South Jersey Bass Club Association
History of the Association

(This page last updated:  2/16/2023)

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If you have information that would help fill in this history of our organization, please contact Fred Lentz or Al Franchetta.  Thank you.

In the beginning

The South Jersey Bass Club Association was the brainchild of Brian Camp.  Brian, who was then a member of the South Jersey Bassers club, felt there needed to be cooperation among the clubs in South Jersey to ensure there weren't conflicts (showing up at the same lake on the same day) at the small number of lakes available for tournaments.  Brian recalls that things first got organized in 1992, starting with several informal meetings in his kitchen over a period of time.  The initial group of local clubs included South Jersey Bassers, South Point Bassers, 4th Ward Bass Anglers and Atlantic County Bass Anglers.  At the initial formal organizational meeting, Brian was elected president, Carmen Bersani (of South Point) secretary and Russell DeCamp (of 4th Ward) tournament director.  Dues were set at $20.00 per year (and have not been raised since).

Although the original intent of the Association was to prevent tournament conflicts, there soon developed other purposes and activities.  Some very early efforts were: the hosting of an annual open buddy bass tournament at Union Lake (established at the December 1994 meeting), the creation of a club-against-club braggin' rights fishing tournament known as the "Bass Bowl" (established at the February 1995 meeting), and an appeal to the NJ Division of Fish, Game & Wildlife (as it was known then) to not stock tiger muskies in Union Lake (voted on at the December 1994 meeting).

Some later efforts & highlights of the organization

1995 -- created a monthly newsletter (later named "The Mouth from the South").  The newsletter featured a statement from the president, minutes of the last meeting, club tournament results and advertisements from local businesses.
1995 -- created an executive board comprised of the officers of the Association.
1995 -- first participated in the South Jersey Sportsmen's Jamboree in the Millville area.  Manned a booth, held a raffle of a tackle box & lures donated by Association members, and hosted a small bass boat display.
1995 -- established a rule stating that no two clubs could host an open buddy bass tournament on the same day.
1995 -- as of November, the membership stood at thirteen clubs.
1995 -- drafted a set of by-laws by which the Association would operate.
1996 -- approved a formal constitution and by-laws.
1996 -- hosted its first fishermen's flea market.  (Early editions of this event were held in the warehouse of Lilliston Marine on Delsea Drive in Vineland.  Later editions were held at the Moose Lodge in Vineland and the Elks Lodge in Millville.)
1997 -- instituted an annual awards program for members who demonstrate fishing excellence during each calendar year (i.e., heaviest lunker, heaviest five-bass limit, best youth fishing activity, etc).
1998 -- established a "participation points" program, under which event volunteers and officers would be given points for their involvement and earn awards such as personalized fishing jackets.
1998 -- instituted annual awards (plaque & cash prize) for the clubs that host the best major and minor youth activities during each calendar year.
2000 -- began its involvement in the South Jersey Youth Outdoor Day, as a founding co-host organization.
2001 -- established the honorary position of President Emeritus for past presidents with distinguished service to the Association.
2001 -- created a website at free webhost Yahoo Geocities.
2001 -- began its official opposition to permit fees for tournaments at NJ Wildlife Management Area lakes (these fees have been waived annually since 2005).
2002 -- purchased a camper trailer in order to transport its weigh-in equipment to bass tournaments.
2003 -- instituted a $100 bonus award to the Bass Bowl winning club if they had perfect attendance since the last Bass Bowl.
2004 -- instituted a program where hats and staff shirts are awarded to volunteers who work at two and four major SJBCA events respectively.
2004 -- instituted a program where small grants can be made to clubs that plan to host youth fishing activities.
2004 -- began holding its July member meeting lakeside at Parvin State Park, featuring a free barbecue.
2005 -- instituted a college scholarship program to encourage local high school seniors to enter degree programs which might someday benefit fishermen.
2005 -- began its involvement with habitat improvement at Lake Audrey in Cumberland County.
2006 -- began its involvement with the youth HarvestFest/TrailBlazer event at the Pine Hill Scout Reservation, running the pond fishing activity.
2008 -- obtained the unique internet domain name "" and moved its website to an ad-free webhost.
2008 -- moved annual Fishermen's Flea Market to larger venue - Millville Elks Lodge.
2008 -- purchased a newer, smaller weigh-in trailer.
2010 -- created an adopt-a-lake program whereby clubs can "adopt" a WMA lake in the Southern Region.
2011 -- adopted special rules to allow kayaks to participate in the annual Bass Bowl.
2012 -- organized a parking lot and ramp clean-up effort at Union Lake.
2012 -- began sending meeting agendas and minutes out to members via email.
2012 -- for the first time, kayaks participated in the Bass Bowl (finishing in 5th place out of 13 clubs).
2015 -- renamed annual scholarship as "Carmen Bersani Memorial Scholarship".
2015 -- renamed annual Union Lake open buddy tournament as "Steve Steinmetz Memorial".
2018 -- created a new angling excellence award category for "lunker by length" for clubs that fish "paper" tournaments.
2019 -- got professionally-made graphics applied to the weigh-in trailer.
2020 -- held our first "tele-conference" meetings using the Zoom application (due to the COVID-19 pandemic that was taking place at the time).
2020 -- presented the first live broadcast of the weigh-in at our June Union Lake open buddy tournament.
2021 -- first utilized our new portable public-address system, at the June Union Lake open buddy tournament.

