Meet people who share your passion for fishingPublished 9:39am Friday, March 15, 2013
by Chris Dunnavant
VDGIF Angling Education Coordinator
Welcome to The Fishing Spot! Through my role as Angling Education coordinator for the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries, I am able to connect with a variety of anglers across the Commonwealth and this is an opportunity for me to share those experiences and fishing related topics with you. My sincere hope is that you can always come to The Fishing Spot for interesting and educational fishing articles, intriguing interviews with anglers and the latest on fishing in Virginia. Please enjoy!
Join a Fishing Club
I recently attended a Virginia Angler’s Club meeting as a guest. I was greeted warmly by many of the members and quickly found myself engaged in conversation about a variety of fishing topics. The purpose of my visit was multi-purpose, but I quickly became intrigued by what I was seeing and knew I needed to share the benefits of a fishing club membership.
The Virginia Anglers Club was founded in 1961 in Richmond, Virginia by a group of pioneering big game anglers. The club offers tournament competition through multiple venues in both fresh and saltwater. Club membership is not just about tournaments, but an opportunity for anglers to learn and share knowledge about fishing. The club has monthly meetings featuring guest speakers, time to share what’s biting and talk with other anglers about fishing techniques. To learn more about the club, visit the website at http://www.virginiaanglersclub.org/index.php.
The VAC is not the only fishing club around. In fact, I joined a BASS Federation Club at the age of 16. My club membership provided opportunities to fish in bass tournaments at the local level with chances to compete at regional and national levels. I learned so much during my time in the club, it was a great venue to develop and hone my fishing skills as well as make new friends. Tournament competition is what I thrived on which led to a victory in the Federation’s state championship, the Mr. Bass Tournament. At 19 years of age I became the youngest angler in the Virginia BASS Federation to win the championship and hold the title of Mr. Bass; certainly a highlight of my fishing career!
Now there are two bass club organizations to consider: The Bass Federation and The Federation Nation. Local, regional and national tournament competition is a major component with plenty of opportunities for conservation, community service and youth outreach. Each of these organizations has high school and college level fishing trails for the youth to get involved. Check out their websites and consider joining a local club.
If fly fishing is your preference there are several organizations in that category. Trout Unlimited is a national organization with a local chapter near you. Chapters are involved in conservation efforts, fly fishing and education. The Fly Fishers of Virginia focus on a wide range of fly fishing in Virginia and have many events and opportunities to learn and get involved. FFV is affiliated with the Federation of Fly Fishers.
There are also independent clubs in your area such as the Bass-Jon’s in Hampton Roads or the Augusta County Bass Jon’s. Most clubs have their own website and a little Internet research can pay dividends. Joining a club can provide you with opportunities to learn and improve your fishing skills, serve in the community and develop friendships that can last a lifetime.
Chris Dunnavant is the Angling Education Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.