Monday, January 21, 2008

Requiem For A Fishing Club

Monkette had been bugging me to take her to a meeting of the South Florida Fishing Club. I did, but very few people show up.

SFFC has changed a lot over the 15 or so years that I've been a member. One by one the professional captains have gone elsewhere and the club has become dominated by owners of large boats, people who mostly fish live bait offshore.

When I first joined we had a fair number of people with flats boats, and a lot more with center consoles in the 16 to 20 foot range. We had a lot of people competing in the spin, plug and fly categories using artificial lures. We had a lot of people fishing inshore, fishing the bay, trailering to the keys and Flamingo, fishing freshwater too on occasion. The average working stiff or retiree could afford to belong and compete. Along with losing those we don't seem to be able to attract members with kids anymore. Our once potent junior division is gone.

What we've degenerated into is a club where money is the name of the game, big boats and weekend "outings" in other countries involving airfare, hotel stays, and chartering boats with captains because our boats are here in Miami. From my perspective what SFFC has succeeded in doing is chasing away the core membership, from the pro guides to the serious fishermen and women. As I look over the email list I see lots of names of people, good dedicated fishermen and women, that haven't attended a meeting in several years now.

Last year we toyed with the idea of moving the meeting location. The traffic alone in Sunny Isles Beach during "high season" would discourage anyone from going near the place. With all the new condo towers under construction it'll be twice as bad next year, solid gridlock.

A few days after the meeting I found out what the reason was for continuing to hold the meetings there at Tony Romas. It had nothing to do with their great ribs. It was because one member insisted that he'd quit the club if we moved the location. I really think that with another location we could attract a lot more new people, and perhaps get some of the old timers to start showing up again. That would sure do more for the SFFC than keeping one guy happy seems to be accomplishing. It sure ain't the club it once was.

Capt. Al


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