Bass fishing, one of the most popular types of angling in the United States, maybe the most popular of all. Particularly popular in the Southeast and with “good old boys,” fishing for largemouth bass is a vacation choice good both for inexperienced anglers and tournament professionals.
That is not to say bass fishing is easy, just not overly complicated. Bass are worthy adversaries, often hungry, and willing to fight back when hooked. That combination has seen the prevalence of bass fishing rise tremendously over the past 50 years.
History of Bass Fishing
Bass were not always the freshwater fish of choice. In the early part of the 20th century, bass mostly were considered a “trash” fish because they were not particularly “good eating.” Trout were more prized because they put up a good fight bringing them in and dressed up nicely when taken to the table.
All that started to change in 1932 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Tennessee Valley Authority and, with it, a boom in the construction of dams and reservoirs, thousands of which were stocked with bass. That year also saw the still-standing record largemouth bass catch by George Perry (22 pounds, four ounces).
With all those fish in the water the popularity of bass fishing has grown steadily over the years, and in 1968 a man named Ray Scott created the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS). The association started hosting tournaments and by the year 2000 BASS estimated that as many as 30 million people were bass fishing (that would be more than the number who played tennis or golf) and that the bass fishing industry accounted for between $50 and $70 billion in the economy of the United States.
With that many bass anglers in the United States the variety of vacation packages and ideas for family trips is almost endless. The professional bass tournament tour handed out more than $3.1 million in prize money in 1997 after the ESPN cable sports network started televising the events, so there are lots of families spending their weekends at lakes these days.
There also are numerous bass fishing guides and instructors will to teach the trade to those who want to learn it, further diversifying vacation options. Of course, there also are thousands of anglers out there who own boats that are specially designed for bass fishing, meaning many more weekend outings – and tens of thousands in expense.
Head to the Store
Perhaps best of all is that equipment and information about bass fishing is so plentiful, just about anyone interested in getting started fishing for bass can do it all on their own. For $100 or less at a fishing specialty store, or any decent sporting goods store, a prospective angler can get decked out with all that is needed. There also are thousands of publicly accessible lakes and ponds so the only other cost would be the price of an appropriate fishing license.
None of the training or fancy equipment is a guarantee an angler will actually catch any bass, but as most anglers would tell you even a day spent not catching fish is a better day than one spent in the house, especially if the family enjoys the trip together.