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All Topics   January 2012
  • Jason Gauthier of Winnipeg, MB writes:

    RE: Gustafson's challenge – One of the top tournament anglers in the country up here! Does lots for the fishing industry as well as many charities in Canada. As for concern about putting him on new water? Don't! Gussy has good fishing sense and quick learning ability of methods on any body of water. Do not be surprised when he does well down in the States.

  • Shane Burns of Durham, NC writes:

    I agree with the idea on banning prototype lures that are used in tournaments that other anglers don't have the opportunity to use or access to in the events. Now that is unfair! I would like to see the "morals police" step in when an Elite pro brags about catching them on their sponsor's baits when the camera caught them going into a competitor's plastic bag. Great morals there.

  • Alan Ellis of Claremore, OK writes:

    Ban the A-Rig? How about we ban crybabies who whine about something they don't even fully understand, yet they believe they know more than the professional biologists of each state's fish & game department. And by Chicken Little screaming, they can rewrite the legality of whatever fishing method they don't want to see? Give me a break! Go "Occupy" something else, somewhere else! That or go back to watching "Survivor" reruns – they actually want your opinion.

  • Barry L. Lagler Sr. of Allentown, PA writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – I think the new rule is stupid – just because a few whining little crybabies don't like the use of an alternate boat. B.A.S.S. will never be as big as NASCAR, so why try to emulate it? B.A.S.S. has become more corporate in nature and has strayed away from it's blue collar roots. In the big scheme of things, pro bass fishing is a minor player in the world of pro sports and with the slow economy even smaller for the blue-collar segment of the population.

    B.A.S.S. needs to get back to its blue-collar roots.

  • Greg Scott of Dearborn, MI writes:

    RE: A-Rig ban petition – Sight-fishing is the thing that should be banned – it by far is more unethical than the Alabama Rig. Some of the pros who signed this are the biggest sight fisherman around. Go figure.

  • Chad Keogh of Black Creek, BC writes:

    RE: Gustafson's challenge – Good luck on the FLW Tour, Jeff! It's good to see a top Canadian angler able to showcase his talents on a big tour.

  • Mark Allard of Sioux City, IA writes:

    Live bait was banned for the same reason live decoys were banned – it's too easy to catch 'em.

  • Tony Holzer of East Palestine, OH writes:

    Everybody thinks the A-Rig is going to catch too many fish. How about Major League Fishing? They are going to catch as many fish as they can. Has anybody ever gotten bored because they are catching too many fish? I don't think so.

  • Martin D. Lamb of Clinton, IA writes:

    RE: 'Cat Hunt successful – I still think the boat is worth at least a Puma or Pantera. The original motor still runs, for pete's sake.

  • Don Moir of Ukiah, CA writes:

    RE: 'Cat Hunt successful – Way cool! I have a 1970 Richline that I just cant get rid of. It doesn't get fished much anymore because I have a much newer and larger bass boat, but still I take her once in awhile. These old girls are pretty cool, huh?

  • Ken Hodges of Donalds, SC writes:

    In my opinion, if the B.A.S.S. wants to ban the A-Rig in the Classic and Elites, they should ban bed-fishing. It doesn't take skill it sit on a 10-pounder for 30 minutes to 2 hours and pester the fish until it bites. Taking these breeding fish off their beds is not sporting – the A-Rig is more sporting than that.

  • Koby Kreiger of Okeechobee, FL writes:

    Please, people, if you want the a rig banned because you think it gives people an edge over other people, then how about graphite rods, GPS, HydroWaves, polarized sunglasses, and the list goes on and on. Just because you throw the A-Rig doesn't mean you are going to catch a fish. My boat might not go as fast as the others, so I guess those people need to be disqualified.

    The A-Rig has been around in the fishing world for a long time. Quit whining and start casting.

  • Jack Watkins of Belleville, IL writes:

    Why ban live bait?

  • T. Mike Evans of Deatsville, AL writes:

    RE: A-Rig ban petition – B.S. Let it run its course.

  • Sean Stepp of Fredericksburg, VA writes:

    It seems as though the same 10% of the professional fisherman win 90% of the money in top-level competition no mater what he or she is throwing. so why would it be any different if the same 10% were throwing the A-Rig?

    If you don't throw this rig in the right place at the right time, it doesn't matter anyway. The same applies to a jig, worm, crankbait and so on. You're not a better fisherman because you caught your limit on a jig or less of a fishermen because you caught your limit on an A-Rig. This thing isn't magic. If the fish are out on gravelly points and you are throwing it in the back of pockets, the bass aren't going to swim to the back of the pocket to get it.

    I think the real underlying reason for the uproar in the professional ranks is not about hurting the sport of bass fishing, but more about hurting the wallet of the top 10%.

  • James Ogstad of Caldwell, ID writes:

    I would bet you any amount of money that the only people who are not for the A-Rig are the people who are not making them – hello, Strike King, and many more. I have bought some and will continue to buy them as long as they are for sale. If it's not broken, leave it alone.

  • Alan Piacentine of Dallas, GA writes:

    I bought one A-Rig because it's the hottest thing going today, but I pray they ban it. What fun is it going to be if you have to throw it every single tournament just to compete? I signed the petition and won't deny it at all! Please ban it, FLW.

  • Brian Campbell of Greensburg, PA writes:

    If they are going ban the A-Rig, then they better ban the Senko too, as more fish die from swallowing a Senko than will ever die from biting an A-Rig. That's if we're truly worried about the bass and keeping up the great tournament reputation we have. This rig, like most other good baits, is very effective under the right conditions, but by no means is the end-all for bass fishing.

  • Jim Liner of Montgomery, AL writes:

    Oh please, America! We have a lot more things to worry about than banning the A-Rig. I have used the A-Rig and caught fish on it on a day when other things did not work. On another day they would not hit the rig, but they wanted Brush Hogs only. That is the way bass fishing works.

    We have a lot more important things to worry about, like electing a new government. There is no law at this point saying we have to use an A-Rig. I will continue to use it on occasion when I am in the right circumstance, but that is my right as a free-thinking American.

    Go, A-Rig! I will support it more now because of the controversy.

  • Roger Pearson Sr. of Huntsville, AL writes:

    RE: Horton's strong rally – Tim, I commend you for the goals you have set for yourself, mainly because it takes a lot of selfishness out of the picture. Taking what we know and passing it on to others is so important, not just about fishing, but about everything. I think that is all part of God's will.

    I love listening to you on TV – the way you put things together is easy to understand, and you are very pleasant to listen to. Thanks for giving me one more thing to look forward to. If at all possible, it has been a dream of mine to be able to go fishing with you one day. I live in Huntsville, Ala., retired, and having a great time fishing locally. God bless, and thanks for your time.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    In case you missed it, the January issue of B.A.S.S. Times had an article about the A-Rig. The January issue of Bassmaster magazine had a picture on the cover of the A-Rig, and inside the editor, James Hall, had a story about one he had just bought. On page 26, Ken Duke had a great article on it with another photo with a quote, "It's a crazy good system for catching bass that has anglers in a frenzy."

    Here's something you may have missed: on page 66 is a story by David Jones explaining how to make and fish a double rig with two swimbaits.

    Then on Jan. 18 B.A.S.S. issued a press release announcing the ban on the A-Rig and any rigs with more than one lure, but the ban is only for the Classic and Elites. The February issue of B.A.S.S. Times has an article by Dave Precht explaining the ban. The first three lines of it state: "No lure, no technique, no new anything has set the bass fishing world abuzz like the advent of multi-lure rigs."

    The B.A.S.S. press release announcing the ban had praise for it from B.A.S.S. tournament director Trip Weldon and B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin, followed by the reasoning for the ban.

    After reading all this, I took another look at the "Goals of B.A.S.S." that were posted in the first issue of Bassmaster. Number 3 reads like this: "To improve our skill as bass anglers through the exchange of expert bass catching techniques and ideas."

