W e mentioned a couple of issues ago that the year 2017 would be The Year of the Bass in Texas. This month, the Year gets a swift kick-off as the entire world of bass fishing will stop and take notice of the Lone Star State.
For the first time in four decades, the granddaddy of all fishing tournaments, The Geico Bassmaster Classic, returns to Texas, to be held at Lake Conroe. The competition will take place on this highly regarded Piney Woods fishery while most of the festivities and weigh-in drama will play out in Houston.
It is fitting that our proclaimed Year of the Bass and the timing of The Classic’s return to Texas follows shortly on the heels of Houston’s hosting of Super Bowl Fifty-One last month. Since many die-hard bass tournament followers consider the Super Bowl to be the Bassmaster Classic of football games, Houston’s selection as the venue for both of these events in the same year is “classically” appropriate.
The Super Bowl, The World Series, The Stanley Cup, The Summer and Winter Olympics, The Boston Marathon, The Indianapolis 500, The Masters, The Bassmaster Classic. It is indeed a short list of sporting events, notably adorned with a capitalized “The,” that generate instant and almost universal recognition. The Classic belongs by virtue of the fact that people who don’t even know the difference between a baitcaster and a crankbait have probably heard of The Bassmaster Classic. Certainly, to anyone who regularly wets a line, in freshwater or salt, it is a household term.
From the time we attended our first Classic, we have been awed by the sheer magnitude of the event. That a 20,000 seat arena could be filled by cheering fans, waiting all day as anglers parade through to report their fortunes or misfortunes from the day’s fishing, is by itself an amazing phenomenon. Think about it. They are literally cheering as people weigh fish. Of course, over the years, Bassmaster and a cast of P.R.-savvy anglers have learned to play to the crowd and to milk every ounce of drama and mystery out of the weigh-in presentation, turning it into a true spectator event. The fact that every year the Classic captures worldwide attention and creates a Hall of Fame aura around those anglers who win it, is further testament to the scale that this singular event has attained.
Obviously, we publish a magazine, and Bassmaster publishes a magazine, and some people might think it odd for us to spend precious space—here and in the feature article by Matt Williams on page 18, in Matt’s column on page 24, and in the TF&G Report on page 54—essentially promoting a competitor. But because the event they created sparked a movement that has expanded the boundaries of fishing as a sport and as an industry, and because that event has now intersected with the fertile fishing ground we call home, it deserves our notice, and yours.
Matt Williams’s feature story goes into a lot more detail, and includes a schedule of events in case you are among the tens of thousands of Texans expected to be a part of the 2017 Classic.
So enjoy the show. Check out the action on the lake, head to downtown Houston and enjoy the Expo at George R. Brown Convention Center and catch the weigh in fireworks at Minute Maid Park.
It really is a big deal—Major League Baseball stadium big.
Email Roy and Ardia Neves at [email protected]