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  • Alan Clemons of Huntsville, AL writes:

    I never knew B.A.S.S., FLW and their magazines were only for bass fishermen who had bass boats with outboards, trolling motors, sonar units and other expensive gear. So what if a canoe is on the cover of Bassmaster Magazine? Big whoop! There are plenty of other photos and articles related to the anglers and sponsors inside the magazines.

    If anything, there could be more photos and stories about other means of fishing. Dissecting small ponds, the best ways for kids to catch fish, how to rig canoes and kayaks safely and effectively ... and those small lake-small boat anglers might just be eyeballing bigger bass boats in a few years when they get older and have more money. Nothing wrong with fishing from a canoe, kayak, pirogue, from the bank or on the dock, which is the way many of us got our start.

    B.A.S.S. and FLW are about bass fishing by bass anglers of all ages, races and gender not just one group with big boats and gear. Kudos to Dave Precht, James Hall and the Bassmaster Magazine staff for including other methods of catching little green and brown fish. Please include more photos and stories about these methods along with the shiny, zippy boats and television consoles showing fish burping in the silt 27 feet below.

  • Rusty Byrley of Nacogdoches, TX writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions The Bassmaster Classic has always been earn as you go and needs to stay that way. If you guys want an old guys Classic, make it a separate event.

  • Greg Ginneberge of Hamilton, OH writes:

    RE: AOY Championship Points are used to level out the tournament locations so a 100-pound lake matches up with a 50-pound lake. A win is a win, but why should one angler get over 100 points for winning and another only get 50 points for winning? I have the same issue with the bass club I belong to. We go by weight, which isn't bad for most of the waters we fish, but we do have one tournament each year in October on Lake Erie. You can make up a lot of ground in this one tournament if you get on a good smallmouth reef.

    I'm all for a point system. It makes it more even per lake fished.

  • Jerry McCullough of Pell City, AL writes:

    RE: AOY Championship I agree totally with the majority of this article. I do disagree to the with the notion that this was a "two-day shootout." As the facts bear out, this was an aggregate of the "entire year."

    As far as the big water, it presents a clear and present danger almost as horrid as the cesspool known as the Delaware River. This is due to the ongoing greed of B.A.S.S. officials.

  • Chad Keogh of Nanaimo, BC writes:

    RE: Sonar's adjustments Miles, you're making the right move. You need to have balance in your life and relocating to Cali is a good first move.

    Good luck at Norman!

  • Steve Kirby of Columbus, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on AOY Championship Joe, great insight on the "big waters" up north. The most important statement in the column was the one regarding "the bay" and the fact that some of the competitors, who know about big waters, took the time to find alternate water and were rewarded for their efforts with cancellations. It seems that it's become the B.A.S.S./FLW mantra that "we erred on the side of safety" while patting themselves on the back. I've begun to wonder if we're watching a bunch of "Southern sissies" who start crying when they get up north and have to fish some of the best smallmouth venues in the country?

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Two things I never thought I would see: The Sept.-Oct. issue of Bassmaster has a photo on the cover of a canoe without an outboard, trolling motor or depthfinder. Have they run out of sponsors for bass boats with this equipment?

    Number 2 was last week at the AOY Championship, the emcee was wearing a black and white B.A.S.S. patch. Is the traditional B.A.S.S. patch on its way out?

  • Errol Duckett of Charlotte, NC writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating Sorry Joe, when Nate Wellman was allowed to compete in the Elites, where was the outrage? The sport of bass fishing lost a great deal of legitimacy which will take years to regain.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Sonar's adjustments Miles, welcome to reality.

  • Rick Pierce of Mountain Home, AR writes:

    B.A.S.S. should make some form of an adjustment to the format to make the AOY competition year-ending event complete. There was too much at stake to allow intervention by the location and weather. The delay hurt everyone and while fair, they have to reconsider.

    The location in Michigan has other smaller lake options that could have weighed right there on site, with the conservation agencies' involvement. Wisconsin is just down the road and offers many smaller areas to hold the actual fishing. It would be a non-practice event with a parity among anglers for a secret alternate location. Fair to the Escanaba area, well yes, they get the weigh-in either way and the festivities.

