The sport of bass fishing has grown by massive amounts since I first cut my teeth on a baitcaster. It is more mainstream today than it ever has been.
High schools and colleges all across the nation are host to bass fishing clubs. The young anglers are pumping life into the outdoors and creating an excitement not witnessed in years.
A catalyst for this resurgence has been one particular show on The Outdoor Channel.
“Major League Fishin”g is growing and catching the eye of both diehard anglers and the causal participant. I hear more people talk about it each week, and the chatter has been positive.
Even though the program is bigger than ever before, I’m sure that many have never heard of it.
“Major League Fishing” is a made-for-television competitive bass fishing event where the sole purpose is to grow the sport.
Unlike major spectator sports like football or baseball, the grueling competition for fishing happens where fans cannot see it. To bring the competitive passion to the masses, something needed to change.
Several years ago, a few professional anglers noticed the sport was not growing.
These longtime pros brainstormed and decided to take the best parts of tournament fishing and keep them while eliminating the parts that they didn’t care for. All throughout the planning stages, the fishing fan watching on television was the No. 1 priority.
“Major League Fishing” events are filmed at unknown waters, with no practice days, and the competitors catch, weigh and release fish in the boat.
An online score tracking system keeps a running total of all the weight caught.
There is no five-fish limit because the bass are returned to the water immediately after weighing them. None of them are put in the livewell to be drug across a stage hours later.
As a result, anglers can score as many fish as they can catch.
The show emphasizes the mental side of competition and gives the audience a real insight into the minds of the best anglers. Live score updates are read to the pros as the day progresses.
If an angler has yet to boat a fish, he or she keeps hearing who is catching them and what the total weight is. This can really mess with their mental approach.
There are two sides to the show format. The competition field is filled with Cup anglers and Select anglers.
The Cup anglers are full-time “Major League Fishing” members and also were the founding members of the format. The Select anglers are trying to win a spot as a Cup angler.
The most interesting part of the show for me is the fact that the pros did not spend days or weeks learning a body of water.
They do not know where they are fishing until the morning of the event.
They start out with some ride-around time and then it is “lines in” and the competition begins. It is insightful to listen and watch as these anglers adjust their plan for the day. They have to find fish and catch them right away. The show format is very similar to what it is like for recreational anglers.
The amount of buzz around this program is growing and reaching a huge audience. You can find out more information at www.majorleaguefishing.com. I think if you like to bass fish, you will enjoy the program and gain a lot of tips and tricks that can help you the next time you hit the water.
Times are sure changing. Thirty years ago, the odds were against a youngster wanting to grow up and be a professional angler. It is still an impossibly difficult career, but more people are chasing that dream than ever before. I hope you enjoy watching the program as much as I do.