For those of us that enjoy the great outdoors, beautiful sunrises over the lake, nature in its element, and bonding with family and friends, bass fishing can be a great activity. I’ve been bass fishing for 40 years and tournament fishing for 26 years with a hiatus or two along the way. I am fortunate to have made many friends a long the way. Some of which I consider more like family at this point. Bass fishing and fishing in general, knows no bounds. The fish are in their world below water and us in ours above the water. It is challenging to learn and improve. Its memories made, and memories shared. When I began fishing it was my father who took me to the river with a simply spinning rod and a jar of salmon eggs and a couple Panther Martin spinners. As I developed from that excited 4 year old boy and into a teen ager it was a neighbor that took me to a local pond and taught me to fish with a purple Creme worm on a Texas rig and Big O crank bait. The tackle isles at stores like Kmart, Mel Cottons, and most drug stores were smaller than the cereal isle at your local market. Well times have changed a bit. I bought my first bass boat, a 1986 Glastron with a Lowrance Paper Graph at the dash and a flasher at the bow for $4200. Shortly there after the Lowrance X75 or X85 were the cats meow.
Growing Tournament Bass Fishing by Sean Wayman
Fast forward to today and you’re lucky if thats enough to buy a 12 inch graph with the bells and whistles. Bass boats are eclipsing the $100,000 mark. Trolling motors that just a few years ago were $1100 for top of the line now stretch beyond $3000. So how do we continue to grow our sport when the average American does not make that much in a year? How do we get tournament fishing to grow when it costs so much for the equipment? The answer from what I can see here on the west coast? You don’t!!! It seems to me that these things plateaued in the 80’s and have not returned since. Wow, things were different back then. So what happened? Well the recession for one. However long since recovered from then, the numbers of participants has not reached beyond that time, nor has boat sales.
My second boat was a used 1998 Nitro Savage 896. It had 52 hours on it when I bought it. It was like new and I was ecstatic to own it. I fished many tournaments out of that boat. I won many tournaments out of that boat. It didn’t have the latest or greatest accessories, but it ran great and I was having fun. I competed in events all over Northern California and had a blast doing so. I had 3 different partners back then and Im still very good friends with all three of them. Money was often tight for us back then, but we all pitched in and covered the cost to chase those green fish. I remember my buddy buying a top of the line Champion around that time, from a tour pro for right around $30,000. Now here we are 20 years later and we still fish out of that same boat in some of our tournaments. It does not have the new top of the line graphs, matter of fact Id say they are economy graphs at best. Purchased used or clearance due to being discontinued. However the boat runs great, the graphs work as they were designed and we can be just as competitive as the next guy.
My point is that we need to encourage new people to take up the sport of fishing, joining tournaments, or just walking the bank with their son or daughter like my dad did so many years ago. These guys don’t need to hear that the new over priced equipment is a game changer, or you have to have it to be competitive. Thats just not true and its really a poor sales tactic thats mostly used on social media. Not by companies that make the equipment, but by Pro Staff that cant think or or don’t wanna take the time to market a product with facts. Is it nice to have the latest and greatest all the time? Im sure it is. Is it needed to win or be competitive? Absolutely not. Actually truth be told there are many among the RBBASS family that have won many events with so called old and outdated equipment. Actually I can think of about half of us off the top of my head won with older and smaller boats and equipment.
So if you love bass fishing, and competing, come on out and join us. Its not about the boat, the graph, the trolling motor! If it floats and is dependable, and safe. Then you have what ya need. Grab a friend and join a tournament trail. Come have some fun and make some new friends. Good boats can still be had for what I bought that 98 Nitro for, and they are tournament ready rigs. Let’s help grow our sport and share the passion we have for the outdoors. It’s a great way to spend family time, or make those life long friends.
If you have questions on how to get started? Tournaments? Reports? Equipment? Feel free to drop me a line or contact RBBASS. We are here to help and share in any way we can. If you’re not a tournament interested angler but still love fishing you are welcome also. Salt water, fresh water, rivers and streams, reservoirs and lakes, let’s get out and catch some fish.
Thanks Dad for the time spent with me fishing.