It raises a couple of questions such as 'do we need another group?' and, 'if the BS is losing members hand over fist (apparently), will it survive?'
In my ever so humble opinion, yes, there is room for a new group, after all the Barbel Specialist Group has faded into the sunset so there are about 150 souls looking for a new group to sort out some quality get togethers for their biannual fix. I hope that the ABF manages to capture a good number of them and sate their needs.
Barbel fishing had altered tremendously over the last ten or fifteen years as has society. This means that information is far more readily available and the mystique of barbel angling has been largely dispelled. As a result there is less dependancy upon groups and societies to help up and coming anglers. Therefore, I doubt very much that the new ABF membership will ever grow much above the low hundreds but hey, what do I know? I hope that it is successful and that it reaches its full potential. There certainly seems to be a lot of good will and energy in the group and the Chairman - Keith Truscott - is just the man to help to steer it through its first year. Thereafter the committee will be democratically elected and, should it ever become necessary, removed. I think that this alone will appeal to a lot of people.
There is one downside to the new group. It will draw comparisons to other existing groups even though they are all different in their make up. I am certain that there will be an element that identify that the new group is largely made up of ex Barbel Society members which may be construed in a negative way - depending on your own view point. Well, my view is simple. The reason for there being so many ex BS members is not the fault of the ABF, it falls squarely upon the shoulders of the BS.
I've put my hat into the ring and will even help out where I can. I am certainly looking forward to getting together with a bunch of like minded anglers at future events. I know a lot of the guys involved and can assure you that it will be a very buoyant atmosphere where all will be made to feel very welcome. I do hope that people don't focus on the negative, let's give the new group a chance to flourish and to establish itself. Hopefully, I will see you at one of their future events.