Few anglers have accomplished more in their lifetime than two-time Bassmaster Classic winner and television host Hank Parker. Having seen the growth of competitive bass fishing firsthand, Hank is eager to see what the future holds for our sport. Enjoy this unique segment where Mr. Parker dives into his historical career, the advancements he has witnessed, and an abundance of advice to young anglers.
Out of everything he has done throughout his career, Hank Parker ranks high school tournament fishing at the top of his priorities. His involvement with the future of fishing has been instrumental in getting youth into the sport. As times have changed and student angling has grown, Hank has seen both positive and negative impacts. He simply asks going forward that individuals heavily involved change their perspective on the sport we all know and love. Although we have witnessed an uproar in youth participation, the rise in competitive fishing isn’t the only thing that has evolved.
In all the revolutions in the sport of fishing over the decades, Hank Parker says the biggest single change has been in electronics. Spending his entire career with Humminbird electronics, Hank has been overwhelmed with the progress that has been made. “I used a Humminbird Super Sixty and thought it was amazing…”, Parker chuckles. The innovation Parker feels has been most impactful thus far has been side-imaging. The capabilities on the water, especially with technology, are far greater than ever imagined at the beginning of Hank’s career.
Hank Parker fished his first B.A.S.S. event in 1975 on Santee Cooper Lakes. After having a successful practice, Hank explains how changing conditions completely altered his plans. Hank Parker finished 108th in a 125-boat field. While most would have hung it up, Hank used this as inspiration and motivation to learn new techniques. Upon returning to the tournament scene the next year, a young Hank Parker borrowed $10,000 on a 90-day banknote to go live out his dream as a professional bass fisherman. And the rest was history.
Parker says the key to success is simply having a love for the sport. He closes his remarks with, “It’s a competitive world in bass fishing today. You got to love it. So you love it and prepare and go after it.”