The learning curve associated with a pro's first year as a competitor on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit is incredibly steep. Beyond the grueling 30,000 miles of travel required between tournament stops is the fact that many rookies are put onto bodies of water they've never seen before.
Over the past three decades, veteran Oklahoma pro Ken Cook has been a consistent competitor on the professional bass fishing scene. In a sport where longevity at the top level is rare, Cook has found a way to remain competitive long after claiming his first professional Bassmaster victory on Florida's Lake Toho in 1982.
Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a particularly temperate climate, when late fall rolls around on the calendar you're most likely either deer hunting or sitting by the fire awaiting the spring thaw. Only the most hardened of fanatics will brave the cold chill of December in pursuit of some late-season bass fishing.
As more and more people become initiated into the pure passion and enjoyment the pursuit of America's No. 1 sportfish brings, our favorite bass waters begin to quickly show the effects.
Not many of us weekend anglers pay very much attention to how a bass is hooked. We land it, admire it and let it go.
In Tommy Biffle's mind, the rules of math that apply to the rest of the world are not necessarily in effect. The veteran Oklahoma pro says that a lot of times, he'd much prefer to catch just five bass instead of 10, 20 or even 100.
Bassmaster Elite Series has seen the resurgence of the braided line.
Tommy Biffle tells us about weedguards.
Fifteen anglers will go into the Feb. 18-20 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta as first-time Classic rookies, they're called. Some of those anglers, however, have a lot more rookie in them than others with the same label.