I remember when I first started fishing with my dad. We had a 12ft aluminum boat with a 6hp motor and a clamp on trolling motor. With a couple of fiberglass rods and some Zebco 33 reels we were off to lake to catch some bream and white perch. My dad introduced me to bass fishing when I was about 10 years old. He had one ABU 5500c on an ugly stick and several Zebco 33s on some cheap fiberglass rods. I must have fished with those Zebcoes until I was 15 and I bought my first bait caster which was a Shimano. My rod and reel didn’t cost me $60. My dad upgraded his boat to a 14ft aluminum boat but kept his same motor and trolling motor. When I was 18 years old I bought my first boat which was a fiberglass cigar boat with stick steering. Since that time I have owned several boats and all have served me well. I now have an 18 ft Javelin and find myself looking for something bigger. I’ve also upgraded over the years on rods and reels. Which brings me to the title of this article; Is it about the Sport or Is it All Show.
I was watching the Bass Masters the other day and I was thinking; Do we really need all this fancy stuff to catch bass or has our sport become so commercialized that we are lead to believe that we need all this stuff? Look back at the old Bass Master videos and look at what the pros where fishing out of and what type of equipment they used. These guys caught lots of bass and they didn’t nearly have the equipment they have today. Some will say that with the fishing pressure we have today you need every advantage you can get but again I think they have just been sucked in to the belief that they need this stuff.
Let’s address this pressure theory first. I have been on the lake in the middle of the week where there was hardly any fishing pressure and the conditions couldn’t have been better and had less than great success. On the other had I have fished on weekends where you could practically walk across the boats and did very well. I’ve also had the opposite results in both occasions. The bottom line to this is if you find the fish you can catch the fish. So do you actually need all this top of the line equipment to succeed, I would say no.
I often wonder what we are doing to the future of our sport. Think about this for a moment. If our younger generation watches these shows like the Bass Masters do they think they need this expensive equipment to go out and catch fish. How many of our youths will get frustrated with this sport if they go out and don’t do so well and then think their problem is their equipment. I don’t know of many young people that can go out and buy an expensive set of rod and reels not to mention a high dollar bass boat. We have all been sucked in to this commercialization of our sport in one way or another.
Even as I write this article I know that some day I will upgrade my boat to something bigger and better not because I need it but more so that I want it. Every year I tell myself that this is it, they can’t possibly continue to upgrade but every year they come out with bigger and better. It will be interesting to see what effect gas prices will have on our sport. Will you see people making 60 mile runs or will you see less run time and more fishing. Will we go in reverse and start using smaller more efficient boats to compensate? Only time will tell.
Here’s something to think about. Next time you are fishing and you catch a fish ask yourself did I catch this fish because I have a $40,000 bass boat, a $500 rod and reel combo, and I’m throwing a $15 bait or did I catch because I knew what I was doing? Then ask yourself could I have caught this fish with less? Well I know the answer because I have none of the above. I hope that most people can see through all the hype and just enjoy this sport with out breaking the bank, but hey if you are one of the few that can afford it then enjoy the luxuries that this sport offers.
Jared LeBlue (Rattle)