What separates the bass fishing professional from weekend anglers? Is it sponsorship, deals on boats and equipment; money, a large company behind the angler; ability, being able to pattern bass and catch them; or something that is so simple the general public overlooks it? Most of these things are obvious, except the overlooked.
Sponsorship is almost a requirement with increased gas prices, high tournament fees, the expense of boats and outboards, oil, bait, terminal tackle, rods, reels, not to mention the traveling and hotel stays. Get the picture? It is expensive to be competitive in the bass fishing tournament world today. Sponsorship helps to buffer the damage that bass fishing professionally can do to the angler’s wallet, but it is not what makes him a professional.
Money? Of course it’s an ingredient. How many professional anglers started out with a ten year old bass boat, "antique looking" tackle and equipment and despite the financial short comings still managed to excel in competitive bass fishing? Conversely, there is "that guy", who is in every part of the country. He has a $60,000 name brand boat, several $200 rods, $300 reels to go with every one of them, and pulls his rig with a brand new top of the line SUV. He can’t catch a cold during a cold front but he is a bass fishing professional. Is money what grants him that title or something else?
Having the ability to fish with the "Big Dogs", ability is a must. How many people do you know that have the Midas touch, yet won’t commit to a tournament trail despite your best efforts to encourage them to?
The difference between professionals and weekend anglers is that they have "stepped out" of their comfort zones, They have stepped out of routines to learn new techniques and fished unfamiliar waters. Stepped out and met new people and new challenges.
We (myself included) fish familiar waters, and develop routines, we find our "holes" and make "milk runs" out of comfort. Sometimes we are forced to step out of our comfort zones (but not too far) to fish unfamiliar or less frequented lakes and rivers due to local tournament trails or club events. These limitations we set upon ourselves.
Lets look at the achievements made in the history of our country. What if back in the 50’s and 60’s we had been convinced that reaching the moon was "too far away – unachievable"? We would have never heard the words "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Too far? Those men really stepped out and look at what they accomplished.
Ray Scott started with an idea for a tournament trail for people who truly enjoy this sport of bass fishing. This idea has grown to a multibillion-dollar business, which impacts us all. Through Government regulations, appropriations of federal monies, direct and indirect taxes, State regulations and licenses, environmental matters and multiple tournament trails (depending upon your interest), his idea has affected us all. Scott stepped out and up to the plate, and with assistance from his friends and acquaintances look where that little idea has gone.
Now days, after the challenge to start B.A.S.S., Scott is again stepping out. Wanting to start a tournament trail that is a true challenge. Scott wants to start a tournament trial that has a 4lb line maximum. Lets see how many people will step out and take on that challenge.
I have had a few heroes in my life. Growing up watching and reading about them convinced me that a person couldn’t be complacent to succeed. Who remembers the Snake River jump that Evil Knevel made? Now that’s not complacency. Now I’m guilty of the saying "good enough for government work", and by no means am I the model of this article, however I would like to be able to step out myself, yea that would be good.
I recently injured my hook-setting wrist. I won’t be able to use it anytime soon, so now I am forced to step out and learn a new technique, spinning gear. In the long run this should help my fishing I figure (suggestions and hints welcomed). I had planned on learning a few new techniques this year anyhow, but geesh, this just expedited that.
With all the references, Internet sites, and fishing magazines out there, picking a new technique is fairly easy. A person only has to pick one, learn the basics, and then the fun begins. Take your newfound knowledge, apply it, refine it and make it yours. Then take it one step farther and show someone else what works for you. Step out and help someone else, it will come back to you.
New techniques, new gear, available references, learning form others are all very good and commendable, but to make it all work and come together, step out of YOUR comfort zone see what happens. Good luck and watch your step.
Dave The Dope Man