Disneyland for Fishermen
By Grace Caldwell
Have you ever been to Disneyland?
Well, if you thought that was fun you should go to a Bassmaster tournament weigh-in or even better volunteer at one. My team volunteered at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the Potomac River Aug. 14. It was a great experience. The team members worked backstage handling the fish after the weigh-ins.
My job was to print off tickets and have the fishermen sign for them. I found them all to be very kind. My boat captains were responsible for driving the pros through a line to the front of the stage in their trucks with the pros in their
boats. This was the final weigh-in day, so there were only the top 12 competitors left.
We were able to experience the Berkeley Tackle trailer and demos, which proved to be extremely educational. They were able to test our fishing line knots and explain why they did or did not hold up. They also explained their baits, rods, reels and other equipment. Shimano even had a casting station, where we spent a lot of time trying out rods and reels. Toyota had a make-your-own-bait station to make spinnerbaits.
The best part was the interaction with the professional fishermen walking around the grounds and at their sponsor’s booth. We could take pictures with them and ask questions. Mickey Grant from Rapid Fishing showed the team their innovative products and gave members several to try out. Andrew Marks from Berkeley stopped behind stage and visited with our team. Roger Trageser with the Maryland B.A.S.S. Nation and Chuck Harbin from Bassmaster helped the team get set up with our jobs.
Even with temperatures soaring over 100 degrees it was a wonderful day. Our team learned a lot, had fun, and just had a fantastic experience overall. The weigh-in and listening to the fishermen talk about their experiences and how they caught bass was the highlight of our trip. The park that held the tournament was beautiful with vendors all around selling food. We were free to roam the grounds and explore.
I would suggest that all fishing teams experience a professional weigh-in. It was helpful to know that even the pros have bad days where they don’t catch fish. Sometimes when the team has a bad day, we blame it on lack of experience or knowledge and that is not always true. Sometimes a bad day is just a bad day.
The professional fishermen’s boats and trucks contained precision electronics and were a sight to behold. I feel it gave us something to strive for, something that is possible. We were able to see it with our own eyes, talk with them, and participate in conversations. These goals are very attainable. Remember to set your compass, follow your faith, and if you work hard enough, you can achieve that level of competition too. So be on the lookout Lucas, Swindle, Palaniuk, KVD, Ike, and Skeet, we are coming for you! Stay on top of your game because the new generation is moving up.