    Is that what we are doing ?

  • Robert Vogelsang of Jessup, MD writes:

    If people want to ban certain lures from tournament fishing, I would like to make a suggestion. I think any lure that is not on the market and available to all anglers be banned. "Prototype" baits seem to me to be an unfair advantage, and should be tested by the fishing morality police to make sure they meet their self-proclaimed ethical standards.

  • Chris Moore of Russellville, AR writes:

    I think the manufacturers associated with this sport are well on their way to pricing themselves out of jobs. The economy is very tough right now, Sponsors are becoming few and far between and the tours, along with MLF, are diluting what little remains out there. It's no longer any man's game. It's truly become a sport associated with the rich.

    It seems boat/motor companies remain delusional about their product. Yes, it costs more to make now, but they need to recognize they are a luxury item that very few people use to make a living, unlike a car.

    Outboards running wide open consume 20 gallons per hour, Tou can bet this summer that if Iran causes more problems, there will be $5-per-gallon gas, meaning for a one-hour run that now will cost $60 and it rises to $5 we will spend $100. So put a couple maybe three-hour runs on your motor a month and fill it up for around $200 and make a $450 boat payment, and you're looking at no groceries or gas for the truck. And that's from a person with a two-income family and a management job that pays very well.

    Tackle is proving to be just as bad – a rod/reel combo pushes $200 for average quality. And the average crankbait ranges from $5 up to $20 for name brands.

    The problem won't manifest itself with this generation of fishermen who are already committed to a lifetime of fishing, but the next generation is going to find it hard to get into this sport at all.

    Personally, it looks like I will be downgrading to a small aluminum from a 21-foot fiberglass and instead of making runs up and down the river, I will trailer it to a local city lake or bay and drop it in there.

    I'll say tournaments are out and at least I may have a platform to teach my kids from, and maybe create some memories, all the while knowing there will be little to no chance they would be able to afford this sport in the future.

    Oh well, here's to the Elite who can keep going in the sport. I'll probably end up dunking minnows and fishing from a lawn chair.

  • Ken Bragg of Fayetteville, WV writes:

    If B.A.S.S. is going to ban the A-Rig in the Elite Series, then it should be banned in all the events they hold – Opens, Weekend Series, Federation Nation. Otherwise, permit it in all events.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: A-Rig ban petition – Seems to me if these people are not using their real names on the petition then that should make the petition invalid. Everybody needs to relax a bit and go fishing. If you don't like the rig, then don't use it. If you like it, then throw it until your arm falls off (which is likely to happen if you throw it too much).

  • Paul Zuest of Klamath Falls, OR writes:

    RE: A-Rig ban petition – If your state okays it, it should be an option. No different than using an electronic fish call to me.

  • John Hempel of Brownstown, Mi writes:

    Banning the A-Rig? You have got to be kidding me! I'll bet that Andy Poss is laughing all the way to the bank. What a great way to get free advertising. And by the way, you can only weigh in five at a time.

    I have never seen such a bogus petition in my life. I would never sign that one.

  • Lenwood Richardson of Billings, MT writes:

    RE: A-Rig ban petition – Get over yourself. You are just upset that the rig is getting so much press. Grow up.

  • Ray Coleman of Henderson, NV writes:

    RE: New Revo Premier spinning reel sizes – A great product, both in quality and function. Really glad to hear.

  • Doug Amos of Mallorytown, ON writes:

    Fishermen who are having their 65-pound braid stripped from their reel while fishing the A-Rig need to learn how to set the drag on their reel! This same angler is worried about thousands of A-Rigs lying on the bottom of a lake. There is as much of a chance of this happening as having the moon fall and hit you while fishing the A-Rig. Here is my question: What happened to the idea that the fish can see your line if you do not use a leader? Do you think they can see the metal arms on the A-Rig?

  • Bryan Mayo of Warwick RI writes:

    Awesome site.

  • Glynn Douglas of Bayou Pigeon, La writes:

    If the A-Rig is this good, I'm going get several. After I catch a limit on two or three casts, I'll go back to the normal tackle I use and save the A-Rig for my next trip.

    If the state regulations allow 10 fish, then it must not be too many. I'm sure they have a better idea of what swims in their waters, don't you think?

  • T.J. McCue of Greenwood, IN writes:

    I really get a kick out of all these morons who claim the A-Rig will destroy lakes. The umbrella rig has been used for years by striper guides and fishermen and as far as I know, there are still plenty of stripers swimming around! It is just another tool for bass fishermen to use. Some days it will get you bites, some days it won't. It is not some magic voodoo bait where all you have to do is drop it in the water and every bass will come from miles around. Get a grip, people!

  • Paul Zuest of Klamath Falls, OR writes:

    RE: Harris wins at Shasta – I fished all day up the Sacramento arm with my partner – threw everything we had, including the A-Rig. Fished shallow, deep, points, flats, rock walls, you name it. The water was never warmer than 49 degrees. We saw fish on the fishfinder all day long, but they all had mouths clamped tight – no bites, no fish. Tough day – nice to see somebody figured something out.

  • Paul Wallace of Cambridge City, IN writes:

    With all the crying and gnashing of teeth over the Alabama Rig, maybe some of these people need to look at their state's creel limits. Alabama and Mississippi allow you to keep 10 bass a day. Thats the law. Get over it. It doesn't matter if you catch them on an Alabama Rig, spinnerbait or live minnows – 10 is all you can keep.

    Don't get me wrong, 10 is too many, but it's the law in those states. Who cares how many you catch and release? Last time I checked, that was the point of fishing – to catch as many as you can.

  • Ron Wolfarth of Oakboro, NC writes:

    RE: Alabama Rig – I don't have a strong opinion yet, but it appears the one thing everyone is overlooking are the wildlife departments. Once the rigs are in use for a while, I am sure if they are detrimental to our fisheries that our wildlife officers will have a little input as to their use. Until that time, fish on!

  • Jeff Parker of St. Louis, MO writes:

    RE: PAA Tour Teach Challenge – 18 team field? What a joke. Nothing but a glorified bass club tournament.

  • Aaron Watkins of Orlando, FL writes:

    Sonar, glad to get to read another of your articles – I always look forward to them. Also, nice to meet you chillin' on your boat. Yes, the BFL was weird. My buddy actually got plenty of bites in more open-water grassy areas when conventional wisdom would say they would be buttoned up under the mats with that weather. I suppose sometimes there is nothing conventional about a bass.

  • Ken Murphy of Meridian, MS writes:

    The A-Rig really brings out the true colors of some "professional" fishermen, not to mention the ignorance. This technique will increase fishing pressure tremendously and decrease fish populations in fisheries which are already struggling. Any angler who is in favor of this method falls under one of the following categories: (1) You can't compete or catch fish in the conventional method; (2)You have no concerns about the impact on the fisheries; (3) You are involved with the marketing of this product; (4) You are at the end of your career and you really don't care what the effects may be; or (5) You are just stupid, and stupid can't be fixed.

  • William D. Smith of Tower Hill, IL writes:

    Ban the hottest lure going in the Elites and Classic? Too old-school. If it's legal on the lake, use it. My opinion is that it levels the playing field. I would rather watch pros catching bass on a lure I may use, plus get some tips.

  • Lenny Shane of Chesapeake, VA writes:

    Not everyone is going to be throwing this A-Rig on 65- or 80-pound braid. Anglers are going to buy these baits at Bass Pro and other tackle shops by the thousands and throwing them on monofilament. I can see it right now – someone hooking five smallmouth, the line breaking and five smallmouth dying.

    When I heard about this rig, I made one. Exactly 1 hour into the the fishing trip I hooked something big. The fish stripped all my 65-pound braid and was gone. I thought about that fish being doomed. With all these baits dangling around him, the fish could never throw the lure. Also, other fish in that school instinctively would take the other baits and would also be doomed.

