RE: Balog on 'the code' – Old-school code of conduct of respecting other's water is not obsolete. Neither of these two fine gentlemen had a lack of old-school code of conduct, either. In my opinion, Mr. Haynes made a bad decision. You said in the article how both competitors had used the spot on days 1 and 2. Day 3 was a boat race (part of the competition and strategy) to get to the loaded spot. Let's remember that the FLW Tour, along with the Bassmaster Elite Series, are the highest level of competitive bass fishing that exists. The world is watching these tournaments in person and through media outlets. Endemic and non-endemic sponsors are supporting these anglers (and our sport) in many ways, including monetarily.
I don't fish at this level. I have been a co-angler in a handful of tour events and that has given me a small taste of what it's like for these guys. What happened between Haynes and Lambert was likely nothing different than 20 other instances that occurred between competitors that week. Haynes and Lambert just happened to be the leaders and on FLW Live. So what did other competitors (fishing for big money and points in their own right) do when they found another competitor or local on their spots/areas? I'll tell you. They either adjusted their game plan and found new water, worked their way into the line of fishermen on "their" spot, or just had a conversation with the other person to see how they felt about working together for the benefit of all (Lambert did that).
I don't know either of these two men personally other than a handshake with Mr. Haynes years ago followed by small-talk conversation at a boat show. But I have a high interest level in everything bass fishing even though I am not a tour-level angler. And my conclusion is that Randy Haynes is a true gentlemen and ambassador for this great sport who simply made a bad choice at the most inopportune time when so many people in the industry were watching. Now that he has had a week to reflect, I'm sure Mr. Haynes realizes this as well.
Mr. Haynes made a poor decision to leave the tournament early. Unless we are all missing something that he wants to keep private, he had no family emergency or any related issue of any kind that required him to leave. He walked off the biggest stage their is in bass fishing when he had an opportunity to win $100,000. Not only did he embarrass himself, but he also didn't give Mr. Lambert the opportunity to beat all the best anglers and leaders in the standings. Mark Rose had a guy nearly bumping his boat to mark waypoints so he could pound on his fishing spots he worked so hard to find once he left. He didn't go put his boat on the trailer and head to the house. Many anglers in this tournament could give us other instances that occurred where they had to bite their tongue, grind their teeth and just move on. Mr. Haynes himself has surely had other instances like this in his storied career.
Mr. Haynes may be the best ledge fisherman and Tennessee River fisherman to ever live! I know he had other ledges to fish that had 20-plus pounds on them. He could have stayed on that spot and worked with Lambert as well. I'm glad there are no future consequences for Mr. Haynes from the tournament organization. There are far worse things he could have done. I'll chalk this up to a fine person and fisherman who had a terrible day and made an unfortunate decision with the cameras rolling. He is still one of the biggest class acts out there for sure, in my book.