By Billy “Hawkeye” Decoteau
Runnemede, NJ Dec. 5th & 6th: “Today’s inquisitive bass anglers strive for the highest level of technical bass information possible!” says The Bass University Co-Founder Peter Gluszek. And, according to Ricky Bodsford of www.BassEast.com they were not disappointed.
“Pete and Mike (Bassmaster Elite Angler Mike Iaconelli, and Co-Founder of TBU) managed to pull off the most extraordinary two-day instructional bass seminar program to date!” Elaborating further the www.BassEast.com President continued, “The response we received from attending students was absolutely 100% positive! That in and of itself is unheard of, especially when dealing with a wide range of student demographics.” (www.TheBassUniversity.com)
Scanning a classroom filled to capacity, eager Bass University students logged continuous notes, ran tape recorders and spoke out asking individual instructors to repeat specific step-by-step techniques when needed. “We hand-picked each of our Professional Bass Angler Instructors, based upon a variety of factors,” replied Iaconelli.
According to Mike Iaconelli, he and Pete Gluszek sought out members of their peers who not only carry the tours highest achievements, but those professional anglers who are willing and able to share their successful tactics and strategy within a classroom harvesting a wide range of individual student knowledge.
“Our marketing department did an awesome job in reaching out to every level of bass angling enthusiast. Look around the classroom, our Bass University student body consist of federation anglers, youth anglers, parent child and recreational anglers of all ages,” smiled Gluszek. “And, what excites me most is that for the very first time in this type of seminar format, (as far as Gluszek could recollect), a large portion of our Bass University students are actually competitive anglers who compete on the FLW Outdoors Stren Series, BFL Series, Bassmaster Opens and/or the Bassmaster Weekend Series.” (Log unto www.Bassmaser.com, www.FLWOutdoors.com)
Bass University student and FLW Outdoor Stren Series angler Dan Welch of West Virginia was overwhelmed with the amount of information he personally received. “I adamantly agree with The Bass University motto….NEVER STOP LEARNING,” insisted the likeable FLW Professional Angler. “Every time I asked a question, and believe me I had plenty, the instructors made certain every detailed portion was thoroughly covered.” Dan Welch himself has his own list of accolades framed around his B.A.S.S. win on Lake Murray in 2002, when he outdistanced Todd Auten, Davy Hite and Scott Martin, claiming the Citgo Bassmaster Southern Open Championship trophy. Welch’s single comment on The Bass University program, “This by far is the best weekend seminar program I have ever attended and I have been to ‘All’ of the previous programs!”
Why Runnemede, New Jersey some questioned? “That’s a no-brainer!” says Mike Iaconelli. “This is where I started my career bass fishing with my Uncle, this is where I developed deep-rooted friendships with other federation anglers and the Runnemede area is where I live!”
Bass University Co-Founded Pete Gluszek, was quick to add, “Mike’s power angling phrase is “NEVER GIVE UP”, add that to our Bass University motto of “NEVER STOP LEARNING”, and together Mike and I (Gluszek is also a New Jersey native.), knew in our hearts that we owed it to everyone within the Runnemede area who helped us and continue to support us to build the foundation of The Bass University right in our home town!”
Obviously, Iaconelli and Gluszek have an extremely strong allegiance within their bass fishing community that extends to every level of bass angling, as witnessed within the jamb packed classroom. New Jersey Federation Show Director Joe Poms and most of his bass club members, including New Jersey’s Top Youth Anglers filled the front roll seats. “You might say both Mike and Pete “NEVER FORGET WHERE THEY STARTED”, chuckled Poms. “You can’t say that for every professional bass angler! And, when it comes to supporting our youth programs Mike Iaconelli far exceeds his peers, in my opinion!”
The Seminar Instructors: With breakfast, check-in and registration completed, Bassmaster Elite Angler Dave Wolak, (www.DaveWolakFishing.com) presented the first Bass University seminar. “I’m going to take you into the underwater world of aquatic vegetation. Together we will dissect the various types of vegetation, eliminate the bad habit from the bass holding habitat, and develop a better understanding of dead vegetation versus healthy vegetation.”
