Professional angler and Jasper-native Todd Faircloth will be one of six professional anglers serving as instructors as The BASS University event to be held Saturday, Jan. 23 and Sunday, Jan. 24, in Orange. Courtesy Photo

By Tommy Mann Jr. – The Record

School will be in session for amateur anglers as The BASS University rolls into Orange this month.

Stemming from the massive success of Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournaments held in Orange in 2013 and 2015, officials with The BASS University, in partnership with the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, have agreed to bring the program to Orange on Saturday, Jan. 23 and Sunday, Jan. 24.

“This is a big deal for us,” said John Gothia, an organizer of the local BASS University event. “They only do five of these in the United States each year, so for them to come to Orange is big. It’s all due to the success we had with the Bassmaster Elite Series tournaments in 2013 and 2015.”

The BASS University is a program which allows anglers from the general public to have the opportunity to interact with some of the top professional anglers in bass fishing and learn various techniques and valuable information they otherwise would not have access.

Approximately five such classes are held from December through February each year, which is when most professional anglers are off from the tour trail and available to serve as instructors in the program. Other BASS University events are scheduled for Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 16-17; Boxborough, Mass., Jan. 30-31; Harrisburg, Pa., Feb. 6-7; Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 13-14; and the final one in Mississauga (Toronto), Canada, Feb. 14-15.

In November 2015, Orange County Commissioners approved a $10,000 request in hotel occupancy tax funds by event organizers. These funds are being used to promote the event and attract out-of-area participants to attend the two-day class and spend money at local hotels and businesses.

“This event will provide great visibility for us,” Gothia continued. “It’s a great economic benefit immediately because of the amount of people who will be attending for the weekend and staying in hotels and spending money at our local businesses. Then you get the residual effects throughout the rest of the year when these classes are posted online and televised later in the year.”

Several professional anglers will be in Orange that weekend to provide classroom instruction to all attendees. Anglers scheduled to participate include Davey Hite, Todd Faircloth, and Pete Gluszek on Saturday, and Mike Iaconelli, John Crews and Cliff Crochet will appear on Sunday.

“All of these anglers know how popular fishing is in our area and everyone of these guys have been here,” Gothia added. “Our area is a great place to fish, and that is the reason The BASS University agreed to come to Orange.”

Jasper-native Todd Faircloth will be one of the professional angler instructors for The BASS University event in Orange. Faircloth is a very successful angler and was the winner of the Bassmaster Elite Series “Sabine River Challenge” in March 2013.

“These programs are very informative and there are a lot of topics we can discuss,” Faircloth said. “Each class is a detailed session in a classroom setting, where we try to answer questions and explain things for those who take part.”

Faircloth said the benefit of such a program is that it has something to offer for anglers of all levels.

“These classes benefit the novice angler and the experienced anglers,” he said. “I know this for a fact because I am still learning things today. There are anglers who might be better at something or know more about a topic than I do, so I find that people of all levels of fishing can benefit from something like this.”

While providing instruction on a variety of topics may be useful, Faircloth said he prefers a tried and true method.

“In the past, I have found that my personal seminars would go well with a question and answer period,” he continued. “So, I expect to do that here too. Everyone needs to be open-minded and not be afraid to ask a question. There are no dumb questions.”

Faircloth said he will bring tackle and rods to the event as he expects to discuss topics such as what equipment is used in certain situations, what colors to use, conditions and various techniques.

“If you have ever wanted to learn a little more about fishing, then this is a great way,” Faircloth said. “There will be something for everyone.”

Classes are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 23, and Sunday, Jan. 24. Check in begins at 7 a.m., Saturday, and 7:30 a.m., Sunday for “Sunday Only” registered attendees.

Registration for adults is $199 for both days or $109 for either Saturday or Sunday. Registration for students who are ages 17 and younger is $175 for both days or $97 for either Saturday or Sunday.

Visit www.thebassuniversity.com for more information and to register for the Orange event.