Marriott O’Hare, Chicago, IL
I remember about five years ago the Bass University, which at the time was put on by B.A.S.S. itself, had a scheduled stop here in the Twin Cities and I remember how badly I wanted to go. I was just starting to jump full go into competitive bass fishing and had just bought my first Ranger. That was a fantastic winter buying a boat but it was also an expensive one as I had really not much of any equipment and the idea of fishing out of my new shiny bass boat without electronics was awful. Needless to say my priorities kept me from attending the University when it came around but still I promised myself that I would be in attendance the next year when they came back in town.
That next Spring I sported a nice Lowrance unit on my boat and even saved enough to add another to the front deck. I looked the part that year and actually was able to learn a lot over those first few months which was very rewarding because of the exception of a few good friends, I learned a lot of it on my own.
After that first year I felt I was ready to take the step into tournament bass fishing and that off season I looked forward to attending the BASS University to help really sharpen my skills. When I came to learn that the University wouldn’t be coming back to the area I was disappointed I hadn’t gone the year prior.
Business went on as can be expected and year after year I look back at my successes and how quickly I was able to accomplish as much as I have in a relatively short amount of time. I obviously still have much to learn so when I got news that the new Bass University was coming to a city within driving range, I was on the road to Chicago.
I’ll be more than honest with you, the entire drive down there I was pretty skeptical. I was just hoping I wasn’t driving all this way to Chicago to hear a pro tell me what color jig is the magic fish catching color or why their Triton is better than a Bass Cat. I mean, I know a thing or two about catching a bass and for good reason, in the past 5 years I’ve spent every available second I could to catching these fish. Not only do I wake up at absolutely ridiculous hours of the morning, day after day and spend hours after hours wreaking havoc not just physically but mentally as well, just to stay up late scowering magazines and reading internet articles just to absorb more.
Well, I can happily say that in just the first two hours of the first day I felt I had gotten my money and time worth. There was barely any sponsor plugs and when there was it was because someone in attendance asked. I have a knack for the business side of the sport and understand plugging sponsors is as important to a pros career as consistently catching fish. However, it’s unheard of to be able to sit in the same small room with other top echelon sports figures and pick their brain for knowledge.
In fact, I feel as though I may have been more bass savvy than a lot of people attending however I feel like I may have learned some of the most that were in attendance. I know for fact that had I attended this class 5 years ago I’d be even more better off as I am now. Yet, I’m even more impressed by how much more confident I am now.
I wasn’t there to get an autograph, not at all. I couldn’t. Everyday I think of how bad I want to be competing out there against them and though I have a lot to learn I’m now reassured that that very feat could be had with any given cast.
To hear someone like Mike Iaconelli or Brent Ehrler talk to you just like your fishing buddies and to see that they are just like myself, a dude that really, really likes to fish and that the difference is he made an opportunity happen at the right time.
I can honestly say that no matter what your level of bass fishing is you can and will take useful knowledge away from this, knowledge that will help you put more bass in your livewell. When you see a bass pro that has cashed a million dollar paycheck sit in the same seats as the rest of the class and intently listen to his competitor talk and even ask questions to better help himself understand what he is saying. The best thing I learned is that if I continue to work and stay dedicated to my goals, I’ll too cash in on that opportunity when it presents itself.
I did learn a lot of tips and techniques that will better help me excel because of going to this class. Tips that I really don’t care to share but for one exception, one thing that I will live by. The five P’s, as long as I follow the five P’s I will always put myself into contention to succeed.
Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performances