Working in the BASS Membership Services department allows me to interact directly with BASS Members either over the phone or through email, and I have discovered that one of the things our Members have in common is passion. They spend their weekends fishing with their buddies or their families and then they go home and watch Bassmasters on ESPN2. They join BASS Federation Nation clubs, or they take their kids or grandkids out for a quiet day on the lake. Regardless of how or where they fish, they are all passionate about our sport and being a Member of BASS.
A few years ago, BASS decided to add message boards to our Web site in an attempt to build community; it is a place for our Members, or just fans of bass fishing, to get together to talk about anything and everything related to this great sport. If you have not visited these boards yet, you should stop by and say hello. You will find a variety of topics ranging from tournaments and local fishing to tackle and gear information. If there is a fishing topic out there to talk about, you can find it on the BASS Message Boards. To get there, go to the Bassmaster.com home page, click on the "Community Hole" tab and select "Message Boards" from the drop down.
One of the great things about these boards is the frank and open discussions occurring every day. When Mike Iaconelli decided to rip the light post (that happened to have an American Flag attached to it) off his boat and throw it into the water, the boards lit up. When Gerald Swindle was DQ'd from the Bassmaster Classic this past February, the boards came alive with feedback. When we changed the tournament format a few years ago to the current Elite Series, or when any other breaking news or controversy hit, the boards have been a great place for our Members to express their opinions and find out how others are feeling. These frank and open discussions have contributed to the strength of the message board community.
Recently, an e-mail came into our Membership Services mailbox from Jerry (aka RealRods996), a BASS Member who is a regular on the BASS Message Boards, to let us know that he and several of the users were putting together a bass fishing tournament for the people who frequent our message boards. It is scheduled for June 21 at Kentucky Lake; they are making plans for a weekend of bragging rights, fishing, and most importantly, friendship. All of us here at BASS are excited to see this grassroots tournament start on the message boards, and we are looking forward to reading all about it in future postings.
BASS might mean different things to different people, but even Ray Scott would be the first to tell you that being a Member and displaying the BASS shield lets everyone know you are passionate about bass fishing; it means you are part of a community of anglers who care about our sport and its future. The BASS Message Boards are a wonderful example of our community.