RISAA and why fish clubs still matter

In today’s day and age of ever-competing time challenges and the dominance of social media, why do fishing clubs and RISAA still matter?

Originally, fishing clubs were ever-present in coastal communities; almost always exclusively male-dominated and far from family-friendly. Bragging rights were the name of the game, and most of the better anglers sold their catch to help put some money on the table. Motors were less reliable, gear was heavier and electronics were nonexistent. Going out nightly in search of big fish was not for the faint of heart.

The sea could be unkind to a beginner and it was mostly left to oneself to learn how to improve. Presentations were often designed to create business and/or sell something, seminars where education was the focus were rare. Books and some better quality magazines did partially fill in some knowledge gaps. Eventually, gear began to improve, outboards became more reliable, electronics and weather predictions started to be a help. Clothing and safety gear improved. Families began to participate and clubs like RISAA were formed. Education was increasingly recognized as a means to improve as an angler and to understand how the oceans and ecosystems all tied in together. Fish were only a part of the puzzle.

Some clubs didn’t adapt to the changes and died out. Some weren’t able to be sustained because members drifted away as free time became increasingly a rare commodity of the modern family. But it hasn’t spelled the death of all clubs. Many clubs, not just RISAA, have stayed viable as our 28 affiliate clubs can attest. Most clubs now not only have a fishing purpose but also have adopted a charity or worthy cause that they support annually which not only helps bring the members together but also serves a higher purpose.

RISAA’s size has allowed it to have an entire Foundation dedicated to supporting worthy causes that we are proud to take up. Beyond the Foundation, RISAA’s diverse membership has lent itself towards the creation of committees that allow anglers to focus on specific techniques (fly fishing, kayaks, surfcasting, etc.) if they choose as well as more policy-based activities (legislative committees) that seem increasingly important as marine resources face ever-increasing threats and competition from outside interests. Fish stocks face increasing pressures both from environmental stressors and users groups. Fishing clubs that can push back and speak up for both members and the fish have become increasingly needed. Each individual voice matters, as does a club’s ability to help stake out proposals that are responsible to the fish as well as reflecting the needs of our anglers.

If you are part of RISAA celebrate it, because of you we exist. If you have a fishing partner who isn’t yet a member, reach out and see if we offer something that would appeal to them. Consider joining a committee yourself. See our list of committees with contact information on page _, the Who’s Who page.

We have grown and thrived up to now by encouraging diversity of interests while still staying true to our common fishing bonds and stewardship of the environment. No reason to change now.

Catchem up

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