From the Boathouse: Bidding farewell to the Professor


Sad news for the angling community as the "Bass Professor" died last week, March 28, at the age of 66. Doug Hannon was at his home in Keystone, Florida, where he was recovering from neck surgery. Known as the "Bass Professor," Hannon was a former host on ESPN's "Sportsman's Challenge" TV series and a journalist who wrote for magazines and newspapers.

Many anglers remember Hannon for his catch-and-release success of more than 800 largemouth bass. This was accomplished using the fishing gear which he invented, and holding almost 20 patents. Not to forget that he wrote three books as well as bass fishing videos, which earned him Clio and Teddy awards.

The "Bass Professor" will be missed by many anglers, and his inventions for fishing will be remembered for years. Next time you go fishing, take a moment to cast a line in memory of the professor.

Tip of the week is not a nautical activity, but a terrestrial event that is fun for the whole family this weekend. Everyone is welcome to join me at the ex-El Toro Marine base, where I will have the chance to auto race around a temporary course, which is designed on the base's former runways. This event is round one of the 2013 Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo Series, and it appears that I will have the opportunity to steer a new Subaru BRZ that has been tricked out by Edge Motorsports, located up north in Dublin, CA.

The ProSolo Series is a form of auto racing that is a combination of drag racing and autocross. This is an amateur racing series with competitors who prepare their own cars, pay their own way and race for the thrill. Many of the racers use their cars to compete on the weekends and then drive the same car to work during the week.

"El Toro is a great place to kick off our season," said Heyward Wagner, who is the communications manager for the SCCA ProSolo Series. "It is one of the biggest and best sites in the country and draws top drivers from as far as Texas and Washington state."

The top autocrossers from across the country will compete in this event, and there will be three rounds of class competition with similar cars racing against each other. Later, the top 32 drivers in the event are put into a 32-car challenge, and this is determined by their winning margins or the margin from the winner. Finally, they will compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine an overall winner. Not to be outclassed by the men, the ladies challenge will include the top eight of the ladies' class drivers.

"What makes autocross different from other forms of motorsports is that you get to compete without risk to you or your car," Wagner continued. "What makes ProSolo unique is the level of intensity. Every 30 seconds, the start tree lights come down and a pair of cars leave the line. The pace, the sound, the excitement stays high all weekend as drivers try to better their times and battle for the win."

The top finishers will win cash prizes, but the winnings are usually used to supplement their racing budgets. The most common cars for autocross include Miatas, Corvettes, Mustangs, Minis and Civics. The classes are divided into a series of preparation categories of the cars, starting with the lower categories that allow very little modifications such as shocks, a sway bar, exhaust and tires. Additional modifications are allowed as you move up through the categories that include suspension, engine and body work. The top category and most extreme end of the sport are the specifically built race cars.

What is exciting for a race enthusiast is that anyone can autocross, because all you need is a car and a helmet. For more information on how to get started in autocross, visit

Stay tuned: I will have more details about my day at the races in my columns, and please be boat smart and boat safe.

Lastly, keep April 26 on your calendar for the start of the Lexus Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race. I will be announcing the starting classes at the end of the Balboa Pier while lounging on the upper deck of Ruby's Diner.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network at noon Saturdays and replaying throughout the weekend. See times at and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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