    There could literally be dozens,hundreds or thousands of these baits lying on the bottom of any lake. A small school of bass swims by, one bass spots this tasty Yum Money Minnow lying on the bottom, sucks it in. the rig comes to life, another bass gets excited, takes in another bait, and so on. The whole little school is doomed.

    I've been lucky enough in my life to be just fishing along and see a bass jump out of the water and throw a crankbait twice. I still have the two baits. I doubt very seriously if a bass could throw an Alabama Rig.

  • Bob Dattilo of Thomaston, CT writes:

    Saddened to read of the passing of a great fisherman and teacher, Tony Bean. Tony made going to the bass seminars fun! He was always a gentleman and took the time to talk to you on an even level.

  • Harry Moore of Valley, AL writes:

    Well, ban the A-Rig, and after all these years when the double-fluke, triple-fluke, etc. were legal, now we are going to ban them. Oh, but not FLW, If it was a problem with the fluke rigs, why are the great Elite fishermen, the one or two who have a voice, just complaining now? The one or two get all the new stuff given to them and the others have to find the money to buy them.

    I may not have a top ranking, but I have never paid for or given product for help. When I make it, it will be the hard way and I can hold my head high.

  • James Kennedy of Anderson, SC writes:

    RE: FLW allows A-Rig – The problem with FLW is they always take the easy way out. Fennel's response was simply more of the same Kool-Aid that has dragged them down for years. Let the states decide the issue, then simply abide by their ruling. Don't try to come off as the anglers' friend. Just look at the tour rule that prevents the co-angler from fishing unless the pro is on the front deck. How else can FLW management punish the poor co-angler?

  • Dave Rogalski of Orono, MN writes:

    It's a sad day to see FLW allow the A-Rig and others to be involved in their sport. I was hoping they would take the same stance as B.A.S.S.

  • Robert Vogelsang of Jessup, MD writes:

    Anglers in top events are asked to pay $4,000 to $5,000 to fish one tournament. They should be allowed to use whatever methods that are approved in the state they are fishing. This is a good decision by FLW.

  • Jeff Brady of LaGrange, KY writes:

    I was under the impression that the Elite anglers were trying to upgrade their profesional image and make fishing like NASCAR, but every year I see pros fishing in the non-Elite tourneys. This is not allowed in NASCAR and it should not be allowed in fishing. If they are too "elite" to fish with co-anglers, then they should have to qualify for the Classic and the series through the Elites, or not qualify.

    Now that I have made my statement, I expect to hear the same thing from the Elite-worshipers and that if you want to fish with them, then put up your money and fish. But the same people who are going to say these types of responses are the same people who thinks it's a tragedy when an Elite angler loses a sponser or two. Why not tell them to break out their own money?

    P.S. – Congrats, Chris Lane!

  • Lenny Shane of Chesapeake, VA writes:

    The potential problem with the A-Rig is this: We all know that bass will pick up plastic worms lying on the bottom. They gorge themselves on baitfish lying on the bottom. If an A-Rig is lying on the bottom and one bass sucks in one bait, the whole rig comes to life. Instinctively, another bass hits the other bait and so on until the whole little school is hooked up.

  • Tim Brown of Ridge Top, TN writes:

    Okay, maybe it's just me, but I have a problem with the Elite pros fishing out boats that are licnesed in states that they are not from. For instance, in the February 2012 Bassmaster on page 14 there is a picture of Aaron Martens fishing in a Phoenix (wrapped boat) with a Tennessee license. This tells me that this boat was delivered to him to fish out of from Phoenix Boats.

    Do any of these Elite pros own a boat, or are they are delivered to them for them to use?

  • Steve Kirby of Columbus, OH writes:

    Upon reading B.A.S.S.'s decision regarding the use of the A-Rig, more properly known as an umbrella rig, I was heartened to see that at least they realized the principle behind one rod, one line, one lure. I was somewhat disappointed that they didn't go all the way, but at least they recognized that at its highest level, the Elites, there was no room for compromise when it came to highlighting the abilities of the anglers in its test of the "best of the best."

    With that said, I was disappointed in FLW's "easy way out" response to this new expansion of what are considered to be conventional angling techniques. Don't be misled by Fennel's explanation of "the why" they're allowing for its use - she's simply taking the easy way out. Use of umbrella rigs is nothing more than the bastardization of conventional angling techniques.

  • Charlie Clifford of Walkersville, MD writes:

    To compare the Alabama Rig to the "controversial" and "innovative" baits like the ChatterBait or buzzbait is completely absurd. Really? A five-bait umbrella rig and a ChatterBait share similar characteristics on controversial design?

    The only reason FLW is allowing the bait is that the bait was telecast to the fishing public on their program, in their tournament, and they are the ones who are marketing the bait so aggressively in publications.

    Save face, FLW! All about the money anyway, right? Not the four other 5/0 lazer-sharp hooks that are penetrating the sides of big breeding bass while they are being allowed to go into a net on one of your episodes.

    Terrible decision.

  • Brent Anderson of Kingston Springs, TN writes:

    I respect both FLW's and B.A.S.S.'s decisions on the A-Rig. I am curious as to how FLW will handle Kentucky/Barkley Lake tournaments, though, because you can only fish five baits with one hook or three baits with three hooks in Tennessee water. I would like to think that we will be treated like adults and be allowed to use the five-rig in Kentucky and the 1/5 or 3/3 rig in Tennessee and our boater/co-angler will be there to make sure no rules are broken. But I know when Tennessee changed the smallmouth size limit to 18 inches on every lake in the state except for Kentucky, FLW made Tennessee waters on Barkley off-limits to us for a couple of years and eventually went to an 18-inch smallmouth limit no matter what part of which lake you were fishing.

    I've always thought that the point of the pro/am format was to keep everyone honest, but in the case of the 18-inch smallmouth rule, it wasn't enough. I have a strange feeling we'll be seeing similar limitations on the A-Rig on Kentucky and Barkley events as well.

  • Steve Magnelia of Austin, TX writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – We do need excitment in the fishing industry like at no other time in history. I own a small tackle company and luckily I don't have to depend on it for most of my income. The fishing industry (tackle, tournaments, boat sales, fishing license sales) has been in the doldrums since the economy went south and gas prices went through the roof. Nobody except for a few really large companies are making much of a living on tackle sales.

    The A-Rig comes along and gives the entire tackle inductry (it's a lot bigger than just Mann's) a great shot in the arm (A-Rigs, swimbaits, jigheads, A-Rig rods, special baits for A-Rigs, etc.), and what does B.A.S.S. do but ban the thing before they have any data to justify a ban. The tackle industry would have sold millions and millions of these rigs to tourney anglers. Now when the premier circuit on the planet, with the best TV coverage of tourney fishing, bans the biggest thing to come along in years, you have to wonder why.

    In my mind B.A.S.S. is living in a vacuum and biting the industry in the butt that feeds the sport and pays the federal excise tax that keeps our fisheries departments funded. It would have been nice to see how some of the world's greatest anglers used the A-Rig, but now we'll never find out. Get some data on how this thing is ruining the sport and I'll listen.

  • Martin D. Lamb of Clinton, IA writes:

    Mr. Sharp,

    I would like to see you start a new tour. There are a couple of old adages that prove fruitful over time:

    – Don't bring me just problems, but solutions;

    – Do not be part of the problem, but rather part of the solution.

    You are not going to fix B.A.S.S. from the outside, and you are not going to get in on your current path. So your only other option is to demonstrate through your own organization how to do it correctly.

  • Paul Wallace of Cambridge City, IN writes:

    RE: McDonald's VRX and optics deals – After working and fishing with Bill in the early and mid '90s, I can say that both of these companies have gotten a great spokesperson. Bill has always had the ability to promote products that he believes in and endorses. Good for him.

