BassFIRST Profile: The Professional Anglers Association
Dec 3rd, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Dec 3rd, 2008 at 12:00 AM
When most folks think of professional associations groups like the American Medical Association and similar organizations come to mind. These are somewhat closed groups open only to members. The public hardly ever knows about what goes on behind closed doors. In the world of professional fishing there is only one group who has broken through that typical closed door and silent approach, the Professional Anglers Association (PAA).
Through years of hard work from its dedicated members this group has gone from what many considered to be rebels, think Luke Skywalker versus the Evil Emperor in Star Wars, to a legitimate force in pro fishing. The PAA has announced a PAA tournament series, a championship, television coverage, etc. All of this and no conflicts with the two major tournament bodies the FLW and BASS.
PAA Secretary John Crews steps up to the plate and answers the BassFIRST questions about the PAA.
BF – What is the Professional Anglers Association?
JC – It is a non-profit organization that looks out for the best interests of professional anglers. That includes growing the sport of bass fishing, offering benefits not available to pros, and promoting fishing in general. We also have a designated charity, Catch-A-Dream.
BF – When was your organization formed?
JC – It was formed about 6 or 7 years ago by a group of bass pros including Paul Elias.
BF – Why was your organization created?
JC – In the beginning, the PAA was formed to negotiate with BASS for changes that were going on at the time. The mission quickly changed to looking out for the best interests of bass pros and all anglers. Over the past 3 years, the PAA has grown a bunch. Now our goals include many of the same goals as FLW and BASS since those organizations give our members a chance to make a living.
BF – How is your organization funded?
JC – Membership revenue gives up operational funds and the rest of our income will come from sponsors, selling ads, and event revenue. Remember it all goes back to the anglers.
BF – What does your organization do to increase the participation in sport fishing?
JC – Our Corporate Cup presented by Optima Batteries got many corporate people in a bass tournament for the first time. If they increase ads or begin to advertise in bass fishing, we will expose the sport to more people. Our FishPAA TV show will educate anglers of how to catch more fish and have a good time doing it. We also have a youth committee and they have done some projects with kids.
BF – How do you personally work at increasing sport fishing participation?
JC – I am a member of the PAA, BASS, and FLW Outdoors. All those organizations have great programs for the youth. I personally have spoken at schools and other meetings about my career and fishing.
BF – Does your organization have support from grassroots organizations?
JC – We are rolling out our PAA Payday program that awards any PAA member for winning a long list of weekend and semi-pro events all over the country. The Payday program has lots of support from almost every tournament trail that we are sanctioning.
BF – How many employees does your organization have?
JC – Three employees and 10 Board of Director members who are not paid
BF – What role do you see for your organization in the future regarding sport fishing?
JC – We see the PAA as being the face of all professional bass anglers and a support system for all anglers. We will work to make the life of bass anglers better.
BF – Where do you see the future of sport fishing heading in the United States?
JC – We know this is an exciting time in professional bass fishing. FLW gave away $1 million to the winner of one event the past 2 years, the Elite Series is very popular, and BASS big names are popping up on ESPN. That excitement trickles down to the grassroots levels and gets more people competing.
For more information about the PAA check out their website at www.fishpaa.com.