For a long time it was the people that made it great. The membership package was tempting at one time, but it was scaled back about the same time parts of the forum became exclusive. Then the Ontario carpers started their own forum and US Carp Pro took some more away. The sport was growing here and CAG was a fantastic vehicle for learners and teachers, until it changed. Back then I wanted to drive all the way to Texas and fish in the ATC. I can't point a finger at the leadership because they really wanted it to work, but the new structuring killed it. At least CAG was here for me when I was learning and I'm grateful for that.
I miss Horace (and his dog Max, gone to Carphound Heaven by now), I miss Phone, and I miss seeing the pictures of monster fish Scott the Big Carphuna posted. There were lots of wonderful people whose names I can't remember. Oddball and Kyle Kypka would be middle-aged now. Does anyone remember how they fought over Bush v Kerry in 2004 before either of them were old enough to vote?
There are lots of American and Canadian fishing forums but they don't have near the repository of knowledge that was once here, and they certainly won't teach the same sort of fish safety that is a big part of the sport. UK forums have foreign sections but the North American boards which used to be a bit busy have almost no traffic.