In the world of tournament bass angling the Bassmaster Classic has been crowned the pinnacle of tournament bass competition.
Savvy bass anglers across the nation compete every year in a variety of B.A.S.S. trails wherein they set their ultimate goals ... to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic!
Such was the case recently for Maryland’s Harford County Pro Angler John Hansen III. (www.HansenFishing.com). Working full-time as a mechanic for Mobile Auto Service, he also spends time with his wife Allison and son John Hansen IV, first and foremost in this Pro Anglers schedule!
“I am extremely blessed having Allison at my side encouraging me as I pursue my dream of becoming a full-time tournament angler,” says Hansen. Adding, “Her positive support, especially when I’m on the road competing in tournaments, is so reassuring. This alone has catapulted my confidence level!”
One attribute Hansen doesn’t lack is confidence! “To increase my angling skills it’s imperative that I compete within the most competitive trails possible.” Hence, John Hansen III registered for both the 2012 B.A.S.S. Southern Opens and the B.A.S.S. Weekend Series.
“Although, I have only been competing at this level four years, my on-the-water angling knowledge has increased tremendously since attending The Bass University weekend seminars,” acknowledges Hansen.
“These classes are all about learning, developing minute tactics and strategies which in turn leads to a better understanding of where, why and when bass relate to specific areas.” (www.TheBassUniversity.com)
John Hansen launched his Nitro Z-9 in an attempt to apply his newly taught angling techniques. Spending every available opportunity on the water, Hansen put to practice his classroom tactics and hands-on applications.
First Southern Open
“My first Southern Open was on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes in January,” recalls Hansen. “I had intended to compete in the Boater Division, but Pete Gluszek suggested I register as a Non-Boater for this event.”
The Bass University Dean’s guidance paid off huge dividends for John Hansen!
“Talk about being pumped-up, I placed 26th collected my first B.A.S.S. Southern Open check, and returned home with a wealth of on-the-water experience.” Hansen’s pumped up adrenaline would soon be drained, requiring a re-fill visit with his mentor Pete Gluszek.
Come April John Hansen headed to North Carolina’s Lake Norman. Towing his outboard rig, Hansen registered to compete in the Southern Open Boater Division. “I spent endless hours reviewing everything I could find on the Internet relating to previous tournaments on Lake Norman during the spring transition.
“My practice days started at sunup and ended at sundown. I concentrated specifically on the areas I predetermined via my research and mapping information, and then logged waypoints on bass holding structure,” says Hansen.
When the scales were officially closed the Southern Open Leaders Board listed John Hansen III in 110th place with 14.6 lbs.!
“I felt like someone stuck a pin in my confidence balloon! I had really thought I did everything possible to win this event or at least make the final day cut,” reminiscenced Hansen.
Placing a call to The Bass University Dean, positive Pete Gluszek, John Hansen’s highway drive home quickly became a rolling seminar!
“The first thing Pete asked me was, “What did I learn from the tournament?” And, I responded, “there were 109 anglers better than me!”
For the next one hundred miles John Hansen would not speak a word, except to answer Pete Gluszek’s questions. “I doubt I have ever been quiet that long in my life? Pete dissected my entire practice and tournament hours into a visual review, which encompassed every positive reaction to my on-the-water decisions.”
“It’s easy to dwell on the negatives,” says Pete Gluszek. “However, my ‘On The Water Training’ course concentrates on learning from negatives and turning them into positives.” Continuing Gluszek says, “It’s vital to success that everyone understands why a tournament decision failed. Appling that learned knowledge with positive confidence is a finesse tool, which takes time and perfect practice.” (www.PeteGluszek.com)
With Hansen’s Bassmaster Weekend Series tournaments within sight, he scheduled several On-The-Water training sessions with mentor Pete Gluszek. Framed with confidence at home and On-The-Water, Gluszek’s corrective tutorage paired with Hansen’s increasing confidence level excelled.
Claiming three Top-20 Bassmaster Weekend Series finishes John Hansen III placed twenty-first overall, qualifying Hansen for the Bassmaster Weekend Series Regional Championship on Virginia’s Smith Mountain Lake.
“I never fished Smith Mountain Lake before the Regional,” says Hansen. Appling Mike Iaconelli’s approach to fishing new water, Hansen learned at The Bass University, he was able to break down Smith Mountain Lake into the most productive areas.
Calmness & Confidence
“I practiced six days, eliminated unproductive water, then utilized Pete Gluszek’s tactics and strategies during the tournament.”
Hansen’s calmness and confidence resulted in his winning the Day #1 Leader Carlisle Tire Promotional. Finishing second on Day#2 by a mere pound, John Hansen qualified for the Bassmaster Weekend Series National Championship on Texas Lake Sam Rayburn.
“I was now living my dream,” recalls Hansen. “The winner of the National Championship earns a berth into the Bassmaster Classic......(Pausing) And, I was determined to be that individual champion!”
Little did John Hansen III realize his extended preparation, confidence and angling ability were about to be put to the ultimate test!
Three Practice Days
Practice Day#1; Hansen’s run to the Black Forest resulted in a blown lower unit. Turning to his MotorGuide Trolling Motor, Hansen salvaged 3-hours with positive results in heavy vegetation. Late that evening Hansen secured a new lower unit.
Practice Day#2; Fifty-yards from the ramp Hansen’s outboard misfires, it’s a blown engine. Hansen declines borrowing a boat for the tournament.
Practice Day#3; John Hansen calls his wife Allison and suggested he is coming home. Allison refuses his negative attitude, and tells John to utilize his trolling motor and just fish! With his confidence rejuvenated Hansen checks out the shoreline near the launch via his truck.
Now Three Tournament Days
Tournament Day#1; Hansen skips a Bizz Bait Sassy Stick along rip-rap, resulting in 3 keeper bass weighing 6.04 lbs.
“I ended up in 123rd place, but at the end of the day I discovered a drop-off and several brush piles with my Lowrance Structure Scan.”
Tournament Day#2; Hansen Texas rigged his Sassy Stick with a ¼ oz. weight tied to 10 lb. Seaguar InvisX Fluorocarbon.
“The bigger bass were in the brush pile, but my presentation had to be in their face for them to eat it!”
Result, Hansen carries a 5-bass limit weighing 11.5 lbs. catapulting the Maryland Pro into 66th place.
Tournament Day#3; Armed with six fully charged NAPA Deep Cycle batteries, John Hansen swings for the fences. “To make the Day#4 cut I needed another big bag of bass!” The rip-rap shoreline produced short bass less than fourteen inches, so John Hansen turned to his deeper drop-offs.
“Deep water is one of my weaknesses,” claims Hansen. His first cast to the brush pile produced a 3.5 lb. bass, but followed with only short bass.
Turning to a drop-shot paired with a Bizz Baits Dizzy Diamond finesse worm, Hansen proceeded to land over fifteen bass!
“I was amassed at how calmly I worked the secondary thirty-foot drop-off.” Unfortunately, Hansen carried only 3-bass for 7.17 lbs. to the scales, resulting in an overall finish of 67th place.
Tournament Conclusion: “Slowing down allowed me to develop more confidence in utilizing my Lowrance sonar equipment, especially Structure Scan in deeper water. I know I can finesse fish a drop-shot in deep water very effectively, which in turn adds to by technique abilities,” says John Hansen.
“Bottom line, Never Give UP and Never Stop Learning!” he ended. God Bless and Best Bassin ■ appearing in Woods and Waters USA Magazine