1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi guys, my name is Ron Mayer
2. How long have you been fishing?
Probably 45 years or better, for as long as I can remember really.
3. Tell us what inspired you to start fishing.
Growing up in rural Nebraska, I developed a strong love of the outdoors at a very early age. Hunting and fishing was a way of life for my family. I had already caught the fishing bug when I saw my first TV show based on bass fishing. I would have to say that the early pioneers of televised fishing like Jerry McGinnis and Orlando Wilson would be responsible towards directing me towards chasing little green fish. The first bass I ever caught was from a neighboring farm pond. Armed with a Zebco 33, a five foot fiberglass rod, a black pre-rigged Creme plastic worm, and a red and white Pop R, I was determined to catch a bass. I cast the Pop R out next to a weed line and after about the third or fourth pop the water literally exploded. The excitement of the strike, the speed and power of the fight, and the shear beauty of that 3 pound largemouth was almost more than a 10 year old could take! The challenge catching the next one quickly became an obsession. In the mid 80's I entered into my first tournament, a catfish tournament. My partner and I were fortunate enough to win that tournament. That tournament win quickly fanned an already strongly burning desire to catch fish into an inferno.
4. In 2007 you founded the 5280 Bass Hunters club, what prompted you and your friends to start this club?
Actually, the founder of the club was a good friend of mine, Sean Hinton. Sean gathered a half dozen fellow anglers to form the core group of 5280 Bass Hunters. At the time there were limited opportunities for tournament anglers to fish organized tournaments in Colorado. We wanted to provide anglers with another circuit to fish, while establishing a sort of "no drama" type atmosphere that so often plagues bass clubs. We also wanted to grow support for the sport of tournament fishing and fishing in general, create more awareness of the importance of habitat and conservation, and develope the continuing growth of the sport through the involvement of our youth. There was a tremendous amount of groundwork that went into the formation of this club prior to ever having our first tournament. I am happy to say that 5280 Bass Hunters has grown into one of the largest and most respected bass clubs in Colorado today. I feel very fortunate to have been a member of that core group and am extremely proud of the growth and development of the 5280 Bass Hunters.
5. Tell us about your involvement with the CAST organizations and your involvement with Jr. Bass clubs.
The CAST (Catch A Special Thrill) organization provides anglers with one of the most heartwarming opportunities they could ever take advantage of. On a selected day, members of fishing clubs, conservation agencies, local businesses, and volunteers come together to take physically and mentally handicapped children fishing for a day. One or two participants, along with their caregivers, are assigned to each boat and we simply take them out fishing. It doesn't sound like much; taking someone for a boat ride, handing them a rod and reel, showing them how to cast it out, then watching their expression as they feel the tug of their first bite. The excitement of battling a fish to the boat. Seeing firsthand the look of pure wonderment in their eyes, the excitement, the smiles on their faces when they finally boat that fish. No, it may not sound like much, but the idea that something that so many of us take for granted can have such a huge positive impact on someone else's life can be extremely humbling and rewarding all at the same time.
As for the Jr. bass clubs, plain and simple, they are not only the future of our sport, but of our country. Getting them involved in fishing not only gets them involved in the outdoors, but it helps to teach them respect for it. It helps them to understand the balance of nature and how big of an impact we humans have on it. I have given several seminars to Jr clubs covering such topics as the basics of flipping and pitching, identifying different species of bass, identifying different types of forage, structure, and cover and how bass relate to them. I have participated as a mentor in some Jr tournaments, as well as providing a boat for some of the college level tournaments.
6. What advice do you give to young anglers who are just beginning to catch the fishing bug?
The absolute most important thing that they need to do is to stay in school. Without an education their future is destined to be pretty bleak. They need to understand that the sport of fishing in general is a multi-billion dollar industry. Tournament fishing is a business and following the tournament trail takes an unbelievable amount of hard work. They will need a good education to present themselves professionally to potential sponsors. They also need to understand that sponsorships are not handouts, they are opportunities to help further their tournament career while representing someone else's business. There are responsibilities and commitments that come with each one. Its not just about standing on a podium raising a trophy over your head. In fact, any tournament angler out there will quickly learn that you will lose far more tournaments than you will ever win.
On the plus side though, you get to go to work every day in the outdoors. They will see things in nature that most people will never experience, like the way a mother goose guards her nest, or how a doe deer checks to see that it's safe to bring her fawn out for a drink, watching a bald eagle or an osprey catch a fish and marvel at how much better they are at it than you. And every now and then, when the stars seem to line up right, all your decisions are the right ones made at the right times, your hook sets are solid and the bass gods let you weigh the heaviest bag...it's all worth it.
7. What goals do you hope to achieve in 2012?
In 2012 I had some pretty high aspirations, including fishing several tournament circuits and developing and testing a new line of hand carved balsa baits. Unfortunately, my first tournament of the year resulted in a destroyed lower unit and about a 3 foot crack in the bottom of the hull of my boat. Those unexpected incidents coupled with less than desirable support from an insurance company tend to put you on the sideline pretty quick. I'll rebound from it though, take the lesson learned for future reference and focus on 2013.
8. What fishing equipment do you use?
My tow vehicle is a Chevrolet 2500HD Duramax 4x4 equiped with Hankook Dynapro ATM tires and a Century topper. The boat is a Ranger Z20 Comanche powered by a Mercury 225 Optimax Pro XS, I use a 12" Slidemaster Manual jackplate, and a Minn Kota Maxxum Pro trolling motor powered by Duralast Marine batteries. The batteries are kept charged with a Minn Kota 330D onboard charger. I wear Cabela's Guidewear raingear, a Stearns inflatable PFD, an AGV full face helmet and Costa Del Mar sunglasses. Fish are located and waypointed with a series of Humminbird Side Imaging electronics. My rods are mainly Quantum Signature Series rods with the exception of a couple Quantum Smokes and some older Fenwick HMG and HMX for standbys. Reels are mostly Quantum PT Series reels with some older Pfluegers' for back up. All of my reels are outfitted with Boca Bearing Orange Seal bearings, I can't begin to say enough about those bearings as some of the Pflueger reels that I use are going on 10 years of age. The Orange sealed bearings have resurrected reels I thought were destined for the parts only bin. I throw Silver Thread line in flourocarbon and copolymer and use Power Pro for braid. My wide gap and worm hooks are Lazer Trokar while the majority of my crank baits carry a combination of either Lazer Trokar or Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip trebles. I cannot stress enough the importance of using a quality sharp hook in tournament fishing, when one lost fish can make the difference in cashing a check or being in the "also ran" line, they are worth every extra penny.