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Meeting Minutes – February 1, 2024 – 7pm


Hammonton Library



The meeting was called to order at 7pm with the following members present:  Anthony Coco, Daniel Rodriguez Sr., Sean Place, Matthew Zappile, Jake Coucoules, Alan Bender, Tom Mills, Joshua Mazzeo, Mark Sowers, Don Mills, Neil Tomarchio, John Goss, Bill Bentliff, Layne Ell, Bob Gheysens, Tony Turin, Alex Bronsky, Dennis Robinson, Marc Pyontek, Greg Rappaport, Victor Carapucci and Sarge Stone.


Associate members:  Neils Clemenson.


Open anglers:  Daniel Rodriguez, Jr.



Reports were provided from the agenda as follows:


  1. Layne Ell, President:

Layne provided a statement at the beginning of the meeting regarding his decision to step down as Club President, the current state of the SJKBFC and the club’s future.  The Club is presently in a very good state, with full membership and potential openings if any full members wish to become associate members.  Layne discussed the roots of the Club as being grounded in its members and the close relationships they share, their skills as anglers, willingness to share and help others grow and develop, and an open, evolving viewpoint that will lead the Club into the future given an ever-changing KBF landscape.


Layne then asked those unpaid individuals to pay their 2024 dues to Mark Pyontek.  Bill Bentliff, Don Mills and Tom Mills all paid their dues, leaving only Branson Shute, Chris Upchurch and Fred Tomarchio those members who have not yet paid.  Neil stated his father Fred was in Florida, but verified his interest in participating this year, and that he would be paying.  Associate member Stu Cohen needs to pay as well.


Greg provided all with 2024 membership paperwork including membership applications, waivers and website info forms to complete.  Some brought their own forms printed out and completed in advance.  At this point forms are still needed from the following individuals:  Branson Shute, Chris Upchurch, Evan Post, Fred Tomarchio, Jason Scott, Jim Dick, John Casalnova, Ole Hernandez, Ryan Hannah and Stu Cohen


Members not presently in good standing were reviewed and voted on as is required by our By-Laws in this (February) meeting.  Layne explained that all members must have a minimum of four meetings/events and at five fished tournaments to be in good standing. All members were voted back in with a motion that was seconded.  Members voted back in included Alan Bender, Branson Shute, Chris Upchurch, Evan Place, Jake Coucoules, Jim Dick, Matt Zappile and Ole Hernandez.


Layne then reviewed the status of our Club’s current associate members.  Larry Shute will not be returning, so with Stu Cohen and Neils Clemenson, there are three vacancies available.  Jake Coucoules requested associate membership as did Sean Place.  This leaves one spot open for an associate member.


With the Club’s total membership presently being at 31 and with Jake and Sean both taking associate membership positions, the club now has one opening for a full member.  Open anglers (guests) can fish three open tournaments, request membership, and be voted in.


Layne reviewed the 2024 schedule and indicated that all permits (WMAs included) have been approved and permits received.  For our one tournament on Lake Nockamixon (Pennsylvania) on 9/7/2024 the no pre-fishing rule will likely be waived, pending review at next month’s Tournament Director’s meeting.  Layne discussed someone arranging for any cabins if folks are interested in staying a night or two and fishing more days.  Lastly, Layne discussed those in attendance arranging a BBQ if folks are interested.


Layne provided an update from the Mothership (South Jersey Bass Club Associate or SJBCA).  Layne has been voted in as VP #2.  Rashawn Lewis is the new President.  SJBCA Fisherman’s Flea Market is scheduled on 3/2/2024 from 8am - 1pm.  Anyone interested in renting a table to sell stuff may do so for $20.-.  See Layne for details if interested.  Finally, Layne thanked all members who brought in lures to donate for the tackle-box raffles.  A lot was donated.  Thank you! 😊


South Jersey Youth Outdoor Day  will occur this year on 8/17/2024.  Layne reported the SJBCA needs someone to take charge of the fishing component with meetings that will take place on Tuesday nights leading up to event.  Greg Rappaport and Mark Sowers both agreed to lead this, while Danny Rodrigues (who attended this past year with his son) agreed to attend again this year, and will bring his kayak.  We will need additional volunteers for this event as well, and attendance will count toward your meetings both for membership standing and for the 2024 Classic.


Layne reviewed one other event, the Palmyra Fire Dept Flea Market occurring on 2/11/2024.  He also reported that the NJ Fish and Wildlife February meeting will not happen, but may be scheduled for a Spring, 2024 meeting.


Last, but not least, Layne offered the Club’s congratulations to Danny and Neil for taking 1st place in two winter league events!  Great job gents.


Layne then led the club in Annual Club Elections as required by our By-Laws.  He reviewed that this year (unlike past years) there is a lot of movement with many folks vacating their current position.  Layne is stepping down as President.  Mark is stepping down as Vice President.  Both have served the Club for well over a decade, and we thank them for their service.  Greg is stepping down from the Secretary role he has held since 2019.  Dennis has expressed his wish to vacate the position of TD#1 he has filled for some time now as well, and it was also mentioned that Jason is interested in moving from his existing TD#2 position to the position of Treasurer, that Marc Pyontek has agreed to vacate next month.




