Twin brothers Michael and Lance Hakker were born into a fishing family on the sunny California coast. As kids, their dad and uncle introduced them to many different types of fishing.
“For living in southern California, Mike and I were always super-outdoorsy — playing down by the Santa Ana River in Corona, looking for snakes and catching lizards. We’d take annual trips to Big Bear and to Sequoia to fish for trout in the streams,” said Lance Hakker. “Our uncle’s dad had a fishing boat in the Seal Beach area, and we’d go fishing out by Catalina overnight as well, which was super fun. We’d sleep so good with the slight rocking of the boat, and waking up in the middle of the night to see the phosphorescent glow as dolphins would come swim next to the boat was magical.”
But they both found that they were particularly fond of one freshwater fighter — the black bass. It helped that their obsession grew thanks to the help of Bob Cobb and The Bassmasters every Saturday morning. They dreamt of fishing professionally for B.A.S.S. alongside the likes of legends like Bill Dance and Roland Martin.
“When it came to a love for fishing, that didn’t come until we went bass fishing for the first time. We went up to Big Bear Lake, which (had) a ton of weedlines, a pretty active night-bite and lots for our imaginations to grab on to. Everything about bass fishing attracted us — the lures were fun and cool, the diversity of tactics, the look of the fish and the ability to cast toward targets and fish shallow waters. This was in sixth grade, and bass fishing was the first of the three big hobbies of our formative years.”
But like life typically does, their schedules became filled with other interests, like skateboarding and snowboarding. As the years continued to pile on, the itch to wet a line snowballed into hours spent back on the water and a viral blog called Basswassup that documented their fishing adventures. For the Hakkers and their followers, Basswassup was a taste of the lifestyle they had dreamed of.
“We were fishing all the time, and I’d become the kind of person who naturally documents everything. So we started a blog and called it Basswassup. The name came from a bunch of pro skaters we were around always saying, ‘Tha’s wassup.’ Basswassup was essentially poking fun at the saying — not in a malicious way, we were more like parroting it for fun,” said Hakker. “The blog went (on) for a few years; it was super fun and actually had some momentum. In 2012 when our dad passed away, we sort of backed off the blog and even slowed down our fishing a ton. It just wasn’t the same.”
Fast-forward a decade, when the dream of turning Basswassup into a brand came to fruition. With the fun and welcoming vibe of their blog, the brothers seek to create content that is accessible to both avid bass fishermen and first-time anglers.
“With bass fishing, that time of discovery for us was something I’ll never forget, and Basswassup is in some ways our way of playing with those memories. And doing it in a way that’s digestible to the lifestyle market,” Hakker said.
So what does the future hold for Basswassup? For starters, the brothers are tapping into their roots since there are “so many people in skateboarding, snowboarding and fishing who are avid bass fishermen.”
“This is something we wanted to tap into, and the upcoming #CatchAndRepost event was born of that desire. So we decided to make our splash in Minneapolis in late September. We have partnered with friends who are current and ex-pro snowboarders out of Minnesota like Joe Sexton, Jake Olson-Elm, Tommy Gesme and Justin Fronius. (They) are creative, free-thinking people who fish and skate/snowboard (and) who embody what Basswassup is all about.”
So what exactly is a #CatchAndRepost derby? The brothers want a fun tournament where the best fishermen, young and old, in Minneapolis can “compete” against first-time anglers. Anglers can fish from shore, in a canoe or in a bass boat. Doesn’t matter. The goal is to tap into the natural and viral nature of social media, hence the name #CatchAndRepost. Each of the winners will be chosen through the social media hashtag.
“Whoever’s fish looks like it’s the biggest fish, they win the Lunker Award! My personal-favorite award will be the Catfishing Award,” Hakker said. “What we call ‘catfishing’ is when someone holds up their catch far from their body but close to the camera, creating the optical illusion of a huge fish. You know, like when someone pretends to be someone else while online dating. We just want people to come and have fun, talk about fishing, catch some fish and hang out. And hopefully the social aspect will not only make this a more inclusive way to hold an event, but it will also amplify our message and maybe spark the next event. Who knows, someone from anywhere in the country may see it and get sparked and pull us out to do the same thing with them. We want to do the right things for the right reasons at the right time. And I think this event checks those boxes!”
As for B.A.S.S., we are all about supporting fun and innovative ways to allow new anglers to experience the thrill of catching a fish.
For more information about the event follow @basswassup and the #CatchAndRepost hashtag on Instagram.
Basswassup #CatchAndRepost Fishing Tournament
Date: Saturday, September 23
Time: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Ellison Park, 913 E. River Street., Monticello, MN 55362