Ben Hudson – “Blue Collar Bassin’”
“A new way of learning how to fish”
Is social media responsible for creating a generation of better anglers?
If you’re an angler in your mid-20’s like me, then you likely grew up learning to fish by watching “Bill Dance Outdoors” or similar weekly fishing shows or watching the BassMasters on TV. Aside from having “on the water” instruction from your father or a friend, this was the best way we had to learn more about how to fish. However, with the growth of the internet and social media, a new generation of anglers is on the rise. This new generation has an extensive amount of fishing knowledge and the basics of fishing techniques and tactics. Is social media really responsible for this boom of talented young fishermen?
The BassMasters used to have the “Pro’s Pointer” at the end of the tournaments that aired on TV. This was our chance to hear the winning pro give some tips on how he was able to win the tournament. This allowed us to learn for ourselves along with getting to watch the pros in action. Nowadays, these pro tip videos are endless and a dime a dozen with the help of YouTube and online real-time live fishing.
Are these young anglers really better fishermen because of the resources available in our sport today? There is high school fishing and college fishing in many schools across the United States, all teaching young fishermen skills and tactics to be a better angler. After watching Jordan Lee win his 2nd consecutive BassMaster Classic straight out of college, I’m convinced that this new generation of anglers is much better, at a younger age, than the generations before them.
However, while the professionals may be slightly better than the last generation, I really believe that the biggest impact has been made on the recreational “weekend warrior” anglers. With the invention of YouTube in particular, fishing has been taken to a new level for the recreational angler with thousands of tip and tactic videos online. With channels like Wired2Fish and Tactical Bassin’, and our own website TheBassCast.com, fishing tip videos are endless on the internet.
For example, if an angler wants to learn to fish the jerkbait better, he can type into YouTube something about jerkbait fishing, and multiple videos will appear of pros such as Kevin VanDam and other talented anglers with tips and tricks for fishing a jerkbait better and more efficiently. This allows the average angler to learn how to fish easier and faster than the generation before us. What once had to be learned on the water with hours and days of practice and with lots of trial and error, can now be learned on the internet in a 5-minute tutorial video, and any type of technique imaginable can be found online to help make someone a better angler.
While social media has helped create a strong new generation of anglers, the previous generation is still strong too though. Nothing can compare to that years of trial and error or on the water practice that the previous generation possesses. However, it does give a major advantage to young anglers today to be able to learn so much about fishing without as much of the on-the-water experimentation time.
The internet has clearly changed the world, and our sport of fishing is no exception. However, fishing is still a competition against nature. Clearly, the anglers in our current generation have an advantage against the fish, but I also believe bass will naturally adapt to survive. This will require new baits, technique, tactics, and our new generation will have quicker access to this information in the never ending battle of man VS fish.