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What the world needs now is bass, sweet bass

Sadly, much of the rest of the world has been denied the joys of bass fishing. Despite many past efforts by missionary anglers and the United Nations, the sheer delight of landing a 10-pounder after a rough day at work has not taken hold in much of Europe, Asia and Latin America.

But that’s about to change. Starting this week, nine countries are joining 47 states in sending the best 113 amateur anglers to The Bass Anglers Sportsmen’s Society (B.A.S.S.) national tournament at Lake Conroe, Texas on Nov. 17-19. It’s the Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, a rollicking competition that has the potential to produce 20-plus-pound bags per day for the leaders. The standing record for this 21,000-acre reservoir is a 15.93-pound largemouth.

The nine countries sending anglers are Australia, Nambia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada.

A boater and a non-boater from each of the states and the countries will join last year’s champion, Albert Collins of Texas, and the Paralyzed Veterans Association Tour’s Angler of the Year, Kurt Glass. You can meet the top anglers in competition here. You can monitor the leader board in real time here. Collins, last year’s champion, is one of the founders of Texas’ Nacogdoches Bass Club. He’s qualified for five Nation Championships and two Bassmaster Classics.

One of the golden anglers, Dan Elsner of Wisconsin, told Bassmaster he has already achieved his dream just making it to the national championship.

“I’ve been trying to get here for years,” he said. “And now I have. This was my goal; I didn’t even so far as to say making it to the Classic was. Getting to the championship was my goal, and now I’ve made it.”

Elsner uses lures made by a company he and his wife founded 10 years ago, Get Bit Baits.

“I just made my own lures for fun, then other people started wanting them, so it turned into a business,” he explained.

South African angler Adrian Luff said one of his goals was simply to land an American bass.

“I got to catch an American crappie and an American bass,” Luff told Bassmaster. “I caught two different American species today, and they were both my first!”

Luff stressed that the Texas waters are very different than what he’s used to in South Africa.

“My strength is shallow water,” Luff said. “The deepest lakes in South Africa are around 21 feet. Here, it’s 35 and 40 feet in some spots. And I haven’t been catching them shallow. That’s something I have to figure out.”