Elections of officers were then held with each office being nominated and accepted, followed by an official motion being made with a second.  Executive officers voted in were as follows:

  • President – Greg Rappaport

  • VP – Alex Bronsky

  • TD #1 – Matt Zappile

  • TD #2 – Anthony Coco

  • Secretary – John Goss

  • Treasurer – Marc Pyontek

  • Social Media Director – Alex Bronsky

NOTE:  Social Media Director was “officially” vacated by Alex who moved to VP.  The membership was asked if there was interest, but there was none.  Alex having just served in this role requested to fill this role as well (by motion seconded and voted in), provided he only gets one vote on the Executive Board.  With only six executive board members now, any tie would go to the Vice President (Alex) per our By-Laws.


Congratulations to the new officers!!!


  1. Vice President:  Past (Mark Sowers) had no report.  Incoming (Alex Bronsky) expressed his excitement about starting the new role and working with the Club.


  1. Tournament Directors (New & Old):

Forward Facing / 360 / Active Target / Livescope sonar was discussed at length.  Layne and Greg both led what was a very hearty discussion with both favorable position and opposing ones as well.  A motion was made to eliminate all electronics.  This motion was seconded; however, the vote failed at only 8 of 21 members present (noting Sarge leaving early and Jake assuming a non-voting associate membership).


More discussion ensued with many diverse opinions being voiced including those pertaining to each technology itself, to the environment, to catch-and-release issues, angler skill and ability both with technology and without, cost, foundations of the club, the limits of the technology itself, and more.


A second motion was made that forward facing sonar with live imaging (i.e., LiveScope, Active Target, and similar) not be permitted in tournaments.  With a second, the motion was put to a vote that passed 11 to 8.  It is noted that with this vote – as worded – 360 technology is still permitted (i.e., has not been addressed at this time.)  360 technology may be discussed and addressed at a future meeting if members wish to bring it up.


A third (extraneous) motion was made and seconded regarding new fish measuring rules for 2024 that align the Club with KBF standards:  The motion stated that only “hand and identifier” are permitted in pictures, nothing else (no fish grips, no leashes, no hooks).  Also the mouth must be closed, eyes cannot be covered, and the hand cannot be under gill plate.  Following the second there was much discussion, and all members agreed that more information is needed, to include visuals that the new Tournament Directors Matt and Anthony agreed to prepare for an upcoming meeting were the maker of that motion in agreement to withdrew his motion.  The motion was withdrawn, and it will be made again at the March Tournament Director’s meeting, again allowing for more preparation time for TDs to prepare motion with pictures and details.


As an additional point, Layne ensure all members that these new rules voted on tonight will be in effect for the 2024 Season, and will not be in effect for the upcoming 2023 Classic.


Sean Place requested to be an associate member at this point in the meeting, and Greg agreed to note and make this change.


  1. Secretary (New & Old):

There were no reports from either Greg or John, but Greg said he will still collect the 2024 Forms from those members who still need to submit them:  Branson Shute, Chris Upchurch, Evan Post, Fred Tomarchio, Jason Scott, Jim Dick, John Casalnova, Ryan Hannah and Stu Cohen.


  1. Treasurer:

Marc reported the club’s balance presently at $1,047.40.  Last year the Club was at $1,089.64 at this same point in time.  Marc reported that this year’s dues increase helped level things out.


  1. Social Media Director:

There was no updated for social media at this time, but Alex stated he still plans on a robust offering for 2024 with pictures, videos, social media posts and more.  Alex (trained in meteorology gave the Club the official 2024 weather outlook that in the Spring appears to include a lot of rain in addition to an early Spring.



Upcoming Events:

  • Palmyra Fire Department Flea Market – Saturday, February 11, 2024 – in Palmyra, NJ

  • SJBCA Fisherman’s Flea Market – Saturday, March 2, 2024 – 8am-1pm in Millville, NJ

  • Kirkwood Lake (OPEN) Pre-season Tourney – Saturday, March 30, 2024 – 9am-3pm

  • Classic 2023 Day 1 on Lake Audrey – Saturday, April 6, 2024 – 9am-3pm

  • Classic 2023 Day 2 on Mirror Lake – Sunday, April 7, 2024 – 9am-3pm

  • Rainbow Lake (Members Only) – Saturday, April 13, 2024 – 9am-3pm

  • Prospertown Lake (OPEN) – Saturday, April 20, 2024 – 6am-noon

  • Lake Lenape (OPEN) – Saturday, May 4, 2024 – 7:30am-2:30pm



Next (Tournament Director’s) Meeting 3/7/2024 @ 7pm at Hammonton Library



The meeting was adjourned at 9:05pm.

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