TASS is great family fun for all seasons


Spring is close at hand in this season of daffodils and shad.


Tight Lines

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The annual Tarboro Association of Saltwater Sportsman membership meeting is scheduled for Thursday at Abrams at 609 W Wilson St. in Tarboro.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. and eats will be ready about 7 p.m. Always a very pleasant evening of good food, fellowship and the sharing of pertinent fishing info and intel.

Let me clear this up from the get-go. Tarboro Association of Saltwater Sportsman, or TASS, is a name that derived from some early kingfish tournaments off Atlantic Beach among a small group of men that started this club back in the late 1980s.

TASS today has as many freshwater events as they do saltwater. What started as a few interested anglers wanting to chase king mackerel off the Crystal Coast for a fun, friendly competition is now an Edgecombe County fishing club 100 families strong. I emphasize "Family" because TASS is all about families fishing and enjoying the liquid landscape together.

Early 2000, some dedicated individuals came together to formally organize TASS with by-laws, elected officers and obtained a tax-exempt status to became incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Been there, done that, — and I can tell you from experience, it is a lot of hard work to officially and properly formulate any club or organization. Sincere appreciation to those dedicated souls that put forth the effort and made it happen. TASS is a wonderful organization, and we are proud to be members.

The purpose of TASS is to provide an organization for people in Edgecombe County or who have ties to Edgecombe County with a common interest in fishing and fun to come together and pursue the exhilarating sport of recreational fishing. Community service became its stated goal. Through funds raised from various projects, TASS is all about giving back to the community and have donated picnic tables and built a shelter in Riverfront Park. Proudly, TASS has established a scholarship endowment at Edgecombe Community College. Hopefully that endowment will help finance scholarships for many years to come.

TASS promotes fishing fun for kids with its annual Pell's Pond Party. This event is open to the public, and TASS supplies rods and reels for the kids to keep, bait to use and hot dogs, pizza and soft drinks for all to enjoy. It's a beautiful, memorable June evening, especially for the young 'uns. Future TASS members are being recruited and cultivated at the yearly pond party. Our way of thinking is that the pond party sort of defines what TASS is all about.

The menu for the membership meeting this year will be fresh fried herring, shrimp, french fries, cole slaw, hushpuppies and beverage. Cost for dinner is $8 per member. If I could, I would love to plunk down $16 and eat enough for two. I really like that food! The attentive staff of Abrams always does a good job hosting our meeting and feeding us fresh, delicious seafood.

After feasting, it will be time to conduct a little TASS business, called to order by TASS President Gregg Sessoms. Also on the agenda at the meeting is collecting $25 TASS dues, and that one fee includes the entire family for the year. Twenty-five bucks? A family of four can hardly tank up at a fast food joint for that much these days. We call TASS dues the best entertainment bargain in Edgecombe County — and if you know of a better one, please clue us in.

Upcoming shad and rockfish tournaments will be discussed. Shad tournament each year heralds March Shadness, that special time when the shad seemingly fill our rivers and creeks. Tournament registration forms will be available at the meeting. Shad tournament sign-up fee is $10, and another 10 smackers if you want to be in on the white shad bonus action. Details will be forthcoming next week in Tight Lines.

We like all the TASS tournaments and try to participate in every one we can, but hands down, this shad tournament is our undisputed favorite. If the fish run their normal cycles, We have spent many tournament weeks fishing mornings for hickory shad in Weldon on the Roanoke River, and afternoons on the Tar River at Battle Park in Rocky Mount chasing white shad. Both places have been productive for us over the years, and we couldn't wait to get into our March Shadness Vacation mode. We must observe this year, but intend to be back at it as soon as possible.

Next week, when we share the tournament details, be sure to ink both dates in LARGE LETTERS on your calendar and to-do list. The shad tournament has add-on bonus money in all categories and places for the winners if they are TASS members in good standing. Allow us to be a little more specific: "Pay your dues, Dude!"

If you ever considered joining TASS, now might be a great time to jump on it. Attend the February 21st membership meeting at Abrams, meet a great group of folks, have some delicious eats and join up. If you can't make the membership meeting, but still wish to join TASS, you may do so at your convenience at Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, Main Street in downtown historic Tarboro.

Hotspot — Following about a dozen fishing friends. All are reporting shad activity is up, especially on our Tar River, all the way to Battle Park.

Also heard of action in all the usual places, from New Bern to Pitchkettle, to Grifton, all the way up creek to Wilson Mills. Please tag us on Facebook so we can see what you are up to as we await March Shadness.

Catching Fish? Good for you! Tell us all about it at carolinaangler@gmail.com. Please include those large-file, high-resolution pix, too. You do the fish'n, and we will do the brag'n for ya.

See you on the water, my friend!