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  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    RE: Mead history revealed – And here's some even more impressive history. They like to call the U.S. Open a "western" tournament, and when I see the "nationals" in the air-conditioned halls of ICAST over the years in Las Vegas, I get it. It's too tough for many of the pros. But not for Clifford Pirch.

    Yes, there are two other three-time Open champs (Aaron Martens and Mike Folkestad), but they pale by comparison. Pirch has titles at Lake Mead in 2007, 2010 and 2014. And he was runner-up in 2009, 2012 and 2013 and 6th in 2006. Pirch is the finest desert angler in the country – and that's not just history – that's a fact.

  • Jason Harrison of Tocoa, GA writes:

    RE: Balog on boundaries – Great observations, Joe. However, I think the one glaring omission and the sole reasoning for the boundaries is the live coverage. B.A.S.S. has painted themselves into a corner by selling this live deal to sponsors in advance, as well as promising the fans. Not a chance they could take to have the entire Top 6 out in the middle of Lake Ontario with no signal and unsuitable conditions to provide the live deal. Just my opinion, but that is more than likely the primary reason.

    All of a sudden they are concerned about expense ... really? And safety? If that were true, they wouldn't set up the schedule all over the place, costing the anglers more money than necessary, and they wouldn't let Mike McClelland run across Galveston Bay to Houston. The machine keeps rolling!

  • Max Thompson of Bringhurst, IN writes:

    RE: Balog on boundaries – I wholeheartdly disagree. These guys are the best at what they do and unless I have forgotten something, I don't think any of the Elite-level fishermen have been killed, so I don't think it's really a safety issue. For me, it's exciting to read about the occasional long trips through the Gulf or down to Venice, or out from St. Clair into Erie, etc. I would be much less interested in following them if they began limiting the anglers' ability to find what he/she believes to be the winning fish.

    In regard to the host town, I am a believer that if they didn't think hosting the tournament was a good investment, then they wouldn't continue to do so. As a fan I attach the town/venue together and would most likely go to that town ... Sturgeon Bay, Waddington, Thousand Islands. I have actually been to and spent time there because that is where the tournament went out of. I also have plans to go to other venues because I attach the host city/lake.

    Prices, I agree, but there is most definitely a demand for the high end of the market. Do I think it's nuts what they charge for a new vehicle, boat, rods/reels, baits, electronics, etc.? Absolutely. But again, they wouldn't continue if the market didn't support it, although I choose not too. There is no such thing as an $80K boat, $70K truck or $1,500 rod/reel combo for me. I have better places for my money.

    A little about me" I'm 51, used to fish FLW as a co-angler and will likely be a marshal someday (considering St. Clair this year). I bought a 1998 Ranger R73 new from Tood Moore in Ligioneer, Ind. and I still own it today. I have also hired a few guides over the years on these venues (Kevin Long, Mike Auten, etc.) and will likely continue in the future. I have actually considered contacting you about fishing on Erie, even though I don't believe you guide there. I love smallmouth and want to spend time learning about them from the best. I have followed bass fishing my entire life.

    I enjoy your column and read it everytime I see it on BassFan.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on boundaries – Years ago, before the first 150-hp outboards were on the market, we realized that the B.A.S.S. tournament anglers were getting into a horsepower race to outrun everyone else with a larger motor, and we set the limit at 150. We also set tournament boundaries to keep them fishing instead of burning gas to outdistance everyone. A few years later, B.A.S.S. removed the 150-hp limit and the race was on again. Big mistake.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Balog on boundaries – Joe, I completely agree. However, rather than saying expenses, I would have said envrionmental considerations. You are right, burning all that gas is ridiculous and seems like taboo to talk about in tournament circles.

  • Zach Maisch of Lima, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on boundaries – I believe Joe is dead on with this topic and I am even one of those few guys who will make those runs. I have fished against Joe in the Michigan BFLs and other large events on Erie. I have made the run from Harley Ensign in Lake St. Clair down to Pelee Island in Erie. I did so because I knew I had to, not because I wanted to! Being an Ohio guy, it is an obvious advantage to be able to run to the areas I know best, but I would prefer the boundary line.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: B.A.S.S. Nation/TBF poll – Before the split, the state of Illinois had over 90 bass clubs in the B.A.S.S. Federation, now there are about 38 clubs between the two. Bass fishermen in Illinois will not return to the grassroots after the way B.A.S.S. destroyed the Federation!

  • Bill Skinner of Reedsburg, WI writes:

    RE: Davis' injury – Why would he not just get some left-hand crank baitcasters? To me, switching hands with a bait caster doesn't make sense. I guess I always have wondered why you would not want the rod in your dominant hand all of the time?

  • Ron Shaddix of Spanish Fort, AL writes:

    RE: Wiley's good year – I fished a lot with Scott when he was younger. He's quick to learn and sets his game pattern to his strengths. He's definitely one to watch. Should have gone pro earlier, but still has a lot of good tournaments in him. Best of luck on the Tour, Scott.

  • Dave Middleton of Silverhill, AL writes:

    RE: Wiley's good year – Way to go, Scottie! I'll be there to root you on.

  • James Charlesworth of Gainesville, VA writes:

    RE: Balog on Cox – I have fished against Cox and he is truly gifted! He is also very good deep and with a dropshot. He is not a one-trick pony. Look how well he has done on Erie and Kentucky Lake on ledges.

  • Terry Bonsell of Keyser, WV writes:

    RE: Balog on Cox – I have a friend fishing FLW (name withheld). He was known for his shallow-water success. He started doing the ledge thing and his finishes and earnings fell. Sticking to what you're good at leads to success.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on Cox – Another great article by Joe Balog that contains something about bass fishing that's worth reading. When I started at B.A.S.S. in 1970, I was fortunate to travel, fish and spend a lot of time on the B.A.S.S. Seminar Trail with John Powell and Roland Martin. John never depended on a depthfinder, as he never fished water over 3 feet deep. Roland had a transducer mounted on the bottom of his trolling motor so he could see under boat docks, etc. This was long before anyone else was using one.

