An Anglers Learning Curve

By Steve Graf

As a young fisherman growing up in East Texas during the 70’s, there wasn’t a lot of material available on how to be a better angler. Sure, you could go down to the local library and maybe find a few books to check out but nothing that really made you sit up and take notice. Then came along Bassmaster Magazine, oh my Lord, are you kidding me? Wow…I mean it was the greatest thing to ever happen to bass fishing!

Finally, a monthly publication dedicated to nothing but bass fishing. It definitely shortened the learning curve of my generation. It had full color sketches of baits and techniques, how to fish wood, how to fish hydrilla (grass), and even how to make the proper cast. It had tips and pointers on how to catch fish under all conditions. It gave the results of all B.A.S.S. (Bass Angler Sportsman’s Society) tournaments and how the pro anglers caught their fish. It even had “best times to fish” calendar for every day of the month based on the moon phases. I mean are you kidding me, the moon phases. Who knew the moon had an impact on when a bass would feed or not feed. This was pure science for those of you that think bass fishing is all luck. Leave it to Bassmaster Magazine to be the educational leader of the outdoors world. I would literally sit by the mailbox near the end of each month just waiting for mine to be delivered. Nothing lit my fire for reading more than Bassmaster Magazine!  It’s probably responsible for correcting my dyslexia issue I had in my early elementary years. That’s how good Bassmaster Magazine was and still is today.

Then came VHS tapes and so many videos that showed live footage of catching bass. Videos showing live underwater footage of bass in their natural environment. They had one called “Big Mouth” that showed an angler fishing a crankbait with two sets of treble hooks and a bass inhaling the lure and spitting it out and the angler never knew he had a bite. It was insane to think a bass could actually do this! Videos took bass fishing to a whole other level. They had professional bass fishermen like Bill Dance, Virgil Ward, John Fox, Ricky Green, Bobby & Billy Murray and one angler who many consider to be the best angler ever Roland Martin doing video presentations. “How to” videos designed to shorten your learning curve and make you a better angler. Of course, if you had a VCR to play your VHS tapes, you were considered wealthy. But once they became more affordable, everyone had one. You could even go to Blockbuster Video Store and rent these bass fishing tapes. How cool was that?

For today’s anglers, it’s a whole other world with the amount of bass fishing videos, books and magazines available. Oh, then came this thing called the internet which has more information than hundreds of thousands of libraries. It’s an information highway that has given anglers of today the ability to look up any topic about every facet of bass fishing. There are even videos from average anglers that like to share their fishing experiences and information via GoPro cameras. So, the learning curve for today’s anglers has been cut in half. Instead of taking years to accumulate knowledge like it has for my generation, today’s generation can learn the same amount of information in just a few weeks. But there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 40 plus years of bass fishing experience: there’s no replacing time on the water. No book, no video and no internet can replace time on the water. This is how an average angler can become a great angler. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!


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