Henry Cavazos

Kokomo Bass Angler member Henry Cavazos holds a largemouth bass he caught during a 2019 club tournament.

There is no doubt that over the years, fishing for crappie, walleye, catfish and yes, even carp has grown in popularity, even sporting their own tournament series and clothing apparel. But still, it is the large and smallmouth bass that sit at the top as far as most sought after fish.

If you have an interest in learning as much as possible about these popular gamefish, one of the best ways to get your feet wet is to join a local bass club. With the interest and excitement large and smallmouth bass generate, area clubs are relatively common in most places across the country and Kokomo is no exception.

These types of groups offer more than hooking a fish. They can fuel a friendly competitive spirit. They can also provide avenues to become involved in community events, primarily in youth fishing. These organized fishing clubs are the greatest way to spend time with people of similar interests and the sharing of camaraderie while making new friends.

But without a doubt they are the best way to learn more about all types of bass fishing. Club members openly share tips and techniques that can help everyone encounter greater success when plying area waters. They can help build your confidence with rod and reel.

“Joining a club is definitely the best way to gain knowledge about the sport,” said longtime member Bob Graham.

Being part of a bass fishing club provides you the opportunity to learn how to be successful on a variety of lakes. This forces you to learn different types of strategies and presentations. One tournament might be held on a river system, the next on a large impoundment and finally one on a smaller natural lake. All of which present a different set of possible bass catching scenarios.

For the past 49 years the Kokomo Bass Anglers have been the longest running club in our area and the amount of knowledge passed through the group is unimaginable. They hold roughly one tournament a month during the fishing season.

The KBA is open to anyone with an interest in bass fishing and if you do not have a boat of your own, no worries.

“Membership is open to all who would like to join in the spirit of fishing, learning and having an enjoyable day on the water,” says club secretary Donald Thompson.

The club meets on the first Thursday of each month at the VFW Lodge, 920 N Washington St., Kokomo, at 7:30 p.m.

“Annual dues are $100 and we contribute $5 per person at each tournament you fish to provide a cash prize to the top two anglers,” Thompson added.

Those without a watercraft of their own are paired with a boat owner in each event. This provides another opportunity to learn about boat control from those experienced in their operation and maintenance.

Plaques are presented to the first- and second-place angler in each tournament. Those who accumulate the most points during the regular season have the opportunity to take part in the final event of the year, called the Classic Tournament, which may take place on a lake that is not revealed until tournament day.

KBA’s 2020 season kicks off on Saturday, April 18 with their first tourney held on Lake Shaffer. Tournament pairings will take place at their next meeting on April 2.

But don’t let the competition level scare you if just starting out. One of the best ways to check out a club and see what they are all about is to attend a meeting. Most clubs have monthly gatherings to go over news, club events, functions or discussing past and future tournaments. Attending a meeting is the best way to get your questions answered and to quickly see if the club is a good fit.

“We would welcome anyone to attend one of our meetings and see what it’s about,” Graham said sincerely.

To me, one of the best parts of joining a bass club is meeting new friends in your area who share the same passions. As we grow in years, it becomes more challenging to meet new friends, and sharing a love of bass fishing is a quick way to do it. No matter the type of bass club you can be assured you will meet some great people along the way.

If you would like more information on the Kokomo Bass Anglers you can contact Don Thompson at 765-661-2946.

The City of First Bassmasters is another local club. Their information can be found on their Facebook page.

John Martino is the Tribune’s outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at jmartinooutdoors@att.net.

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