Ask a bass fisherman where he thinks the oldest bass club in the country is located, and expect the typical answer of Florida, Alabama, Georgia, or Texas. Never in his wildest dreams would he choose Washington State, but he'd be right. The Western Bass Club originated just like many other clubs, out of bass fishermen meeting in tackle stores or on the water and then forming a club to share fishing knowledge and fellowship. But the year was 1938, making this the oldest chartered bass club in the nation. In 1939 the club purchased a tank of six-inch bass fingerlings and released them in various waters approved by the game department. Many of today's bass caught in the state are a result of that initial planting. The club has been instrumental in the growth of bass fishing throughout the state ever since. Structure planting, political lobbying, community involvement, fishing education, fund raisers, inspiring the formation of new clubs, you name a project and this club has likely done it. They have even published their own book, called the Northwest Bass and Panfish Guide, which has been updated with several editions over the years. It contains "how to" articles and features on specific popular lakes written by club members, and lists all the waters in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana known to hold bass or panfish.
For the benefit of its members, the club holds five club tournaments a year to accumulate points toward Fisherman of the Year. There's a large tackle swap and lure auction during the March meeting. In the fall there's a dessert auction.
There's also an Ambassador Program. Veteran members are assigned as Ambassadors to new "recruits", who then take them on "fish-ins" and help them immediately feel like part of the group. Many new members are recruited through an annual club booth at a major Seattle sport show. An excellent club monthly newsletter keeps everyone informed, and often contains detailed articles and lake maps contributed by members.
Much of the club's success is based on its strong family atmosphere, pro-active attitude, and the ability to offer something for everyone. It's all part of a long history of caring for the needs of the resource, the community, and those who love the sport.