    Both John and Roland were experts at finding bass in shallow water. Both preached at the start of their seminars to launch the boat, put down the trolling motor and fish everything you could see. John always said that he big engine is there only to get you back to the ramp. Fish what you see, find the bass, make it bite and put it in the boat. You can play with it after it's in the boat.

    Very expensive boats, motors and equipment do not make you a better bass angler or catch you more fish. You do that if you concentrate on what you are doing and stop trying to do what someone else is doing.

  • Mike Burke of Breinigsville, PA writes:

    RE: Balog on Cox – John Cox definitely had an awesome year. It put my attention and that of a lot of others on the man in a aluminum boat powered by a 150-hp with no transducers. I don't think we will see copy-cat approaches. I believe more shallow power-style anglers like myself will have the confidence to fish our strengths like John Cox did this season. His way of doing things this year kept him on his game and in his confidence zone. That's a check-cashing formula if I ever heard one.

    The biggest aspect to me of his approach this season tis hope! Our sport is entering a dark time I feel, where the ranks are being filled more by those with deep pockets rather than skill. Some of the world's best don't get a shot due to financial burdens that arise in fishing a professional trail. He proved that a sparkling, 22-foot, $70,000 rig isn't truly necessary to be competitive. We will see more serious talent and less anglers who just have the money to give it a try because of his efforts.

    My personal thank you goes out to John Cox. Being a serious, committed co-angler waiting for my opportunity to be at the front of the boat, you made that seem more possible to me and many others. That day, that dream, just got a lot closer and cheaper for us.

  • John Lipe of Anderson, IN writes:

    RE: Rose thrown for a loop – Just my opinion, but Mr.Rose is one of the good guys and we all make mistakes once in awhile.

  • Terry Bonsell of Keyser, WV writes:

    RE: 2016 FLW Tour schedule – Yawn, same old lakes.

  • Zach Kirby of Shelbyville, TN writes:

    RE: Rose thrown for a loop – I have always appreciated Mark Rose and his offshore prowess. Sadly, this article sounds like Mark is whining a bit. It is the competitor's responsibility to know and follow the rules. Leaving a boat adrift is a danger to other traffic on the water. Secondarily, he did gain a time advantage by not properly securing the boat as he should for the ride in with a fellow competitor as specified by the rules and common sense.

    In my opinion, this deserves a bass fishing "C'mon, man." Best of luck to Mark in 2016.

  • Ron Kersten of Mesa, AZ writes:

    RE: Rose thrown for a loop – Mark, to leave your boat adrift is pretty stupid and a serious hazard to others. Yes, you deserved to be DQd. Quit your crying and man up!

  • Steve Lindner of Lake Havasu City, AZ writes:

    RE: Rose thrown for a loop – I'm not necessarily a big Rose fan. Rules are in place for many reasons, but sometimes there must be exceptions. I believe anything that needs to be governed needs to have a "common sense board." Not every infraction is cut and dried.

    When it is obvious a rule is broken deliberately, we all know what to do. It's very difficult to catch people who break rules. If a mistake does not affect the outcome, those anglers deserve a Mulligan. Too many are being DQd for the dumbest reasons. I am sure there are some who fish in the professional ranks who are always trying to gain an unfair advantage. Go catch them!

  • Peter O'Donnell Sr. of Deale, MD writes:

    RE: Chaconas opinion – In light of the recent article posted by S. Chaconas regarding Bryan Schmitt's final day, I feel it necessary to write a rebuttal statement on the events that took place during the recent FLW tournament on the Potomac River.

    First and foremost, the said reporter appeared to have his own agenda writing this story as the facts and comments that I gave to him were misrepresented repeatedly throughout his article. Since the said reporter seemed to be on a mission to shred my character, I am going to systematically address the allegations one by one.

    First, I was accused of "revealing to the masses" Schmitt's "favorite spot" on the last day of the tournament. I have no social media accounts and called no one to reveal anything, so what does this mean? Next, I was accused of approaching his area quickly and stopped next to him; when in fact I stopped 175 yards south of him when the story states "the unthinkable begins!" Supposedly, I then began blocking and interfering with Schmitt when in fact I was fishing inside of him, straight ahead and to the bank, while he was fishing outside of me "fan -casting."

    After 20 minutes Schmitt left the area and headed north. I stayed and fished. He returned and left the area several times but at no time did I leave and follow him. Schmitt had a camera boat following him all day and coincidentally, none of these accusations made toward me were captured on camera. If my "boat maneuvering" and body language were "clearly trying to rankle" Schmitt, how was any of this not caught on camera?

    Next, I need to address the misrepresented allegation that I was the individual who had Schmitt disqualified in 2011 for cheating. I was only interviewed by the FLW tournament director after the original allegation was made by another angler. It was made clear to me by the director that my answers to his inquiry may impact my participation in future FLW events. I answered his questions honestly.

    The reporter of this article questioned FLW's decision to disqualify Schmitt, who refused the polygraph and then admitted to cheating? Schmitt would like everyone to believe that I was not fishing on the day in question and I was out there to "mess with his head," but what was not mentioned (by the reporter) was during that same day I assisted an inexperienced father and son who were fishing on shore and took out two young brothers for a boat ride. But the reporter didn't want anyone to know any of that because it did not fit his story line.

    You see, I know the person I am. The reporter (S. Chaconas) took a day of fishing on the river and framed it into a conspiracy to satisfy his need to fuel a scandal that didn't exist. The truth always prevails!

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