By: Rex Chambers
For years, I along with millions of other anglers have wondered what it would take for our sport of bass fishing to get some national recognition like other sports do. We've asked questions like what would it take for some of the bigger tournaments to get their highlights on shows like ESPN, and why don't local news media interview tournament winners during their sports reports.
Well, those questions have finally been answered. In case you didn't notice this past week, there was more fishing coverage from the national media over the past few days than there has been over the past decade combined. This year's Bass Master's Classic was made to be a family event with thousands of spectators taking part in New Orleans. The recent merger with B.A.S.S. and ESPN, may have brought bass fishing to it's peek as far as getting some national news coverage.
The process has started of making some names in fishing mentioned in households nation wide. Just as Tiger Woods brought golf to be a spectator sport, there are names such as VanDam, Horton, Swindle, Clunn and Rojas that are being mentioned nationally just about every day when it comes to fishing. It seems that maybe bass fishing has finally came full circle into becoming a mainstream sport with the likes of golf and Nascar.The media and advertisers may have finally figured out that there is more interest in bass fishing than anyone ever realized.
Now comes the next question. Is this what we anglers really wanted all along? Maybe we just wanted the title of "tobacco spitting red-neck bubba with a bassboat" lifted off those of us who thought our sport was a little more respectful than that. Personally, this "bubba with a bass boat" has been wondering what is going to happen now that there is national attention and recognition for those who do well in our sport.
As a whole, there are already too many lakes that are overcrowded with anglers as it stands. Maybe not here in our part of the fishing world, but there are areas that can't stand for just one more boat to be added to the mix. We seem to forget that there haven't been any new lakes or rivers created recently. One thing stands for sure though. The more popular bass fishing gets, the more average folks there will be on the water learning the basics. And the more that get interested in the sport, the less areas we "old timers" will have to fish. Maybe, just maybe, the old saying that hindsight is 20/20 won't come into play in the near future. Hopefully, in the decade or so to come, we won't be sitting on our porch, instead of on the water, wishing we had kept our little secret of bass fishing all to ourselves.