Thursday, September 21, 2006

Small Boat Bass Fishing

One of the most impressive things I have ever experienced was walking into the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh on the final day of the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic as over 10,000 screaming fans were all getting ready to cheer on their favorite professional angler. I was completely overwhelmed, and I remember wondering if I had somehow landed on a different planet. There was an entire world out there that was foreign to anything I had ever experienced. Who knew this many fans would get together in one place to celebrate bass fishing’s biggest event?

Prior to working for BASS, I had enjoyed a casual fishing existence. My very first bass was caught on a top water spinning lure my grandfather and I built on a lath when I was about 7. The smallmouth was only about a pound, but I will never forget sitting on the front of my grandfather’s canoe as I pulled him out of a small cove filled with lily pads. I have been trying to recreate that moment for the last 33 years.

My mother moved my sister and me from Ohio to Florida when I was about 10. Here I learned about largemouth bass and almost fainted when I saw a friend of mine pull in 8 pounds of fish into the canoe. Having spent the first part of my fishing "career" reeling in smallmouth bass, catching these behemoths was the start of a whole new adventure. For the next 8 years or so, I spent a lot of time in canoes exploring all the local lakes Orlando has to offer and learning to love the hunt for the next monster bass.

Admittedly, there were a number of years after high school where fishing was no longer a priority in my life, but I would often think about all of the times I spent fishing out of a canoe with my friends; especially the time I was able to spend with my grandfather. There is something about moving quietly through the water and getting back to areas other boats are unable to go, only to pull out a few quality bass. As an adult, I discovered there are even more freedoms as you can take a canoe into bodies of water big bass boats cannot access. In some cases, I have found myself in small lakes that have little to no traffic but plenty of bass.

Without a doubt, I have become a big fan of professional bass fishing. Getting to meet some of the anglers and being able to work at some of the BASS events have been a once in a lifetime experience. I even understand the appeal of having a bass boat; the speed and agility of these boats have helped elevate bass fishing to a new level for us weekend anglers, but give me a quiet lake, a canoe and a friend, and I will take that any day of the week.

Thanks Grandpa!