Fishing and music festivals

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B.A.S.S.

Ordinarily, you might not think of music and fishing together. But they can be a great match.

B.A.S.S. has a long, rich history of pairing music with fishing. In fact, founder Ray Scott included a concert by the “Skunk Hollow Gang” at his very first tournament on Beaver Lake in 1967. Since that time, the Bassmaster Classic and other big fishing events have frequently included live entertainment — often with top-flight artists.

Music can draw more people to the sport.

Oldies but goodies

At my earliest Classic appearances, I recall Lee Greenwood performing his patriotic song “God Bless the USA.” It was magical and resonated with the many thousands of fishing fans who attended those weigh-ins.

Ray Scott was all about patriotism, and he frequently shared the message of freedom on fishing’s grandest stage. It was special, and it had a huge impact … especially for a young guy like me, just starting my career.

Later, in 2000, I competed in a Classic hosted by the City of Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan. That event was held at Soldier Field — one of the most iconic arenas in all of sports. And there, too, musical entertainers shared the stage with the Classic contenders.

Today’s hits

These days, some of the Elite Series tour stops are scheduled in conjunction with music festivals. The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest can sometimes be a prime example, as are the events held in Waddington, New York, on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.

Twice I’ve made final cuts there, and I’ll never forget those drive-thru weigh-ins — where my rig was pulled to the stage before thousands of enthusiastic bass fishing fans.