This is the season of learning for all anglers interested in bass fishing.
I say that as I kick off my travel schedule to do seminars and sport shows around the country before the Bassmaster Elite season kicks off next month.
It began this week when I flew to Bass Pro Shops in Destin, Fla., for a store managers’ workshop program. It’s an annual program that Bass Pro Shops puts together to educate sales people on new products.
The workshop lasts a week and is quite comprehensive. Tackle companies visit Destin to spend time with the managers, teaching them the ins and outs of their new products. I’ll be there on behalf of Strike King to detail all of the new baits with lure department managers.
For example, I will tell them about the new KVD jerkbait and how it differs from other jerkbaits they sell; I’ll explain the benefits of the new KVD Poppin’ Perch and situations where it is most applicable.
On Saturday, I fly from Florida to Indianapolis then drive from there up to Kokomo, Ind., for a Bass University at the Wild Indiana Outdoors Expo there.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Bass University so I’m excited to get back involved.
The new Bass University is spearheaded by pros Pete Gluszek and Mike Iaconelli who have revived this sensational educational program, expanding into other areas of the country and have it growing rapidly. The Kokomo class includes Iaconelli, Bill Lowen, Bryan Thrift and Seth Feider.
This is not your everyday seminar. The University program is a daylong event taught in a classroom environment. Students get advanced instruction based upon each pro’s specialty. For example, I will discuss my complete cranking system and cold-water power fishing techniques. Because of the amount of time I have and the targeted audience, I will go into far greater detail than what I do at sport shows.
In fact, I learn a lot by listening to the other instructors’ presentations and the numerous questions that come up from students during the program.
I then drive back to Indianapolis and fly to Detroit on Sunday to conduct seminars at the Ultimate Fishing Show in nearby Novi, Mich. This is the first major outdoor show of the year and is 100 percent fishing. My first program there is at noon and I’ll do a second at 3 p.m.
Outdoor shows provide fine learning opportunities for anglers. The seminars not only provide a chance to pick a pro’s brain but you also can see many of the new bass fishing products for the first time at various tackle exhibits. Nearly every major show attracts manufacturer reps that allow you hands-on experience with rods, reels, electronics and lures. That personal contact will help you differentiate between each style.
Believe me, I read Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times cover to cover when they arrive, and we all learn from watching Internet videos and TV fishing shows. But things like the Bass University and the outdoor shows around the country provide you opportunities to get one-on-one with pros and experts and ask questions that you’ve always wondered about.
It’s an inexpensive way to gain a lot of knowledge and springboard your upcoming fishing season.
Remember, it’s all about the attitude.