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No Girls Allowed

by: Jeremiah T. Bagwell
With the ever increasing popularity of tournament bass fishing, it is to be expected that at least some women will take up the sport. Will they be good at it? Will they dominate the men? How will we ever know if these women are not even given the chance to compete?

Recently I had a friend contact me with some news that really appalled me. My friend is an avid bass angler, with dreams of breaking into the world of tournament fishing. Hey, this is America anything is possible right? In this case, I guess we will have to wait a little longer to find out. My friend is a female and when she went to her local bass club to try to join, she was turned down. Out of respect for the members that did not discriminate against my friend, I am not going to mention the name of the bass club or the fact that it was in Kentucky.

The grounds for her denied application were not based on a criminal background or anything else that may have held some relevance. She was rejected solely on the basis that she is a female. A couple of the members stated that their wives might get mad if they got partnered up with a woman during a competition. It seems they were disturbed when they thought about how my friend would handle herself if "nature called". I guess because she is a female they assume she isnít capable of handling herself in a discreet manner.

Personally, I thought this was one of the most ridiculous and embarrassing things a representative of the bass fishing community could do. With all the world violence and terrorist activities going on, I just think everyone should have at least a fair shot at living their dream.

The truth of the matter is these closed minded individuals were probably just scared they were about to get beat by a girl. All kidding aside I was really just bothered to know that this type of discrimination takes place on a regular basis. Especially in the wholesome family oriented sport of bass fishing. I am fortunate to have friends of different races and religions, so I consider myself to have very minimal prejudices. In fact, one of my best friends named "BAM" happens to be black. If I ever thought someone discriminated against him because of his color, I would go to bat for him and make sure he was treated like a human instead of a color with no feelings. I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal or try to appear that I am better than anyone else because of my beliefs. The point I am trying to make is that you need to stand up for what you believe in. If a person you care about is mistreated and you have the ability to do something about it, then you should take action. Avoiding a problem will not alleviate it.

If you are associated with any club, not just a bass club, please take it upon yourself to make sure everyone is treated like a person. Give all members and potential members the benefit of the doubt and do not have predetermined stereotypes of how this person will act. Truthfully, there are probably more "White Males" in the fishing industry that will be involved in unethical activities than there are women or minorities in the sport combined. I do not want to point fingers or get into a name calling tirade but I would like to call on all of you "good" members of the fishing family to unite and put an end to this discrimination. This is America people; we do not need this type of behavior in our country.

Added: Thu Oct 09 2008

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