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    Harold, thank you for your last post about some confusion over the rules. It was spot-on and the best post from you in a while. Clear, clean and devoid of bashing B.A.S.S., and I appreciated that very much because our world today needs more peace and less anger. Little things mean a lot.

    When you were the tournament director, you were the "Enforcer." All knew that as you held to the rules as written. You made all the anglers play by B.A.S.S. rules because it was B.A.S.S.'s game. To my knowledge you did a great job. Over time some rules did change, though. Simple things, but changes happened. Change is constant and forever will be.

    It still is their game and even though they may change the rules as they see fit and some won't like it, it is their game. I didn't care for the Elites eliminating the co-anglers, as then I couldn't fish with them. But I surely understand why, as it is the "Big Show" (sorry, Scroggins). I also don't like the three-fish limit for the cos in the Opens. But it is the right of any organization to make their rules at will and you play by them or go another direction. I hope to get to do it again someday after responsibilities lighten up some, and I will play by those rules if I get the chance to.

    To the anglers who swap organizations because you don't like any new rules or for whatever reason, please don't burn bridges because there really is no reason to. We all know B.A.S.S. and FLW are the two largest and most know neither can be perfect, just as we can't be perfect. So please, if you decide you've had enough of one, just go to the other and enjoy it because you just never know when you might want to cross over again, as many have gone back and forth over the years. Go with a smile, come with a smile. It saves teeth (well, at least having to eat crow).

    I sure am glad the season has started again! Wish I was there.

  • T.J. McCue of Greenwood, IN writes:

    Elites at a higher standard? Really? One word ... Wellman! A confessed, convicted cheater! Not what I would call a higher standard.

  • Ryan Deal of Haubstadt, IN writes:

    McDonald's VRX deal – Billy is a great role model and deserves this opportunity. He promotes his sponsors well. Congrats.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Some seem to be very confused about the B.A.S.S.rules covering tackle and equipment. I've seen comments that the rule says only one rod, one reel, one lure and one cast can be used at one time. Maybe this will help clear some of that confusion.

    On a very cold day in January 1968, Ray Scott came to Chattanooga to attend the meeting to organize the Chattanooga Bass Club. He was also here to announce the organization of the Bass Anglers Sportsman's Society (B.A.S.S.) for the first time.

    Ray and I sat in his motel room and wrote the first set of B.A.S.S. tournament rules. Later we announced them at the meeting to organize the Chattanooga Bass Club and B.A.S.S.

    Plastic-worm fishing was just being introduced to bass fishing and a very popular method in the lakes around Chattanooga was to cast one out and let it sink to the bottom, then lay the rod down and cast out another one. Some fished four rods at a time. You watched until a bass picked up the worm, then you picked up the rod, kicked the reel out of gear and fed the bass line until it stopped to swallow the worm. As soon as it took the slack out, you set the hook.

    Ray and I did not believe this method should be allowed in B.A.S.S. tournaments. In the early days two contestants were paired in each boat and they were required to work out a plan to allow each angler to fish his water and operate the boat for half the day. We did not want to force one angler to sit half the day and watch the other angler fish four rods at a time, so we installed a rule stating: Only one casting, spincasting or spinning rod and reel may be used at any one time.

    A few years later, after flipping was introduced to tournaments, we saw rods up to 10, 12 or 15 feet showing up, so we decided to limit the rod length to 8 feet. We did that to keep one angler with a 15-foot rod who wanted to flip from having an advantage over his partner who was trying to cast.

    We never had any rules governing lures except a rule stating only artificial lures were to be used and defined pork rinds and strips as artificial. We never mentioned anything about one cast. In fact, I don't see how anyone could make more than one cast at a time.

    These rule were written when two contestants were in the same boat sharing fishing time. Today one angler has control over the boat and fishing water, so new rules only need to consider one angler, not two like we did in 1968.

    B.A.S.S. was organized to create the professional sport of bass fishing. It was also to teach members how to fish for bass and it was to be supported by the fishing industry that would reap the benefits. I fail to see why any tournament organization or state agency should get involved in controlling what you catch fish on – catching is the part that makes the sport enjoyable. Creel limits will always control how many you can remove from the water. The state agencies are very good at controlling how many fish are available and it always seems to be more than anglers can catch.

    B.A.S.S. stated the ban on the A-rig was because: "Rules committee members believe the rig eliminates some of the skill that should be required in tournament competition at the highest level. Tournament director Weldon states: "The Elite Series Rules Committee members unanimously asked to be held to a higher standard. We have decided to honor their recommendations."

    The ban only applies to the Classic and 2012 Elite events, so does this mean that an Elite angler fishing a Bassmaster Open or other events will not use the A-Rig in that event and lower his higher standard?

  • Mike Brakebill of Camarillo, CA writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Want to hold these pros to a higher standard, as you stated? Get rid of this new wave of electronics and fish-calling apparatuses. At least the multiple-lure rigs require fish-catching skill, whereas these other fishing aids only require the skill level of pushing an "on" button.

    As co-owner of Roboworm soft plastics, I will make sure that the next lure design or new color we introduce does not catch an exorbitant amount of fish so we will not be banned from future fishing tournaments .

  • Robert Allen of Calhoun, GA writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Why would any ruling other than those of your native state's DNR matter to you? Are you an Elite Series angler? If you stop fishing an Alabama Rig because the Elite pros can't, then it's true that you can't fix stupid.

  • Chris Bowen of Jackson, MO writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I read the article on B.A.S.S.'s website and they pointed out that this holds their "Elite" anglers to a higher standard, such as the no-net rule, off-limits period and no-information rule. That would all be fine if they actually enforced all these rules, especially the no-information rule. I don't care one way or the other about the A-Rig, but for B.A.S.S. to ban it because they claim their anglers are held to a higher standard is ridiculous.

  • Em Seefeldt of Medina, NY writes:

    From day 1, B.A.S.S. has limited contestants to using one rod and one reel at a time. The intent of that rule had to be to limit contestents to the use of one lure at a time, otherwise the rule makes no sense. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it is allowed in B.A.S.S. tournaments. Fly fishing and trolling were outlawed by B.A.S.S. from the very beginning – a fact that Mr. Sharp has either forgotten or choses to ignore.

    Limiting contestants to the use of one lure at a time seems consistent with the original intent of the tournament rules. As far as I know, no depthfinder, GPS, side-finder or sound-making device has ever caught a bass. Comparing those devices to devices (lures) that do catch fish is like comparing apples to airplanes. The committee made the right decision.

  • Frank Kirby of LaGrange, GA writes:

    Why not make a Carolina-rig illegal? I agree with Elias – tackle companies complained to B.A.S.S., money-backers complained. They should have left the new idea alone. Maybe FLW will keep doing the right thing.

  • Jeff Mitchell of Chicago, IL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Maybe I shouldn't say this because I'm guessing I could make a lot of money with it but why not just market A-Rigs with baits/hooks already attached? Seems to me the big issue is that it doesn't come with hooks out of the package and therefore you are throwing multiple baits. Now, you could buy it with five hooks attached and put your own plastics or five spinnerbaits or five crankbaits or five ... you get my drift.

    Make it all one unit and then it is just one bait.

  • Tim Brown of Ridge Top, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Don't forget the Elites will also not be able to use the following: No longer permitted are double soft jerkbait rigs, dropshot rigs with jigs used as weights, double topwater setups and other multi-lure rigs, such as “umbrella rigs.” So if this is the rule for the Elites and their trail, so be it.

  • Charles Horwath of Darien, IL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – This is the Elite Series, not the Gimmick Series. They need to show their ability to catch fish with one rod, one reel, one lure.

  • Michael Jones of Fort Worth, TX writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – The A-Rig ban says nothing more or less about those in charge than this: They have hijacked our sport. If you shrug your shoulders and wonder why is this such a big deal, then the adage of "You can't cure stupid" surely applies.

