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What do you give back to the sport of bass fishing?
By
Darin Roddick-Small

 

I have had the opportunity over this past year to do so soul searching, on what bass fishing, both competitive and recreationally, means to me and how I am trying to improve the sport for others around me. I ask you to take a look at yourself and ask this same question after you read how my outlook towards the sport has changed.

Let me just start off by giving you a little history into my journey as a fisherman. I started out fishing as many of us do as a small child. I fished from shore for anything and everything I could catch. Although I did not like to eat fish myself, my family ate all that I would catch. As I grew older, a friend of the family introduced me to competitive fishing. This person was at the time fishing the old Red Man Series the predated the BFLs. He asked me to take him out prefishing on the lake I grew up on as I spent most of my waking hours chasing the brown and green fish most of us love. This officially started my quest of becoming a competitive fisherman.

A few years later, I had the opportunity to fish in a tournament held by a sportsmen’s club that my family belonged to. I ended up winning the event and this officially created an addicted tournament angler. I have been fishing tournaments at a variety of levels, with varying results, ever since.

This past year, I stepped away from both the club level fishing as well as fishing the BFL events for the first time in close to ten years. I felt that I needed to reassess what I wanted from the sport and where I wanted to go with it. The following is what I have discovered and what I have done with my newfound love of the sport. 

Back to Basics
Why do I fish? This is one of the things that I felt I was starting to forget while I was totally engulfed in the tournament scene. I was always fishing with a purpose in mind and was very guarded with anything I had found, even if it wasn’t very good. Although I am still a big time competition junky, I have come to realize that this attitude acted like a cancer when it came to me enjoying the sport. To combat this, I have made a point of it to not only sharing information with colleges, but I also have been reaching out to others trying to help them along in their growth as bass fisherman. This not only includes children, but I also look forward to openly sharing information to anyone who will listen.

Another thing I started doing again to bring myself closer to my origins in the sport is to start wade fishing again. As a child, I did not have a boat that could be used to fish for bass in an efficient manner, so I would either wade in the shallow bays, or would spend countless hours on the local river. This is where I learned most of what I know about bass fishing. I would study and think about how and where fish would relate to cover in comparison to the river currents and water depths. I have found that by getting back into wading again, I am enjoying the simpler life of bass fishing I had before I had all the electronics and the fancy boat. Do not get me wrong; I do love to fish from my boat.

To share or not to share, that is the question?
As I stated earlier, I spent many years where I would hesitate, to say it lightly to share information with fellow fisherman. I tried to keep my spots and my presentations “secret” because I thought I might have had a true hidden way to catch these fish. This last year fishing the BFL circuit, I truly realized that most people all know the same spots, but catching them is another story. That was truly hammered home to me this spring when I fished an event on my homebody of water. I was in a small cove and had six other boats pull into that area shortly after me. We continued to fish and watch the others that came in to see what was happening. During this time my partner and myself caught a limit of three-pound large mouths, while the others around us did not catch a fish.

This may be the one of the things that stops the spread of information more than any other factor. So many people are worried about protecting “their spots” they miss out on the great opportunity to network that comes from sharing a little now and then. Becoming part of the FUTUREBASS Pro Staff has really opened up this avenue for me. It has allowed me into the circles of the anglers that normally places high in many of the events that I have fished over the years. I have found out a variety of things ranging from the fact that many of them share information with each other (they all know where the fish are biting and on what) and they will share it with you if you approach them in a proper manner. Although I do not fish the same places as these anglers, I still find it interesting to hear what they are doing on a regular basis.

Giving back to others what I have received
This year I have had the great opportunity to share what I know about tournament fishing with another individual who is starting out in the realm of competitive bass fishing. I have not only fished a couple of events with him, but have helped him to prefish for his separate events, but have been instructing him on how and when to use different techniques that I use with success. This may be the most fulfilling revelation that I have had as a fisherman in my lifetime. In doing this, I have found true happiness in my fishing life. Aside from that, I know it is making me a better angler in the process.

In closing I refer you back to my initial question: What are you giving back to the sport of bass fishing? Although this is not all I do, I feel it opens the doors for others to see what they may be missing in their lives as we get wrapped up in our fishing and forget what it is all truly about. I wish you all much happiness in your fishing future.

Tight lines and God Bless
Darin Roddick-Small
Futurebass Pro Staff
Brovarney Baits Pro Staff
Venom Lures Pro Staff