History of the East Bay Anglers Winter Show
In 1985, the East Bay Anglers fishing club was in its 13th year when the group decided to run a winter show to seek new members and teach how to catch yellowfin tuna. The first show was such a novelty, attendees exceeded the club’s meeting place (Riverside Sportsman’s Club in East Providence). We then arranged to move the show to the Barrington Middle School.
We have always been a leader in providing the very best quality shows that new technology can offer. Even our first shows featured a nine-projector, slide show system with rear-projection onto a giant 12 foot wide by 10 foot high screen. Slide shows were run in the Middle School for years with all seats taken, and people sitting in the aisles.
It was in our early years that great speakers like David Pickering, Mike Laptew, Charley Soares and others found their voices. We were one of the very first clubs to present video productions featuring our local waters. In 2008 we were first again with a high definition, multi media presentation by Mike Laptew who is now a professional producer of outdoor videos.
The club and the talented speakers work hard to produce unique, entertaining and informative shows that celebrate the sport we love while providing solid “how to” and “where to” strategies and tactics.
Our 2011 show will continue with its tradition of providing top quality seminars for both boat and shore based anglers. Our “Fisherman’s Flea Market” will offer top quality tackle at substantially reduced prices and both Laptew and Knie will offer artwork and collectable quality prints for sale.
We have pulled out all the stops and our giant raffle and door prizes will be the best ever.
Our new afternoon expo format is sure to be a big hit and advanced ticket sales will no doubt sell out fast. Don’t wait till the last minute, order your tickets today. Remember the $2 discount for signing up before January 1, 2011!
By Will Barbeau
The East Bay Anglers Fishing Club was started in 1972 by eight local anglers. That makes 2011 its 39th year. From the beginning, the club was an aggressive leader. When clubs competed, it won tournaments. When fishing evolved, it invented new techniques. When conservation was needed, it led the way. Finally, it started Winter fishing shows and ‘take-a-kid-fishing’ programs.
It’s almost embarrassing to look at my 50-pound striped bass tie-pin from the Schaefer Brewing Company. In the 60’s and 70’s the Schaefer organization stimulated a massive striped bass slaughter with its inter-club competition. Awarding pins for big fish wasn’t so bad, but the “aggregate total” competition between clubs led to a butchery. What made it even more senseless was the fact that no one could ever out-compete the Martha’s Vineyard club - - more people, more fish, more beaches, more boats. EBA won many trophies competing in Rocky Point, Newport, and other such long-forgotten events.
EBA club members led many fishing improvements. My personal contributions were the throw-net (something learned in Hawaii during WWII) and the bait well water pickup pipe. EBA members were especially strong in using menhaden for bait. Other members were the first to bring live menhaden to Cuttyhunk (chartering Jack Reynolds to take them over from Westport Point). The same group also pioneered use of menhaden around Monomoy on the Cape in the early 80’s where sand eels had been the dominant bait.
The East Bay Anglers were Senator John Chafee’s main contact during the ‘Striped Bass Wars’ (the title of Dick Russell’s book on that era). As a member of the Rhode Island Striped Bass Citizens’ Advisory Committee, I put in many hours dealing with DEM. (Eventually, I filed – and won – an ethics complaint against Newport net operator John Mendonca) We were all following Bob Pond’s leadership at the time – the founder of Atom Plugs was documenting striped bass egg failures in Chesapeake Bay. Looking back, it can now be observed that an East Bay Angler Striped Bass Research Fund (founded by John Treat and Bob Greene) could have been the idea-generating event that led to John Chafee’s historic striped bass research bill that rescued the species. (Now that our much-appreciated Senator is gone, it can be revealed that the final influence that convinced him to move on striped bass was a book called ‘Striper’ by John Cole – editor of a Maine newspaper. Cole and Chafee had been roommates in prep school. Is that what ‘the old boy’ network can do?)
The innovative role played by the East Bay Anglers in developing the Winter fishing shows is described in more detail above
Reaching young people
Another pioneering activity of the East Bay Anglers has been the teaching of fishing to young people. In the beginning we took groups of boys from local orphanages out on Point Judith ‘head’ boats. Then, that evolved into day-long parties in which groups were split up between club member’s boats, and taken out on the bay. Insurance concerns killed those events. In recent years we have donated funds to other groups who take young people out. Two years ago we sponsored a new Take-A-Kid fishing program. It did not survive the competition from other summer activities.
The club today
The East Bay Anglers is today ready for a new surge of younger people. It remains well-funded, thanks to the Winter shows, but its membership is aging. The roster numbers some 35 people. Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month, offer a small meal, and feature some knowledgeable speaker on some aspect of fishing. We seek new members and we invite you to
and perhaps attend our next monthly meeting.