Tournament bass anglers know how to use a boat ramp

It may look like chaos, but tournament bass anglers really know their stuff when it comes to launching their boats in a timely and orderly manner. (Photo by Mike Schoonveld)

I’m used to pre-dawn crowds at popular launch sites when the weather promises to be perfect and the fishing reports are positive. It’s a fact of life I usually cope with by getting up a half-hour or more earlier than the rest to beat the rush.

So when I pulled into the marina recently and saw a line of boats on trailers circling the parking lot waiting for an empty slot at the ramps, I thought I was doomed to a long wait for my turn to come up. I assumed my position in the queue, and while going through my pre-launch prep and checklist, I noticed all of the boats ahead of me were bass boats.

The place I was planning to fish was popular with bass fishermen, but only one thing could attract such a crowd – a tournament.

Surprisingly, by the time I was ready to launch, there was a wide gap between my rig and the one just ahead of me. By the time I was pulling ahead, the boat launchings ahead of me continued at a steady pace, a fast pace. I was awestruck.

Had this been the regular weekenders I contend with normally, it would have been a slow process.

How did the bass guys do it? Were they required to take a proficiency tests about boat launching as a prerequisite to signing up for the competition? It seemed like it, and most must have scored an A.

They made it look simple and easy this way. One guy, who could operate the boat, climbed in the boat and rode in it as they backed down the ramp. Another fellow who obviously was adept at backing a trailer was behind the wheel of the tow vehicle. One after another after another, down the ramp they backed. As the rig descended, the boatman lowered the outboard engine and as soon as the prop hit the water, he started the motor. By the time the boat floated free, the helmsman had the boat in reverse and the tow vehicle was heading up the ramp.

It was all beautifully choreographed.

Kudos, bass guys! I take back many of the things I’ve said about you in the past.

Where’s that boat launching school located? I want some of their brochures to hand out to those ahead of me at the ramp next weekend.

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