The president of the Namibian Bass Angling Association (NBAA), Richard Grant says the participation of Namibian angler Alec Williams at the Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championships will go a long way for the sport in Namibia.
Williams is only Namibia’s second angler to compete in the championships since Max Pieper last year, and Namibia’s participation is the fulfilment of the association’s hopes since becoming a member of the Bass Angler Sportsman Society (BASS) a year ago.
“Alec is competing against guys who are trying to get professional. They are not only some of the best anglers in America, but the world. He will be competing against Mexico’s best anglers, Australia’s best anglers and so forth. Bass angling is very big in America. In fact, it is bigger than rugby is in South Africa. Last year’s angling competition had about 98 000 spectators, in comparison to the 50 000 who get into Ellis Park stadium,” explained Grant.
For years, Namibia struggled to compete outside the country due to a lack of exposure, until the NBAA was accepted as a member of BASS. Namibia, along with Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland are the only Southern African countries with a bass angling association, but one of only three African countries to be members of BASS.
Although Pieper, Namibia’s first angler at the tournament, finished 46th out of 66 competitors last year, he fished with the Namibia flag flapping on his boat, which garnered some attention from international spectators and media.
“We are of course not expecting him to win, but for him to fly the Namibian flag high. However, it is fishing, and a lot of it is determined by luck. But of course the more you practice, the better you get. It is a very expensive trip, particularly as we do not get any support from the Namibian Sports Commission (NSC). So, the funds will come from the association, from the few sponsors we have and the rest will have to come from Williams himself,” stated Grant.
Because of this, Williams will not be able to afford travelling with his full fishing tackle. Fishing tackle is the equipment used by fishermen when fishing. Despite the challenges,
Williams needs to make sure that he can find fish during the practice days of the tournament so that he becomes familiar with the environment. He also needs to ensure that he catches fish during the competition days, as he needs to weigh-in a total of 15 legal fish, five each day for three days.
He will be competing against approximately 60 other anglers from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Americans will be his toughest competition. Williams, who is the 2013 NBAA Angler of the Year, leaves this Thursday to compete in a tournament which Grant said means the world to Namibian bass angling.
“We look up at the USA in this sport, and worked for many years to get recognised there,” he continued.
The Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation Championships will be held on the Ouachita River in Monroe, Louisiana. The tournament runs from the 3rd of November until the 7th of November 2015. The 3rd and the 4th are deemed to be official practice days, with the 5th to the 7th being official competition days.
About participating at the Nations Championships in the USA, Williams was beaming.
“Personally, this is a goal achieved. I always wanted to go to the States and take part in a sporting event. It wil be a huge honour to represent Namibia at this event. I am very competitive and always try to win, but to be realistic with only two practice days, it’s going to be an uphill battle. But I am looking forward to the challenge,” he enthused.
Williams also feels that taking part in the competition can be a draw factor for new anglers to join the sport, and for older anglers to come back to our sport.
Although he is set to carry his own costs, the fee remains a challenge, and those willing to help can contact the NBAA on 0812473282.