by Pros4- 1Source's Dave Landahl
Oh the times they are a...forget about it. No cheesy song lyrics quotes here. Instead, let's talk about the changing nature of pro bass fishing. Boy, it sure has changed since its inception in the 1960's.
So, who better to ask about the changes than the blonde bombshell of pro bass fishing, Jimmy Houston? Jimmy has been fishing pro events for 50 years. He's seen almost everything as far as the evolution of the sport.
Pros4- 1Source asked Jimmy to share what he thought were the most important changes over the years to his sport and he obliged. Check it out.
Fishing For a Living
"I think the biggest change in pro bass fishing over the last 50 years is that somebody can aspire to fish for a living now," said Houston. "When I started in 1966, nobody fished in tournaments for a living. Sure some guys guided, but usually part-time. Most anglers had regular jobs and fished tournaments when they could. It was unheard of to fish for a living.
"A lot more people fish for a living now. It's now something a youngster can aspire to do for a profession. I can now look a young angler in the eye and tell them they can do it. I couldn't really do that just 10 years or so ago.
"Of course, you need to get your education first and when you combine the total of pros on the Bassmaster Elite Series and the FLW Tour there are only 280 or so, but still something to aspire to be for sure.
"Plus, there are so many other ways to make a living in this industry that never existed before."
The Fishing Gear
"An obvious difference is the equipment today," said Houston. "I was around when Carl Lowrance invented the Little Green Box flasher. Now the locators, GPS', etc., are so advanced. In some ways to the point where I don't even know how to use every feature.
"The amount of time guys dedicate to the sport," said Houston. "This may be the biggest change over the years. There are still some pros who work a regular work schedule like me. Well, I guess my work schedule isn't regular, but I mean some anglers still have other work along with fishing fulltime.
"But, many of the best anglers out there are fishing all of the time. For example, Jason Christie. The B.A.S.S. pro basically fishes every day. When he's home, he's fishing local lakes to keep sharp. Kind of like a pro golfer who goes out to play even when there is no tournament. Just keeping prepped.
"Along with the on-the-water dedication, the time dedicated to gathering information is amazing. Back when I started, you could show up, catch a couple of decent limits and cash a check. Now, with the flow of information, that'll usually land you somewhere way down the list.
"We often showed up with no practice and just fished the events. The time dedicated to gathering information and overall time on the water is pretty amazing."