federation Nation members as possible.




August 1, 2007
Upcoming Championship Events

 I continue to get a lot of phone calls and e-mails regarding the championship event in the BCWC series and the BASS Federation Nation Championship (BFNC). While the dates for these events have been given to the state BFN leadership, obviously they have not filtered down to all members. I will briefly discuss both events in this week's blog.The BASS Club World Championship series will soon draw to a close. The final Regional event (Region 4) will be held August 7-10, 2007 on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio, qualifying the final 6 teams (36 anglers) for the Championship event. As we have done in the past for the BFNC, we did not want to release the location of the Championship until the final angler was qualified, so we will make that announcement on August 7 from Lake Erie. The event will take place the week of October 8-13, 2007 at a location that should provide some good fishing. We will send the press release to all of the State BFN Presidents and immediately post it on — so look for the information on August 7.The 2007/2008 BASS Federation Nation Championship will be held November 5-10, 2007. We listened to our members and moved this event from the February timeframe back to the late fall. This puts the BFNC just 6 weeks after the final Divisional tournament for this year. We agree with our members that this move will be better for the Federation Nation anglers, although it requires us to conduct two championship events in the same calendar year. We named the one we held in Gadsden, Ala., in February 2007 the 2007 event and we will need to call the one next November (2008) the 2008 event — so this one will show the "bridge" date of 2007/2008. We have not signed a final contract for the location, but we are working with a few communities that all have good fishing to offer in November. Our scheduled date to release this information is the week of September 23-28, 2007, during the final Divisional qualifying event.While I certainly understand the issues created by the short time period between the announcements and the actual events, I still believe that this is appropriate for these Championship events. If we were to announce them sooner, then the members who qualified early in the year could "camp out" on the tournament waters and gain an unfair advantage. I sincerely hope you understand.




July 24, 2007
Collegiate bass fishing

 Currently BASS does a great job with fishing opportunities for almost all age groups. We start with our CastingKids Program at age 7, progress to our Junior Bassmaster program through high school or age 18 and have adult BASS affiliated chapters that allow anglers to join at age 16 (slightly overlapping with our Junior program). This is a wonderful progression of opportunities of which BASS is very proud, but what do we do with our youth through their college years? The answer, unfortunately, is not much.For many years we have had some State BASS Federation Nations assist with intramural and multi-school collegiate events by way of providing boats, boat captains and event staff. But is that really enough? I submit that it is not.Over the past few years we have seen an explosion of bass fishing clubs on college campuses and many intercollegiate competitions. We have even seen a couple of organizations established to help these collegians in their desire to enjoy competitive tournament fishing, but we can do more.We expect our members and prospective members to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of BASS at all other times during their lives, but we seem to forget about them for the 4 to 5 years they are away at college. We must rectify this situation. We all know that these are very formative years, and if these young anglers forget about bass fishing and get involved in other activities while away at college our chance of getting them back is remote at best.I have begun to work with various groups and with Jerry McKinnis of JM & Associates (who shares my views on the need to "formalize" collegiate fishing) to establish a collegiate bass fishing arm of BASS. We all want this to succeed, but up to now it has hit the proverbial "too hard to do" box.Well, that ends now! I have taken it out of that "black hole" and am working hard to establish a collegiate program at BASS.I need your help. Please e-mail or call me (407-566-2075) with suggestions for what you would like to see in this program. Together we can provide our collegiate anglers with a program that is win-win for all.



July 12, 2007
I'm back!

 For those of you who are new to the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation (BFN), those words don't mean much. If you're a veteran of the BFN, I hope you'll remember me and that you're as happy for my return as I am to be back.A lot has changed since I left my position as Federation Nation director in April 2005. The split in the federation program was horrible, but I believe we're much stronger today. We have a "clean slate" to work from and a group of dedicated members with great priorities and a real desire to build a great future for our sport and the Federation Nation.I've been communicating with your state leadership team (presidents, conservation directors and youth directors) since my return. I've asked them for ideas. Now I'm asking you for the same thing. I want us to look at the entire BFN program to evaluate everything we do to ensure that BASS is providing the programs you want and need.Two items I'm concerned with right now are the BASS Club World Championship (BCWC) series and the BFN divisional dates.I really need to know your thoughts on the BCWC. Do you like the concept? Do you like the regional events? Would you rather see the state BFN select BASS Club teams within their state and then send them directly to a championship event? This is the inaugural year of this series, and I want to make sure that it's "bringing something to the table" and not simply competing with the divisional concept.At a minimum, we are going to reduce the BCWC regional events from 10 to 6 and align them with the divisional structure. I realize this will make it harder on many members with the travel (especially in the Western Division), but this is necessary to fill the fields.I want and need your input. You can provide that through your state president or e-mail me directly at divisionals are here to stay. The question is whether you like the current scheduled dates in each division. Are there better times to hold these events? I've started working with the TBF to attempt to get rid of the scheduling conflicts and will continue this effort. If we want to change dates, now is the time.I'll be using this blog as one method of getting the word out about BFN events, activities and issues. I'll hope you'll check it often. It's the fastest tool I have for reaching most of you, but it only works if you're involved and checking the site regularly.There are many more things that we will look at during the coming months, and I will try to bring them to the general membership prior to final decisions. I will do this through your state BFN leadership, through the pages of BASS Times and through this blog.As I get to work as your "new" B.A.S.S. Federation Nation director, please know that I want and need to hear from you.

 Together we can make great things happen.

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