  • Farrell Stroup of Hoboken, NJ writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Some of you folks kill me. I love bass fishing and I don't claim to be a pro, so why should I care if B.A.S.S. bans the umbrella rig for their events? More importantly, why should you and why should Marty Stone? We've all got one thing in common, fellas – none of us fish the Elite Series. As a member of B.A.S.S., I think it's great that FLW is apparently allowing this rig. Now they can drag five finesse worms at once rather than one.

  • Riley Cooper of Oklahoma City, OK writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I don't own one yet, but I will. It's not a magic bait and it would run its course in due time. I understand the ruling, but I agree there were probably mixed motives involved.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I think it would be interesting to know who is on the rules committee and who their sponsors are, but true to B.A.S.S., we will not be given that information.

  • Dave Dickherber of Lake St. Louis, Mo writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – The Elite Series just saved themselves from a bunch of blown out shoulders and tendonitis-type injuries by banning the A-Rig. Casting 3- to 5-ounce ounce "rigs" hundreds of times a day for a least 3 days in a row will eventually lead to some repetitive type of injuries. I don't really understand all of the complaining: If the Elite fishermen don't want it in their tournament then they have every right to vote it out. They don't use nets either, so it is not just the A-Rig.

  • Ronnie McDonough of Birmingham, AL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I find Jeff Kriet's comments on the A-Rig laughable when you consider this is a guy who is part owner of the HydroWave, which is a machine that puts sound waves in the water that mimics baitfish noises. The purpose of the machine is to put fish in a feeding frenzy. While B.A.S.S. was banning all the multi-lure techniques on the premise of one rod and one lure, what category does this fall under? This tool should have been banned long before the A-Rig came on the scene.

  • Steve Magnelia of Austin, TX writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Wait until the Elite guys are out fishing ledges at Kentucky Lake or elsewhere and some local who's fun-fishing near them is thumping them on the A-Rig and they can't buy a bite. Ought to make for interesting TV!

  • Ed Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – I fished with Kevin in the Wildcard. He's a great individual who truly loves to fish. I too think he's the type of fisherman sponsors should look at. He is dedicated to the sport and to making it work.

  • Martin D. Lamb of Clinton, IA writes:

    Harold, you keep counting hooks when we are speaking of the number of baits. It doesn't matter if a crankbait has 10 hooks, it is still just one "bait" and from time to time an angler catches two fish at once. But for the most part, once a fish takes it, that is the only fish that can be hooked.

    I have reeled in smallmouth with several fish striking at the crankbait and it is rare to hook up a second fish. On the other hand, the A-Rig is five baits, each capable of being struck, and each can hook an individual fish.

  • Steve Magnelia of Austin, TX writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction with little data to work with other than the opinion of "we don't like it." Should be great for the makers of the A-Rigs: "so effective it's banned for tournament use!" I also think "held to a higher standard" is somewhat ridiculous considering all the other high-tech gear we use and all the waypoint buying/sharing that goes on in the Elite Series and elsewhere.

    All you tournament boys should be restricted to a cane pole, bobber and container of earthworms. Now let's see who has the mojo to win.

  • Brian Somrek of Chicago, IL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – If you want to hold the Elites to a higher standard, than take away the side- and down-imaging, the GPS and the HydroWave and put a flasher unit on their boat and make them do it the old-fashioned way/ Then we will find out who is Elite. By the way, I also have since canceled my membership in B.A.S.S.

  • Robert Allen of Calhoun, GA writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I'm amazed at some of the naive comments concerning the B.A.S.S. ban on the A-rig, especially from some of you "pioneers" of the sport. Everyone seems to be assuming that only swimbaits and grubs can be used with this rig, but some folks I know are using five lipless cranks and others I've seen put five floating minnows on it. How many hooks are we talking about now, people?

    The bottom line is that the Alabama Rig is not a lure. Don't believe me? Try casting it out and reeling it in with nothing on it. How's that working for you? Ask yourself an honest question: Are you really upset because you think it's unfair, or are you really griping because your overinflated ego now won't allow you to throw a rig that B.A.S.S. has publicly stated takes little to no skill to catch fish on?

    Let the FLW guys have it ... they need all the help they can get.

  • Butch Bonner of Charlotte, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I wish this rig was as good as people make it out to be. I ordered them the Monday after Paul Elias won at Guntersville. I have been trying different jigheads and swimbaits and throwing it in every situation where the fish are feeding on bait or suspended. Shallow, deep ... I haven't caught a bass or any other fish yet! I have caught fish on other lures in the same areas where I have thrown the A-Rig.

    Believe me, I'm trying. I've got a lot invested in these things!

  • Michael McKenzie of Nashville, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – In response to Charles Bowman's comments, why is it okay to catch 30 or 40 bass in the summer and not the winter? Do all the bass we catch in the summer go off somewhere and die? Will your winter fish you are catching on the A-Rig ruin the fishery?

    Your argument seems to hinge on the fact that you can all of the sudden catch fish in the winter. Rest assured that there are plenty of people who could not match what you are doing with the A-Aig. Also rest assured that many people would beat your tail with it.

    If we ban lures because they are apparently successful, why go fishing? I'm starting to think that ledge fishing Kentucky Lake schools in the summer is going to be frowned upon. Why the heck is it okay in everyone's eyes to sit on a school in the summer and thump on them, but you better not do that in the winter?

    If you are on the ban the A-Rig train, and this is for all you guys out there, I sincerely hope you are not fishing it. That is the most hypocritical thing I can think of. "I'm afraid this is not good for the fishery." Well, why are you continuing to do something you view as harmful to our resource!?

    If your stance is, "I'll keep throwing until we know for sure," then why shouldn't that be the stance of tournament organizations? It is the standard that you go by, so why shouldn't it be their standard?

  • Shane Burns of Durham, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I don't understand how the A-Rig could be banned because it doesn't require skill to use it, but it does requre skill to use the HydroWave fish attractor sponsored by B.A.S.S.? How sporting is that, to use recorded feeding sounds to call fish to your boat to feed? Second, how about banning SideImaging – shouldn't they go back to flashers?

    I guess we won't get to see if the A-Rig was going to be like the ChatterBait or the spinnerbait or any hot, reveloutionary lure – just another weapon in the arsonal for the right situaution. I have had awesome days on the A-Rig and zeroed the next. My local lakes have already been conditioned and the catch rates on the good days are back down to any other good day on a crankbait. Fish aren't that stupid – it doesn't take long with catch-and-release to figure what not to bite again.

  • Kibbee McCoy of Crossville, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – If the Elite Series committee wants to ban the A-rig to, as it says, maintain the utmost professionalism, then ban that HydroWave. It is another advantage that some Elite anglers have over others. This appears to be nothing more than manufacturer and sponsor politics and does pose doubt as to B.A.S.S.'s real motives.

    I wish B.A.S.S. would let advancements in our sport take their course. I would love to see KVD with an A-Rig in his hand. Now I'm left with watching his crankbait and HydroWave.

  • Brent "Brody" Broderick of Oregonia, OH writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – The Alabama Rig is not a lure or bait. It has no hooks, people! It's a method or technique used to cast multiple lures/baits that are attached to it. Not one person or article has stated that. That's what it is! It's a harness with multiple baits. It's not a lure or bait.

    Other methods or techiques include noddling, trolling, downrigging, balloon fishing, live-bait fishing, double/triple dropshot rigs, Lake Erie daisy-chain rig, double Fluke donkey rig, double Moe Fly feather jig rigs, The T-rig (three-arm harness), double/triple float-n-fly rig with bobber, the list goes on. There are hundreds of methods and techiques. More like thousands.

    These are not lures or baits! You use multiple lures or baits with these methods/techniques.

  • Errol Duckett of Charlotte, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-rig ban - My objection to the ban has nothing to do with whether or not it catches fish. If it's unfair or hurts fisheries, that's up to the different states and agencies that make the rules. As bad as the economy is right now, it's amazing that any tournament trail would ban a lure that is a true money-maker for the ailing fishing industry.

