BASSfest: Bass fishin’, catfish races & selfies

The Zippo Bassmaster BASSfest presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps is only a few days away. That’s good news for anyone who wants to experience bass fishing at its best. It’s one of the best things to come along in years. I hope it turns into an annual tradition. I’d like to see it become as much a part of B.A.S.S. culture as our Bassmaster Classic.

What I like the most about it is that it’s all free — all the B.A.S.S. stuff, anyway — and it’s full of bass fishing information presented by people who know what they’re talking about. (The free part is important to me, you know.)

There’ll be too much going on for me to detail everything here, but I do want to mention some of what I think matters most to anglers.

We’ll start by talking about the vendors and manufacturers. The advantages of having them on-site are numerous. You can ask questions and get information from the people who design and make the products we use. They’ll give you tips on how to fish your favorite worm in the heat of summer, or maybe you can look over some of the new coolers that are available. Some of them will hold ice forever.

If you’re thinking about a new rod and reel combo, you’ll be able to see several different makes and models as well as talk price and durability before you spend your fishing dollars. The same thing is true with electronics. Thinking about an upgrade? Check things out at BASSfest. Or, if you have a question about how to set up or use yours, you can get an answer from an expert.

There are boat and motor demos available, too. Make sure you check them out. The new rigs and the motors that power them are truly extraordinary. I would never have dreamed 20 years ago that bass boats and motors would look and act like they do now. It’s unbelievable. Sometimes I pinch myself to make sure it’s all real.

The seminars are on Friday. That’ll be an opportunity to get tips and advice from some of the top Bassmaster Elite Series pros. Just as important, they’ll be available to answer specific questions you may have about how to fish your local waters under certain conditions.

There are things for other members of the family, too. There’s a petting zoo for the kids and an arts and crafts show for those who like that sort of thing.  

Again, all free of charge — unless you start buying stuff. Then you have to pay.

There’s a lot more to BASSfest than all of that, however. What it really is, and the reason I’m so positive about it, is that it’s a celebration of bass fishing and the lifestyle we all love so much. It may be an Elite event, but it’s also part college angler, part high school angler and part recreational angler.

Let’s face reality: Bass fishing is a niche sport that’s facing threats from a number of directions. We need to do everything possible to show the world that’s it fun and wholesome. BASSfest does exactly that.

Come visit us next week. You’ll be glad you did. I guarantee you I’ll be there. If I’m not on the water, you can probably find me at the catfish races. And, don’t forget to bring a camera. Selfies with your favorite angler are encouraged.