You need to be at Houston Classic

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The home of the Houston Astros, Minute Maid Park, will host the Bassmaster Classic’s sizeable weigh-in crowds.

I’ve never had a tattoo but maybe, just maybe, I could get one on my arm that says…”You need to be there.”

Maybe the most important thing that has ever happened in the world of bass fishing will occur this March in Houston, Texas. Well during the next few months, I am going to do my darndest to talk you into being a part of it.

You know what, I want to say that a little differently.

Almost 50 years ago, Ray Scott pulled the trigger on B.A.S.S., and that was probably the biggest thing that ever happened to bass fishing. But in the 50 years since, the sport and all the people around it have been getting ready for March 2017.

To be more specific, that would be March 24-26, 2017. Those are the dates for the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, and I'm going to think this next part over to do my best and say it correctly so you'll understand where I’m coming from. During January, February and March of this year, we’re going to throw a bunch of reasons at you to be at this Houston event, but the next statement is the big No. 1 reason, and I hope you hear it over and over again.

“You need to be there!”… just as simple as that.

Something big could be happening, and you need to be able to say you were there for it. Plus, you're a part of it and it won't happen if you're not there.

You need to be there not just because it’s the Bassmaster Classic, but because it might be the second most important happening ever in the bass fishing world, and it just happens to be going on during the 2017 Classic. Oh sure, a great contest will be take place on the water, and a big weigh-in show will await you at the end of each day. But bass fishing could take a giant step forward. Don’t you want to be able to feel that?

What if, for Ray Scott's first meeting to develop B.A.S.S., you had been invited? Would you have gone? That’s a silly question … of course you would have. It was held at a little resort in the Ants Creek area of Table Rock Lake in Missouri, and you might have been the first person in line. Now 50 years later you could say, “I was at that meeting.“ You probably wouldn’t remember much about it, but by gosh, you were there.

So now comes the hard part, selling you on this being three magical days you can’t miss. It won’t be easy, but it is doable. In fact the B.A.S.S. staff in Birmingham and Little Rock are on the bus, and we are ready to go door-to-door if that’s what it takes.

I do realize that I may be talking to folks who have already been to a Classic. Maybe more than one. Or maybe you were a part of that incredible gathering that showed up for the Elite event in Philadelphia a few years ago.

Oh my. Were you a part of the 40,000 or 50,000 spectators in Orange, Texas, or Waddington, New York?

If you can answer yes to any one of those, then you think you've already experienced all there is to experience when B.A.S.S. comes to town. Well I’m here to tell you, you haven’t. Not even close.

The record attendance for a Classic is somewhere around 135,000 over the three-day period. Both Shreveport and Tulsa were at those numbers and both did an incredible job. We will be back to those sites again soon. But I am predicting that Houston will knock our socks offs.

However, and please believe me now, records and big attendance numbers are not the goal. What those numbers will do for our sport, after we leave Houston and Minute Maid Park, is what’s important. Please notice that I said “what it will do for our sport,” not what it will do for Bassmaster. This could affect anyone and everyone. Big numbers in Houston can change how the world looks at bass fishing, and I hate to use this expression because it’s used too often with nothing ever happening, but here goes anyway … "It could change the sport." So you need to be there.

So what are we bringing to the Houston Classic that bass fishermen haven’t already seen at previous Classics? Well in the coming weeks we're going to get more specific, but for now my answer as to what’s new ... not much actually. The difference is about the things that are already there. We’re taking 52 great anglers to the fourth largest city in the U.S. and turning them loose on a true giant-bass fishery at the right time of the year … you better be there.