    There is too much at stake in careers and expectations, as this peaks at the end of the season, to not make adjustments. There really was no climax to this event as intended. It was a fizzle for all. A good fizzle, though a fizzle nonetheless. Better planning could have taken place.

    Sorry, B.A.S.S., if that offended you.

  • Remi De Matteo of Poydras, LA writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating While I appreciate the article, I'm still puzzled after all this time that a suspected cheater was not given a polygraph a couple of years ago and is still fishing the Elite Series. I apologize for beating a dead horse, but this article seems somewhat self serving for B.A.S.S. I think that incident caused B.A.S.S. to lose some members.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Once again the AOY race has pointed out the problem with scoring bass tournaments with a point system instead of total pounds and ounces. Going in to the last event for 2014, Greg Hackney had 664 points and Aaron Martens was next with 649. If Martens had won he would've gotten 100 points, raising his total to 749, so Hackney only had to place 15th or better to win the AOY.

    Martens and all the rest were limited to 100 points that they could score. If it was based on total pounds and ounces, there would be no limit on how much they could score. This is why B.A.S.S. changed the scoring to total pounds years ago, but a few years ago it was changed back to points, which limits the amount you can score.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: AOY Championship It is not very smart to schedule 3- or 4-day tournaments on the Great Lakes. Bass boats were not designed for the Lakes. If B.A.S.S. does go there, they should guarantee anglers 3 days, no matter what conditions arise.

  • Dean Meckes of Clayton, NY writes:

    RE: Defoe leaves Escanaba It's a delicate balance. Good luck, Ott.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Is it fair to cancel a tournament day for anglers trying to qualify for the Classic or AOY , or to win some money? I understand the safety part, but the wind can get up after any day's start and before check-in. Anglers pay to fish during tournament days. If they are not allowed to fish, it affects their money winnings and that's why they pay to fish. If conditions require a day's cancellation it should be rescheduled so the anglers have a chance to improve their money winnings.

    B.A.S.S. should reschedule the AOY event with the days 1 results carried over to another location. They have 3 1/2 months left in 2014, find a lake and reschedule the rest of the AOY event. It's not fair to anyone to not allow the anglers to fish for Classic and AOY qualifying, plus the money that's involved. Just move it south and reschedule the last 2 days. The anglers paid to fish 3 days and try to qualify.

  • Patrick Ross of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    Remind me again why this tournament exists. I thought the AOY was the guy who had the most points at the end of the tournament series. Now you say 50 guys are fishing one tournament to decide the AOY? That is ludicrous.

    Now instead of trying to garner the most points possible, you fish to finish in the Top 50. It is degrading to the anglers and demeaning to the Elite Series, and to top that off they go to the Great Lakes to hold the tournament, where a change in the weather can kill you.

    Wake up, Mr. McKinnis. If you want more exposure, do more of the BASSFest tournaments instead of of this AOY tournament.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating I quit fishing a particular national circuit a few years ago due to cheating and disregard of the rules by the people running it. One infraction even took place in front of the tournament director. Their basic response was they did not see the infraction that took place on the water so it was our word against the other team. Well, I thought we all policed ourselves. There aren't any refs out there watching us. Fortunately there are plenty of other tournaments to fish if I so choose.

  • Charlie Baker of Moncks Corner, SC writes:

    I think a Classic winner should be given an exemption of 3 to 5 years, sort of like NASCAR does at the All-Star race.

  • John Barbaro of Leesburg, FL writes:

    I want to first thank Mr. Sharp for his many contributions to the sport of bass fishing. However, I can't agree with him on his assessment. KVD is the BOAT.

    Martin and Clunn were still fishing while KVD was winning a lot. They had all the advantages and use of the modern equipment and could not keep up with KVD. Fish do not know how old you are. If anything, the five-fish limit should have been to their advantage.

    KVD has fine-tuned the art of fishing because he was schooled by the likes of Martin, Clunn, Dance and Bassmaster Magazine and refined his skills to the next level.

  • Thomas Hack of Mount Gilead, OH writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry: Joe, you sir, are a class act. Wow! What a great response to a heartbreaking situation. I have followed you, fished against you ... and now totally admire you. We need to be thankful for the gifts God had given us and more importantly, allow Him to work in his timetable. You will be blessed!

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