Largemouth bass fishing continues to be big business in the recreational fishing industry.
I remember when largemouth bass fishing came of age -- or rage -- in the early 1970s. You couldn't catch a bass on an ordinary rod; it had to be a bass rod or worming stick that felt more like a pool cue than a fishing rod.
And spinning reels were out -- only conventional, bait casting reels could catch them big hawgs (bass).
Everyone had to be a member of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASS), and no BASS member would be caught dead fishing in anything other than a bass boat. Yep, a specially designed boat to catch bass in.
Interestingly, of my bass fishing group from the 1970s, three of the five bass boats are still alive and well, but now spend more time chasing blue crabs than largemouth bass. I think it's an evolution or something; bass fishing's popularity in Maryland certainly has not diminished, especially in light of the improving bass fishing in the Potomac River.
Local bass anglers will have the opportunity to view the largest collection ofbass boats and bass fishing equipment ever assembled in the northeast as the seventh annual BASS Expo '91 gets under way at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium next weekend.
I talked to Charlie Eversberger, manager of Angler's Sport Center, about bass fishing and the BASS Expo earlier this week. He said that bass fishing provided anexcellent spring market for him until last year, when the Departmentof Natural Resources closed the bass fishing season between March and mid-June. The new season is supposed to protect the bass during the spawning season and, in the long run, improve bass fishing in Maryland.
BASS Expo '91 should create a good draw for Angler's. A large number of Eastern Shore and Delaware bass fishermen make the trip to Timonium for BASS Expo.
"The show does get fishermen excited," Charlie said, "and they find it hard to pass an open tackle shop on their way home."
So what is this BASS Expo that draws bass fishing fanatics from New York to the Carolinas? Some say it is the biggest and the best bass fishing show in the northeast. It occupies almost the entire Cow Palace at Timonium's fairgrounds -- now, that's big.
In addition to the bass fishing celebrities mentioned below, BASS Expo '91 will feature over 200 bass boats, many equipped with the latest bells and whistles in bass fishing paraphernalia.
Bass fishing tackle, marine and bass fishing electronics, electric trolling motors, lures and plastic worms will be everywhere. I guarantee you will see more plastic worms at this show than you have ever seen anywhere. And almost everything you look at will be offered for sale -- whoopee! Showspecials!
In addition, you'll find bass fishing guides to talk to, including representatives from fishing publications, BASS state federations from Maryland and Delaware, and just about anything associated with bass fishing.
Successful bass fishing depends on technique. You need to know what you are doing. BASS Expo '91 has assembled a group of nationally and regionally recognized bass fishing experts to provide seminars on the A to Zs of bass fishing.
Jerry McKinnis, from ESPN's "The Fishin' Hole," leads the parade, followed closely by pro bass fishermen Woo Daves, George Cochran, Joe Thomas and Greg South. I'll not get into the major tournaments these folks have won or their rankings in recent BASS Master Classics. Needless to say, they are outstanding fishermen who could certainly help you and me catch alargemouth or two.
The show opens Friday at 2 p.m. Show hours are2 to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 10 to 14, and free for kids under 10.
Seminar hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Additional local experts expected to appear in seminars are Bob Pingel, Glen Peacock, Mike Draper, Gene Hord and Mark Kovach.
Promoter Bob Dobart has done an excellent job putting together another fine show. If you are a bass fisherman, I'm certain you'll enjoy it. And if you own a tackle shop, make certain you have a big "Open" sign outside to bait a few of those fishermen migrating through.
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in the Anne Arundel County Sun.