To make this very clear- I am a bass fisherman, even though I may not be "conventional" in my preferred method or choice of tackle. I know a lot about bass fishing, and although I prefer a fly rod, I actually have a lot of experience fishing lures with spinning and baitcasting gear...
but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced on Saturday- the Bassmaster Classic daily "weigh in" at the Birmingham Convention Center Arena.
The fishing took place on Lake Guntersville, but the daily "weigh ins" were staged over an hour away in the sports arena of the big city... because there is no such venue near the lake. A big arena was necessary to accommodate the hordes of fans that came to the weigh ins... literally from around the world. I saw a handful of Japanese fans there to support their professional bass fishing compatriots... clearly not from Alabama.
It was a cultural experience that I will never forget.
As I tried to describe it to my friends on Facebook... "Try to imagine a Nascar rock concert with fish."
I've seen these sort of events on TV before, but I admit that I'm not a follower of professional bass fishing... or any professional fishing tour for that matter. It's too painful to watch others get paid to go fishing for a living... and always think to myself, "I could do that."
|"We have a new leader!"|
There was also a free fishing expo held in conjunction with the Classic.
|Gratuitous metal flake bass boat photo|
Kelly and I made it a point to seek out all of the booths for companies with strong ties to fly fishing... but that doesn't mean we found much that was actually fly fishing related.
We only found two actual displays of fly rods- one at the St. Croix display and one by TFO. We appeared to be the only ones who showed any interest in these seemingly out of place sticks.
We also found the Simms display where they were promoting their rain gear and other non-fly fishing, bass-oriented fishing apparel.
Kelly even tried on a ProDry GORE-TEX rain suit and got in the Gore mobile rain room to try it out.
|Ready to face the elements|
|Bring on the wind and rain!|
One of the Simms guys was kind enough to give us a couple of camo baseball caps, and I'll be giving one away for anyone who is still reading. In the photo below, I am modeling the cap with my old Simms guide shirt while holding my first bass of the year- caught at Lewis Smith Lake on a spinnerbait on Sunday. Finally.
|First bass of 2014... sadly not caught on a fly|
If you are interested in a FREE Simms camo cap, be the first to leave a comment below with a correct link to any post where I've previously mentioned Simms gear on this blog. Good luck!