Back to School at The Bass University

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Lews Fishing

by Dan O’Sullivan

Bass University Attendees at Boxborough

Bass University Attendees at Boxborough

It kind of felt like homecoming for me this weekend.

For something like the fourth or fifth consecutive year I traveled to a Bass University session for one of their weekend seminar sessions. The owners of Bass University, Pete Glusek and Mike Iaconelli have been gracious in accepting me and Advanced Angler at the events each of the past several years.

JT Kenney Talks Grass Fishing

JT Kenney Talks Grass Fishing

It also doesn’t hurt that for three of the past four years, the event I’ve gotten to travel to has been near Boston which has become one of my favorite areas to visit. There’s something about coming from Irish ancestry, and having my father and uncles born in New England that makes me feel nostalgic when I get to visit. I also like the feeling of being so near to the Red Sox, which is my dad’s favorite baseball team from birth, and a team that has been a part of my life for so many years.

Another highlight for me is getting to spend the weekend with Rob Lever, of We Love to Fish – the guy who plays Massole on Advanced Angler. Rob has become one of my dear friends, and it’s always fun to visit with him, his wife Melissa and daughter Maggie.

But, those are the very personal meanings that are side benefits of attending a Bass University session. Having been here three of the four years, I’ve gotten the chance to meet some of the New England bassers that are regulars at the events. I will put it this way. Take a person who is already born into extreme passion of fandom with teams like the Red Sox, the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics and introduce the addictive sport of bass fishing to them. This group is absolutely eaten up with bass fishing, and many of them are attending their fourth or fifth session of Bass University. I love being around people like that.

Joe Balog Talking About Northern Smallmouth

Joe Balog Talking About Northern Smallmouth

This year, the event coincided with the New England Fishing and Outdoors Expo in Boxborough, and I met very passionate people from Jase Custom Rods and Andy’s Custom Jigs; it was enjoyable, and they are a group of people who work very hard to grow their brands. I also got to chat a little with former Elite Series pro Mark Burgess, who has been out dealing with some stuff off the water, but sounds prepared to go back and make a run at it again. it was great to see Mark and spend a few minutes with him.

Normally, at Bass University, I spend my time shooting videos for the readers of Advanced Angler. When one angler is speaking during his session, I would grab one of the others and do a video tip or technique with them and put them up on the website the next day for all of you to see. This year I decided to attend a few of the seminars myself.

I’ve realized over the past couple years that I have needed to start participating more instead of working every minute, so I decided that I was going to take the time and sit down in the class and take in a seminar; something I’ve done very little of in the five or six Bass University events I have attended.

Justin Lucas Talks Swimbaits

Justin Lucas Talks Swimbaits

I learned some new things that could eventually not only lead to me catching more fish myself, but will also likely end up being topics for future pieces here on the website. I really enjoyed the seminars on dropshotting for smallmouth with Joe Balog, Flipping Matted Grass with JT Kenney, Topwater with Gluszek, and I loved seeing the talent that young pros Brandon Palaniuk, Justin Lucas and Adrian Avena have for delivering a topic. I especially liked listening to some of Lucas’ topic on throwing hollow bellied swimbaits. He used them when he first moved from California to Alabama, and they helped him learn the waters better. I’m hoping to apply some of things myself as I begin to learn about my new home waters.

It really is amazing for the general public, the fans that drive this sport, to have access to these professionals at an event like this. Iaconelli and Gluszek, along with their tremendous staff, have done a tremendous job of organizing, working with the show promoters and getting the kind of anglers that the people can learn from.

I’m fortunate that I get to see some of these lessons up close as I do my job, but often times I am watching through my lens and usually have to guess at why they are choosing the lure or technique they are using, or what adjustments they are making during the day. Now, with Bass University, I can hear their thoughts and listen to them explain the decisions they make on the water.

I think anyone who is serious about bass fishing really should attend a Bass University session when they come to a town near you, but if you can’t make it, they have recently launched their Bass University TV platform that allows viewers to watch sessions that they would not normally be able to attend.

For the first time, you can truly enjoy going back to school.