    Swimbaits in all shapes and sizes are selling off the shelves right now in most mom-and-pop tackle stores. Why would any trail dictate which lures you can and cannot throw? I wonder how Pure Fishing, Pradco, and Strike King feel about it?

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – B.A.S.S. and states like Tennessee and others have opened a can of worms that they will never close by trying to control what anglers use to catch fish. Every lure that was designed and marketed was designed to catch every fish that got close enough to bite it. The state agencies have controlled this from day one with creel limits. They do not have enough officers to check all the anglers to see what they are using.

    If B.A.S.S. is going to ban lures that catch fish, they will be very busy as new lures are going to keep coming. Where will it stop? Bassmaster magazine was there to teach every member how to catch bass. Bob Cobb picked the pros' brains and passed the information to all members. The pros were happy to help teach bass fishing. Without the catching, it's not much fun.

    The A-rig has five hooks, many lures have six to nine hooks. The catch-and-release program installed by B.A.S.S. years ago has proven over and over that bass survive when hooked and released. B.A.S.S. will always have a daily creel limit, so will each state, they will always control how many you keep.

    The A-Rig ban is to stop certain anglers who know how to use it. All anglers had a chance to learn until a handful convinced B.A.S.S. to ban it.

    Where does it stop? Is the Elite committee going to control the Elite tournaments?

  • Tim Carini of Marietta, GA writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I think this is a good move by B.A.S.S. The laws can be grey in many states, vary by state, and vary within a state. Imagine the negative press if an angler was to win a tournament where the A-rig was illegal?

    Just look at Elias. He almost ran way up the river into Tennessee waters at Guntersville to throw the A-Rig. If he had, he would have broken a state law. Imagine what would have happened, the local papers/news stations would have a heading the next day, "Pro Angler wins $100,000 and breaks state law." That will really help give tournament anglers a good public image ... PETA and other organizations would have loved it!

    And I wonder about the legal implications if something like that would have happened. Since money was involved, could it be a felony offense?

    Back in the '70s, guys in California were using 20-foot rods to pull bass out of heavy cover. It was so effective, we now have 8-foot length limits on rods. What's the difference between limiting rod length and number of lures on a line?

    Kudos, B.A.S.S!

  • Jay Turner of Charlotte, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I would have liked to have seen it used for the 2012 season so we could see its true worth. With this ruling, someome could make the argument that one bait should have only one hook. Then where would the crankbaits with six to nine hooks (trebles) be?

    Granted, there is no way that argument would carry weight. Why? One word – sponsors. Had Strike King launched the Alabama Rig, I have no doubt that it would have seen the 2012 Elite season. It may not have seen another year, but it would have been a player in 2012, no doubt.

  • Scott Wall of Millbrook, AL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Since the dawn of competition people have studied the rules and looked for ways to get around them, and still stay within the "legal" parameters of the game. So it's really very simple ... is the A-Rig legal, according to B.A.S.S. rules, or not? Well, at first it was, now it isn't ... except in certain tournaments.

    Last time I checked, golf has had a pretty straight set of rules for dozens of years concerning the game, but the equipment has changed and pushed the boundaries, yet golf continues to thrive (well, as long as Tiger is playing well). Stop screwing with the sport and focus on growing it. B.A.S.S. officials should spend more time worrying about people cheating and getting "inside" information on lakes and less time banning lures.

  • Mark Allard of Sioux City, IA writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Wellman, you need to step up and do the right thing, and that takes what you may not have. Your actions have affected all B.A.S.S. members.

  • Tim Newberry of Wildwood, MO writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – My concern with the A-Rig will come from the "catch and clean" crowd. It is a killer method when cast, but look out when those head-choppers start trolling that rig up and down your favorite lake!

  • Ken Bragg of Fayetteville, WV writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Thanks to Marty Stone. You pretty much hit the nail on the head.

    Where will this stop now that the door has been opened to personal perceptions? And as anyone who is an experienced bass fisherman knows, today's miracle bait is not quite so hot a few tournaments later and it really is a shame that many of these B.A.S.S.Elite pros are so scared of this rig and are really afraid that their sponsor's lure is just not good enough to compete with the A Rig day in and day out.

    This was a bad move, as Marty pointed out, because you can bet this is going to bring to issue many other rigs used now.

  • Eric Karr of Sallisaw, OK writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Although the argument could be made that this lure is far too devastating to the fish, like most lures, it is a matter of time before fish become acclimated to it and the catch rate drops. In the meantime, B.A.S.S. has set a very harmful precedent by banning a lure or technique they deem too successful. Where would the fishing world be today without innovation?

    This has happened many times in the past and will certainly happen again. Thinking back over the years, similar hype was created with the Big O crankbait, the buzzbait, the magnum willow-leaf spinnerbait, the Senko, the swimbait, etc. Think of the good publicity for the industry and income and employment generated over the decades by innovative lure designs. To argue that it is too simple and not worthy of the Elites holds no water as well. Nothing could be more stupid than Carolina-rigging, yet it is acceptable?

    Most would agree that SideImaging has changed bass fishing forever and if you are one of the unfortunate not to have several thousand dollars lying around, you are at a distinct disadvantage. Why was this new technology not banned? What about the HydroWave? Wouldn't the use of the A-Rig actually level the playing field for those fisherman not wealthy enough to afford SideImaging, Power-Poles, etc.?

    We have started down a very dangerous path with this ruling, as although BASS states they hold no grudge against the A-Rig, it has always held true that they set the example for the rest of the bass fishing world. I would soon expect other tournament organizations and game and fish departments to follow suit, and once we start down this path, your favorite lure could be next on the banned list. Bass fishing is not about a level playing field, it is exactly the opposite. Every fisherman works hard to find the next hot lure, color, location, and technique that will give them an advantage for as long as they can keep it to themselves. This never-ending competition is what drives the sport into the future.

  • Keith Chapman of Gainesville, FL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – As with most things in our life today, the opinion of a few outweigh the desire of the many. This is a classic case that the use of this technique, due to its overwhelming ability to find and catch fish, should have been put to a silent vote by each member of the Elite Series this year.

    This would create a unique challenge to these anglers to find above-average schools of fish, knowing that each competitor has this tool in his arsenal. Really too bad that a few opinionated anglers get to make this call.

  • Gus Dowdy of Leeds, AL writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Very disappointing comments from Marty Stone, who I always had a great deal of respect and admiration for. First, Marty apparently failed to read the ruling in full. B.A.S.S. also banned the use of multiple baits on any other rig, such as a jig used with a dropshot, double fluke rig, etc. Second, why take a classless backhanded slap at B.A.S.S. after all the years you fished there? And yes, we all know why you're fishing FLW. It's because you couldn't compete anymore with the best anglers in the world, so you decided to fish the shakey-head tour.

    Looks like somebody had an axe to grind and used the A-rig ruling to beat his chest. Classless.

  • Charles Bowman of Kernersville, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – While I have alot of respect for Marty Stone, if he hasn't thrown the A-Rig yet, he has no room to discuss its impact on the sport. I say this because it is clear to me that Marty does not understand what this rig will do.

    I will give an example from here in Marty's home state, as I am from N.C. also. Badin Lake, on the Yadkin Chain, is the second lake below High Rock. Normally, in the winter months (say December to February), a good day's fishing there, when water temps are in the 40s, would be five to 10 bass, half over 14 inches, and maybe a 12-pound limit. Right now, guys are going there and catching 30 to 40 bass or more in a half day, all on the A-Rig. Why throw anything else?

    I'm just a single fisherman describing what I have done myself and what my fellow anglers tell me. Don't take my word for it. Ask the local tackle shop owners what is catching fish and what is selling. Call Fishing Fever (James) in High Point, K&J (Dave) in Jamestown, or the candy store in Salisbury.