Immediately the classroom atmosphere likened that of a University Library! Toyota’s Dave Wolak, dimmed the lights, started his power point video presentation, and students followed underwater cameras as their Ranger/Yamaha mentor guided them to a better understanding of why bass occupy specific types of vegetation, when and where to locate bass within vegetation, and making proper presentations, enticing bass to eat their baits!
Wolak’s afternoon seminar session utilized the same high quality video presentation, as this time The Bass University (www.TheBassUniversity.com) students dissected Matted Vegetation. Beginning on the surface the Bassmaster Elite Angler Instructor guided his students instructing them to become aware of the surrounding areas adjacent to matted vegetation. Following the transitional and seasonal migration of the Black Bass, Wolak’s underwater cameras helped Bass University students focused on a visual understanding of where and why to locate bass within Matted Vegetation.
Joining Dave Wolak, Gerald Swindle, (www.GeraldSwindle.com) the “G-Man”, utilize his extensive Crankbait and Comedy persona, as students complied notes upon notes in the proper techniques for shallow water cranking. Listening to Gerald Swindle invite every Bass University student to the front deck of his Triton, he held nothing back when it came to opening his tournament winning tackle box.
George Jr. and Mike Acord proprietors of Susquehanna Fishing Tackle (www.SFTTackle.com) and sponsors of The Bass University programs were quite impressed with Swindles enthusiastic concern in making certain every students question was answered. “Gerald actually walked into our tackle booth, pulled several Quatum rods off the rack, and asked for specific Quatum reels. He then demonstrated to these students why specific rods were imperative to successful shallow water cranking in heavy cover, such as brush piles and downed trees!”
Smallmouth gurus within The Bass University classroom swarm FLW Tour and Lake Champlain Champion Pete Gluszek, like bees on honey, begging for more and more information on their favorite quarry. “Listening to Pete’s two-day seminars, I could visualize the exact situations I had encountered previously with smallmouths.” Said one Bass University student. While others waiting in line waiting for Gluszek’s autograph, agreed the Ranger/Evinrude Pro Anglers seminars on smallmouth bass behavior incorporating power finessing smallmouth bass was indeed a tactic to be added to their techniques for filling their tournament livewells!
Louisiana’s FLW 3-Rivers Champion and Bassmaster Elite Classic Qualifier Greg Hackney sat in on every seminar he could. “I am elated to see that my colleagues are not holding anything back from the Bass University Students. The information being shared is without a doubt the most detailed and comprehensive I have experienced!”
The Bass University students had the same to say about Greg Hackney, especially the eight Youth Anglers who enjoyed sharing a private ‘Pizza with the Pro’s’ session. “The future of our sport lies in the youth anglers of today,” voiced Hackney. Hackney elaborated on the outstanding level of knowledge within the classroom. “The one thing I enjoy when I’m not on the water fishing is talking about being on the water fishing.” Hackney like the ‘G-Man’ when on presenting seminars…………could be found in the Susquehanna Tackle booth one-on-one with students explaining proper rigging techniques for balanced tackle.
PAA (Professional Anglers Association) Board member and B.A.S.S. Northern Open Upper Chesapeake Champion Dave Mansue presented the most informational and outstanding instructions for understanding winning techniques for fishing Tidal Water bar none! Displaying a power point pictorial description of tidal movements based on a variety of factors, Mansue walked Bass University students cast-by-cast through his championship game plan. Answering prevailing questions from students on tidal waters such as; the Potomac River, Connecticut River, Hudson River and the James River.
Mike ‘Ike’ Iaconelli, kept Bass University students on the edge of their seats with his two-day dynamic Finesse power-point presentations, as only Iaconelli can. Walking up and down the aisles, Iaconelli made personal contact with every student. “I cannot believe how patient Mike Iaconelli actually is,” replied one BU student. Adding, “There were several of us all asking the same basic questions. Mike put us in a circle and gave each of us a hands-on one-by-one demonstration of his ‘Tail Weighted French-Fry’ technique!” Laughter, questions, and an occasional shout of encouragement by ‘Ike’, landed the Bassmaster Classic Champion a standing ovation, as the Co-Founder of The Bass University completed the final Runnemede, New Jersey seminar.
God Bless and Best Bass’n