Current & Past SJBCA Officers

     Brian Camp (1994-1999)
     Carmen Bersani (2000-2009)
     Fred Lentz (2010-present)

1st Vice President
     Carmen Bersani (1995-1999)
     Butch Backus (2000-2001)
     Bob Russell (2002-2004)
     Charles DeGaetano (2005-2005)
     Mike Poli (2005-2008)
     Joe Hoban (2009-2016)
     Rashawn Lewis (2017-present)

2nd Vice President
     Bob Russell (1996-1997)   
     Tom Simons (1998-1999)
     Steve Steinmetz (2000-2003)
     Tim Bucher (2004-2008)
     Joe Hoban (2008-2008)
     Rob Kunze (2009-2017)
     Coty Camp (2018-present)

     Carmen Bersani (1994-1995)
     Bruce Allen (1995-1998)
     Fred Lentz (1999-2004)
     Al Franchetta (2005-present)

     Joe DiDomenico (1995-1999)
     Bruce Allen (2000-2000)
     Al Zara (2001-2001)
     Greg Carter (2002-2006)
     Gary Corliss (2007-2014)
     Stuart Cohen (2015-2020)
     John Sullivan (2020-present)

Directors (two positions)
     Rich Plotkin (1997-1998)  
     Tex Gosline (1997-2001)
     Chuck Woodward (1999-1999)
     Bob Russell (2000-2001)
     Charles DeGaetano (2002-2004)
     Fred Lentz (2005-2009)
     Carmen Bersani (2010-2014)
     Mike Graham (2002-present)
     Rashawn Lewis (2015-2016)
     Coty Camp (2017-2017)
     Bob Jack (2018-present)

Tournament Director
     Russell DeCamp (1995-2003)
     Steve Steinmetz (2004-2014)
     Joe Franzwa (2015-2016)
     Brian Camp (2017-present)

President Emeritus
     Brian Camp (2000- )

Current & Past SJBCA Member Clubs

     Atlantic County Bass Anglers (changed name to Limits & Lunkers)
     Backlash Bassers
     Backwoods Bassers
     Barrington Rod & Reel Club
     Bass Blasters
     Bass Squad
     Beavertail Bass Club
     Big Bass Fishing Club of Maple Shade
     Black Bass Unlimited
     Bucketmouth Brigade Bassin Team
     Cape May County Bassmasters
     Cedarwater Bassmasters
     Cumberland County Bassmasters
     Delaware River Fishermen's Association
     Delaware River Tournament Trail
     Extreme Winter League (changed name to Out of Line)
     Fishers of Men, NJ Division
     Five Alive Bassmasters
     4th Ward Bass Anglers
     Garden State Bassmasters
     Gloucester County Bass Club
     Good Sports Gun Club
     Happy Hooker Bassers
     Jons N' Ponds Bass Club
     Kickin' Bass Fishing Club
     Limits & Lunkers Bass Club (formerly Atlantic County Bass Anglers)
     Line Stretchers Bass Club
     Lunker Hunters Penn-Jersey Bass Club
     Mercer County Bass
     Mid-Atlantic Youth Anglers Program
     Midwest Sportsmen, Northeast Division NJ-2
     Millennium Bassers (first Bucketmouth's, then GCBC's junior chapter)
     New Breed Sportsman Club
     Newfield Bass Club
     One More Cast
     Out of Line (formerly Extreme Winter League)
     Philadelphia Bass Busters
     Pine Cone Anglers
     Prime Time Anglers
     Rippin Lipz Bassmasters
     Rippin Lipz Youth Club
     Rising Sun Bassmasters
     Riverside Bass Club
     Salem County Bassmasters
     South Jersey Bass Busters
     South Jersey Bassers
     South Jersey Bass Stalkers
     South Jersey Christian Anglers
     South Jersey Gra-Bassers
     South Jersey Hawg Hunters
     South Jersey Hook One
     South Jersey Hook This!
     South Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club
     South Jersey Pond Hoppers
     South Jersey Reel Burners
     South Jersey Rod Benders
     South Point Bassers
     South State Bassers
     Stick Five Bassmasters
     Swimming River Bassmasters
     Swimming River Junior Bassmasters
     Tidewater Bassers
     Tidewater Bassmasters of South Jersey
     Top Rod Bassmasters
     Tri-State Bass Assassins
     USA Bassin Trail - NJ01 Division
     Young Guns Bassmasters

Clubs highlighted in green are current members.

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