    The point to this is that I have not bought any tackle except A-Rig tackle since October. Why? Because nothing else can compete with it.

    Why throw a jig, crankbait or whatever else and catch a few fish when you can throw the A-Rig and catch 'em all day?

    There's no doubt the A-Rig decreases, and in some cases eliminates, the skill it takes to catch a fish, and unless you're comparing skills of one angler to another, what good is a tournament? Who cares about a tournament unless we're comparing skills? If it's A-Rig over and over and over again, I lose interest in tournments very very quickly.

    I agree with Marty that we don't want to nip excitment and invention in the bud. That's true. But this is different. I'm not a very good bass fisherman, but I look pretty good at the end of the day when I throw the A-Rig! What seperates anglers from each other if we all can catch 'em by just chucking and winding?

  • Steve Brown of Oakland, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I see both sides, but I am disappointed B.A.S.S. didn't give it a chance before banning it from the Elites. I do think it put the hard-bait sponsored pros in a bad way, assuming they'd have to throw it to compete, but that's life. Change is hard for some, including the best. I will tell you the A-Rig does catch fish and good ones, but not all the time.

    I predict FLW will allow it this year, as well they should. If the bass population were hurt by this bait I can assure you we would all scream to have it outlawed. Most game and fish officials I've spoken to see no harm ... yet. They just haven't got enough data. None of us do.

    I have caught a lot of fish on this rig and have not hurt one single fish. If I'd have caught this many Carolina-rigging, I can assure you I'd have killed a few from swallowing the bait. What about treble hooks, bed-fishing, swallowing worm hooks, barbs? If the Elite Rules Committee pros want to be purist, then make everyone go barbless, allow five rods, no waypoints, all use 150-hp engines, no HydroWaves (Kriet and KVD), no pre-fishing, no bed-fishing.

    What is the motivation here – protecting fish or sponsors? With or without the Elites' approval, the A-rig gave bass fishing a much needed shot in the arm. Wintertime ramps are full and I don't see any devastating fish kills. Matter of fact, I've seen none at all. Be careful, all you pros who espouse purist attitudes (one bait, etc.). How one-on-one are you when you use insider info and your electronics alone are more valuable than the average fisherman's personal tackle universe.

  • Al Barkley of Nashville, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Unbelievable knee-jerk reaction once again from B.A.S.S. The unknown rules committee strikes again.

    If we followed current B.A.S.S logic in the past, we wouldn't have a plastic worm or a buzzbait or a ChatterBait, just to mention a few baits that changed bass fishing.

    Bad decision by the Elite Rules Committee.

  • Thomas Anderson of Hickory, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – B.A.S.S. cut out co anglers, now they say you can't fish the A-Rig. What's next, banning the working man from lakes they have a tournament on? These guys are no different than many local guys we fish with except for money. If our locals could fish 5 days in a row before tournaments, the pros wouldn't ever win. Oh wait, they already figured that out and cut out fishing less than the whole season!

  • Trevor Knight of Magnolia, DE writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Marty Stone hit the nail right on the head with this one. He is 100% right about this decision and issue, and it couldn't have been said any better. The industry really did need a shot in the arm, and the A-Rig provided that. It is not going to win every tournament, just as Marty pointed out that the A-rig will not be suited for every fishing situation. There is also zero data to back up the claim that it will hurt fisheries. Kudos to FLW for not giving in to the grumblings of a few veteran anglers.

  • Mark Goines of Shady Point, OK writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – The A-Rig should not be allowed in the Opens either, since several of the Elite anglers fish the Opens.

  • Steve Kirby of Columbus, OH writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Kudos to B.A.S.S. for finally stepping up to the plate, albeit in a somewhat less than expected manner. Hopefully, by the time this piece is posted, FLW will follow suit and do something as well. It will take the combined action of the two major players to open the door for the "little guys" to adopt sensible restrictions on multi-array rigs and hopefully get back to the original premise: one rod, one lure (not an array) in a true competitive atmosphere.

    The smoke and mirrors that some have cast on the use of umbrella rigs is disingenuous, to say the least! This action should give the impetus for statewide organizations and circuits that seek to maintain a professional competitive atmosphere to follow suit. For those that don't (and of course vice versa), let the "field" decide whether they want to pay to fish their events.

  • Marty Stone of Fayetteville, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Wow! B.A.S.S. never ceases to amaze me with what they fix, and still they never address their inability to attract and keep major sponsors (other than Toyota – thanks for staying around), truly grow the sport and their membership. So this is how we grow the sport? They ban a new technique? I have never caught a fish on an Alabama Rig and feel now because some knee-jerk reaction by anglers and people who truly do not understand how this industry grows, they are now putting more limitations on the growth. Any time a new technique is revealed (this one was found at an FLW event ... hmmm), then the industry gets a complete shot in the arm. New rods, new reels, new lines, all designed to help anglers perform this technique better.

    I have talked to a few anglers on the Rules Committee and it comes down to the fear that this thing will win all the tournaments. So are we scared of how it will dominate or change fishing? Or are those on the Committee scared they will have to adjust? Then I hear some of these same anglers say they fear the effect it will have on fisheries. My next question is, are we going to push to outlaw the fishing of live bait? Yes, I know we cannot use live bait in tournaments, but since we are so "concerned" about our fisheries, should we not ban the most effective thing an angler can use to harvest a fish? The recreational angler who uses live bait has the potential to be a lot more effective than any angler with an artificial bait. I get a silent response when I bring that up.

    My next point: Are we going to go back and ban a jig and dropshot hook, a shakey-head and a dropshot hook, a double or triple dropshot rig, a double Fluke, a Spook with four or more frontrunners, etc. Where do we stop banning and how far back do we go? Usually the next comment I get is there are too many exposed hooks on the A-Rig. Lets see, a crankbait has six exposed hooks and most good jerkbaits have nine exposed hook points. Ban?

    Then I take them back to the hurting fisheries argument. The thing in my opinion that has exposed more fish than ever is the creation of the chips we use in our GPS units. Why did we not ban them? These, in my opinion, have affected fisheries more than any lure (luckily mine is only an opinion and this wonderful device was not banned because it is creative and has done what it was designed to do - help anglers catch more fish more effectively and efficiently). So since we are "concerned" about the fisheries, should we not go back and ban these chips?

    When the fish are in the bushes and the water is high, throw the A-Rig. When the water is low and muddy, throw the A-Rig. When ... never mind, just throw the A-Rig.

    To the people who invented this five-headed monster, I commend you for your creativity in an industry that has always thrived because of inventions such as this. I realize this might not be the popular opinion of most (I have never been known for just going along with the crowd). I also try to limit doing this type of post unless I have something positive to say. But this left unchecked now allows an organization to affect who and how "creativity" is handled in our sport.

    Keep in mind the A-Rig and the ChatterBait were discovered in FLW tournaments. For those of you have asked why I am fishing FLW, I told you, the reasons will be apparent soon. Just another reason, and the list keeps getting longer. Thank goodness I am fishing a trail that just lets us go fish. Is the FLW trail a perfect trail? No. No trail is, but it is apparent which trail wants their anglers (pro and amateur alike) to just go fish.

    0h, to just go fish.

  • Trevor Trousil of Alexandria, MN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Glad to see they banned the A-Rig from the Classic and Elites. Being from Minnesota, at least when I watch Bassmasters on TV, the winner will be throwing a lure that I can use in my home state.

    In regard to the new rule on boats, do the people who are complaining realize that the people who actually fish the tour wanted it?

  • Lynn DeBerry Poplin of Lake Tillery, NC writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Of course, it is NASCAR all over again. How long before B.A.S.S starts producing and selling all lures used in these events? If you buy the same thing from the same company and everything is the same across the board, then I guess the "true" test of the angler will have to be proven.

