April 14, 2009
University Bass Fishing and the Color-C-Lecter
By Chad Love
Sorry, Alabama. While I commend your university for a great class offering I must point out that the University of Oklahoma beat you to it years ago.
I should know, because right there on my yellowed and otherwise-undistinguished college transcript is a three-hour credit for a course entitled "Fish Behavior, Ecology and Fishing Techniques." Which is a fancy way of saying that in the summer of 1997 I got to spend almost three weeks fishing my arms off at the University of Oklahoma's biological research station on Lake Texoma. And earn a grade for it. My wife still rolls her eyes when I mention it.
The course was created and taught by the late, great Dr. Loren G. Hill, distinguished researcher and 1980s bass fishing icon. If you were a bass angler in the 80s and early 90s, chances are that at one time or another you fished with a product invented or influenced by Loren Hill. The Color-C-Lector, the pH Meter, the Snatrix, the Rebel Redneck, there were a multitude of products and lures based on his groundbreaking research.
So when I noticed during my senior year at OU that not only was the OU biological station offering a class with the word "fishing" in the title, but that it was being taught by Loren Hill himself, I jumped at it. Even better, Hill's "assistants" for the course were two very accomplished pro anglers in his son, Kenyan Hill and fellow Oklahoman O.T. Fears.
Sounds like a cream-puff, right? But here's the thing: the class really was rigorous. This may have been a fishing class, but Hill was first and foremost a professor. To our collective shock he expected us to learn a few things about ecology, fish behavior and basic zoology while we were there. And to that end we had lectures, took notes and were expected to pass any number of written tests. I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding and educational classes of my college career.
So don't be so quick to snicker when you see college class offerings that read more like a vacation than an academic pursuit. Chances are the professor teaching the course is well aware of that perception and might have a few surprises for the slackers expecting a party.
Sadly, Loren G. Hill passed away last year and as far as I know the University of Oklahoma stopped offering the class after Dr. Hill retired.
So... Roll Tide. Maybe you can get a trend started...