I first heard about Bass Wars while browsing an angler profile for Dean Rojas on bassfan.com. Dean had listed the book as one of his favorites and I was intrigued because I’d never heard of the book. A few clicks on amazon.com and the book was at my doorstep a few days later.
This is a story about fishing as a professional bass angler in the early 80’s. Author Nick Taylor is not a serious fisherman but he gives a great perspective on what it was like for guys who were on the forefront of what has become modern tournament angling. This is not a book about how to fish, this is a book about the fisherman who drove across the country, sleeping in their vans, and trying to scrape by while fishing BASS and Western Bass (now WON Bass) tournaments.
The book paints this picture while contrasting the lives of two anglers, Rick Clunn and Randy Mosley. Clunn, who quit a good job to became a professional angler at great financial risk to himself and his family went on to become a legend of the sport and win numerous tournaments and big money prizes. Taylor talks at length about Clunn’s mental preparation and methodology for tournament fishing which makes for an interesting read if you enjoy the mental aspect of fishing.
Mosley follows a similar path in the book but his is a story of hard luck and missed chances. Mosley's story portrays the typically untold reality of what happens to many who try to make it was professional anglers. Along the way you get an inside look at what it’s like to live life on the road, trying to make the Bassmaster Classic and (almost as important) trying to pay for it with tournament winnings, tackle company jobs, and sponsors.
Don’t worry, there’s a few fishing stories in the book as well. The chapter on how Rick Clunn won the US Open at Lake Mead is gripping and well told, and there’s several fun side stories about other fishermen who were active on the tournament trails at that time like Roland Martin, Orlando Wilson, and Randy Blaukat. When you read the book you definitely feel like you’re along for the ride, getting an up close look at what it was like to be on the tournament trail in the 80’s. I have a feeling that in many ways things are still the same, and this book has a timeless quality to it that will make it an interesting read 10 years from now. If you’ve ever considered ‘going Pro’ or you just enjoy tournament bass fishing this is definitely a book to pick up, you’ll probably read it more than once, I know I did.