I have had a week to reflect on my Bass University experience in Shreveport, La. During that time, I have had a lot of folks ask me, "was it worth the trip". I usually start my answer the same way. It was worth it for me. Not because of any ah ha moment. If I was new to tournament angling, I am sure there would have been some. During the two days of seminars, I didn’t find a magic lure, a new presentation, or some closely held secrete technique that will catapult me to the next level of tournament fishing. But that wasn’t my purpose for attending. What occured last weekend fueled my passion. After the Shreveport trip, I am more dedicated to pursuing my dreams; but The Bass University was no Anthony Robbins “Date with Destiny” motivational seminar. So, what was it all about? Why did I decide to attend? What was my Bass University experience? I hope to answer all of these questions.
What was it all about?
Bass University has a lineage back to Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), but the latest edition comes to us from Mike Iaconelli and Pete Gluszek. They call The Bass University, the institution for advanced anglers. It was two days of seminars that consisted of twelve separate blocks focused on proven tournament angling tactics and techniques. The seminars were delivered by six of the world’s best professional bass anglers. Even if you think you already know everything you need to know about topwater, cranking, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics, the breakout sessions and “the daily weigh-in” may have held a surprise for you. The breakout sessions allowed us to go one on one with the pros, digging into their tackle box and into their years of knowledge of tournament fishing at the highest levels. The pros were frank and honest with no questions off limits. “The daily weigh in” was another special treat. No matter what was on the seminar schedule, “the daily weigh in” brought the pros back in for a discussion on the topic of the attendees choosing. So back to the question, was it worth it? The answer was simple for me. What is having any and all your bass fishing questions answered buy some of the world’s best professional anglers worth? My answer is priceless.
Why did I decide to attend?
I approach tournament bass fishing with a passion fueled by the competition with the hope of making it a future career. Just like in all life’s endeavors education is the key. Not just primary and secondary education, but I believe in the culture of lifelong learning. Even though, I have taught numerous fishing seminars over the years and have been relatively successful competing against some of the best local and regional tournament anglers. I still have the desire to learn and grow. For me, reading articles on new tackle and equipment is not enough. Spending hours on the internet doing tournament research is not enough. Learning from my peers and competitors is not enough. Spending every available minute on the water still doesn’t fulfill my desire to learn everything about the sport. For me, The Bass University was the next logical option.
What was my Bass University experience?
It was a reaffirmation, a rededication of sorts. It was two days with like minded people digging into the insights of six of the world’s best professional anglers. Did I walk away with something completely new? No. But, do I have new insights? Absolutely. The insights into details that will no doubt help me make better and faster decisions in the pursuit of becoming a better angler. I left Shreveport with a renewed confidence and a deeper conviction about my bass fishing knowledge and abilities. My experience was a reaffirmation on why the details mean so much and directly lead to success or failure on the water. I left with a rededication to the work ethic that it will take to reach my goals. Mike Iaconelli said, “No bites are accidental” and that resonated with me. The work that remains ahead is figuring out the why of each and every strike. I know that this experience hasn’t propelled my abilities to some new cosmic level. However, my Bass University experience has left me with an endless yearning to improve my abilities and a renewed dedication to achieve in the sport I love.
In closing, if you ask me do I think you should attend one of the Bass University events next year? I would say, it depends on what you want out of the experience. If you want to find some hidden secret to catch fish, don’t waste your time. If you want to become a better angler, then don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime. But you will need to answer that question for yourself.
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