One of the neatest parts of being a professional bass angler is getting to visit various product locations and getting to meet the people who design and make the products we use on an everyday basis. They’re called sponsors, but they’re really more like friends and partners.
Recently I visited the Mercury plant where they make props and the Power-Pole plant where they make and test shallow water anchors. Both trips were great. More important they were informative. They helped me understand what I’m using, why it works and how I can get more out of it.
It’s funny, you know, you use products almost every day, and you think you know all about them. You don’t. There are things you never dreamed of that they’ll do, adjustments you can make and things you thought you knew that aren’t right. It’s crazy in a good way.
I had the opportunity to meet with true experts who use those products along with other anglers, men and women who have had different experiences and different lifestyles from me. Ordinarily we (professional anglers as a group) don’t have a lot of time to meet and swap ideas outside of a competitive environment. This was a chance to get accurate information from people who can give it to you and to see the pride they take in making their products.
It’s an educational experience — like going to school only a whole lot more fun because you’re not stuck sitting behind a desk.
As a result of those experiences and others like them over the years, I can offer more details that make my information sharing more complete and more accurate when I’m doing seminars or writing this column. What I have to say won’t come from just my own experience. It’ll be combined with information from industry experts and other anglers. That makes it better, and better information is always my goal.
We’re all competitors. As pros we compete against the bass and other anglers. Recreational anglers just out for a day of fishing are still competing. It’s just that they’re only competing against the bass. We’re all doing pretty much the same thing in the end.
I don’t want to leave out the other side of this, either. Information from any source is a two-way street. I get ideas that help me as much as anyone else. No one knows it all, and never will. Things are always changing. Nothing is ever the same. We’re always learning.
The point of my taking the time to tell you all of this is that I want to make sure everyone knows that we do our best to pass information along that will help everyone catch more bass and have more fun with this wonderful sport. We’re not perfect. If we were, we’d catch them every time we went fishing. But we do have information to pass it along, and that’s what we try to do when we talk about things. We listen to you, too.
It’s a matter of cooperating and sharing — nothing more and nothing less. So take what we say seriously, and we’ll do the same when you say something.