    Build a faster car and the ones running in the back cry to slow them down. Someone whacks a big bag at a tournament and here we go, bring out the tissues and make the rules for those who couldn't win. Wonder how long before baseball puts a limit on the speed of a fastball to that all pitchers are throwing at the same speed?

  • Dave Rogalski of Orono, MN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I applaud B.A.S.S. for banning this type of fishing. I wish they would do the same for the HydroWave. That way it is truly one rod, one reel and one lure to catch fish.

  • John Southern of Corbin, KY writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – I support B.A.S.S.'s decision to ban the Alabama Rig in the Classic and Elite Series. I think it brings tournament bass fishing back to its beginning and that is one rod and reel with one lure.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – Funny how they would ban this lure, yet they have no problem keeping Wellman on their roster.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    RE: Elite A-Rig ban – B.A.S.S. is changing rules again in midstream. Years ago we installed a B.A.S.S. Tournament Advisory Board consisting of 12 selected B.A.S.S. members. We planned to change four of them at year's end and all we promised them was that we would meet every 3 months and we would listen to what they had to say about our tournaments. They were told they would have no responsibility to set rules, payouts, locations or any control over how we ran tournaments. We only promised to listen to what they had to offer, but we would control tournaments.

    At the end of the first year we dissolved the board because we never heard one thing that we could use. It was all about how to control the anglers who were winning. You cannot let the players run the game, That's why all sports have people in striped uniforms keeping it in control.

    B.A.S.S. needs to get back in control.

  • Dean Royce of Columbia, SC writes:

    In Dearal Rodgers' defense, I have seen him at many Sportsman's Warehouse promos. He is and will be a good spokesperson for that retailer – a good person with good values. He earned his place in stepping up and here in S.C., we wish him luck.

  • Tom Baldwin of Cedar HiIl, TN writes:

    RE: Alabama Rig – I keep hearing that the A-Rig is going to hurt our fisheries, but in most of the filmed bass tournaments, I've not seen more than one fish caught on the A-Rig at a time, but I've seen a crankbait with two bass on it. What's the difference?

    Granted, the A-Rig has the potential of hooking five bass (outside of Tennessee, where you could only hook three), but if the fish are eating the baits on the A-Rig and are not being snagged by it, I say let it be. Long live the A-Rig!

  • Syd Singer of Addison, TX writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – I would say this is a crock! They worry about sportsmanship and a level playing field, and yet they allow the use of the HydroWave unit – a biological communication device. Based on the text of Rule 8, everyone who has used one of these units should be DQd.

    The boat is just a tool, just like the anglers' rods and reels, so I would assume that everyone must start using the same equipment, baits, electronics, etc.

  • Tim Cody of Benton, TN writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – Well, first they eliminate the co-angler format because every now and then they got outfished. Now they are whining about boat options. Why not make it mandatory everyone fishes out of a 21-foot boat with the exact same horsepower, they can use no more than 40 gallons of gas per day, they can only carry six rods and one tackle box. That should equal the playing field. Good grief!

  • Scott Hausman of Sandy, UT writes:

    RE: Rodgers' Sportsman's Warehouse deal – Nothing against Dearal, he is a fine angler and person. But come on, Sportsman's Warehouse! Where is your loyalty to the local anglers? Several Utah natives with excellent public-speaking skills, marketing savvy and yes, fishing skills, need sponsors. At least go with West Coast anglers if you are going to spend your cash.

    Salt Lake City native Roy Hawk is as loyal and skilled as they come, not to mention Utah anglers Rhett Fornoff and Scott Nielson and triple-A anglers like Mike Lavalle and Wayne Crowder. Oh, but wait, maybe they can get sponsored by Scheels now that they are opening more stores in the West?

    There is plenty of local talent, and the execs at Sportsman's Warehouse need to pay attention to their Western roots, where a majority of their stores (and customers) are.

  • Jason Naumuk of Clayton, NC writes:

    It is expensive to fish pro, I understand that. If you don't have the money to compete then you should find another way to make a living. I love to offshore fish but can't afford to do that. Is someone going to buy me a boat? Or I could compete on the Elite tour if the entry fee was only $150 per tournament like my local trail. Are they going to drop the entry fee to allow me to compete?

    This is a problem with America. If you don't have the money to play the game, don't play it. Everyone can't be a professional fisherman. I hate to dash everyone’s dreams here but this is a rich mans game at the Elite level.

  • Al Barkley of Nashville, TN writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – Let me see now, a number of Elite pros requested this no boat-switching rule and B.A.S.S. made the change. Would this be two Elite pros? Three? More than five? All but one?

    How many Elite pros does it take to make a rule change? Apparently it's just a number somewhere between one and a hundred.

    Is B.A.S.S. just a management group for the pros? Can't they make a rule without saying it was requested by a number of Elite pros? It's like they say, "Hey, it wasn't our idea, they wanted it."

    I'm just a fan, so it doesn't matter to me if they fish out of a tube. I'm just looking forward to the next level-the-playing-field rule change.

  • Elton Luce, Jr. of Brookeland, TX writes:

    RE: Bassmaster Opens – Make the rules the same as the Elites. If you get there, you will have it down pat for following the rules. Can't believe B.A.S.S. is allowing a cheater to fish the circuit after looking at the field .It is a discredit to all co-angers and Elites alike who follow the rules.

  • Chris Waguespack of Bayou Gauche, LA writes:

    I am very glad to see B.A.S.S. make the "no boat-switching" rule because in the past, tournament-altering decisions were made directly due to anglers using these boats. In 2009, a day was cancelled due to windy conditions and the fact that some anglers were using smaller rigs played a part in the decision. I remember Alton Jones not being happy with the decision.

  • Tim Peek of Sharpsburg, GA writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – It seems that people are a little confused. B.A.S.S. is not banning small/jet boats, they are just saying you must fish out of the same boat all year long. If you think a small boat gives you an advantage, just man up and fish out of one for the entire season. Next year you would most likely be working with me instead of fishing.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Tennessee A-Rig clarifications – Thank you for posting this video. Very informative.

  • Paul Ryan of Naples, FL writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – Many on the Elite Trail can't afford a second rig. Its not always about doing your homework – if you don't have access to a second boat because of financial reasons, how can you compete at certain tournaments? I keep hearing how bass fishing is turning into a "rich man's" sport. This is one way to level the playing field, not unfairly hindering others.

  • Ed Whaley of Montgomery, TX writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – Great changes. Why will they not make the rules the same for the Opens. Then when people jump up they're closer to being ready. It's the only sport I know of that rules are different. Enforce the off-limits in the Opens.

  • Greg Harris of Chelsea, AL writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – Hey Dean, be careful what you ask for when comparing B.A.S.S. to NASCAR. This limitation is just another move that will soon make pro fishing similar to the cookie-cutter crap that NASCAR has now become. Next thing you know B.A.S.S. will be limiting everyone to the exact same set of tackle in the boat throughout the tournament.

    I believe that racing is about so much more than just driving, but now that NASCAR has essentially given everyone the exact same car, it has been reduced to nothing more than a driving competition. In turn, the more rules put in place that are intended to "level the playing field," the more fishing is reduced to cookie-cutter crap. The opportunity to win based on one's ingenuity is being eliminated.

    When I hear that a rule is put into place to "level the playing field," that typically means to me that they have put a rule in place to protect those who are too lazy or too dumb to go the extra mile necessary to gain an advantage over their competition.

  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – If you don't like Dean Rojas' NASCAR comparison in equipment, let's get closer to the point: Now everyone will be performing on the same track!

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – I think this is a great rule, especially for the regular part of the season. The game is expensive enough and B.A.S.S. is not saying what boat you can fish out of – just that you have to use the same boat or the equivalent in all Elite events.

    All the pros have made some friends over the years and say one found this spot on the last day of practice (wasn't told about it even) that had 3 inches of water in a path that even polling wouldn't get through, but he had a friend who lived near there with an 18-foot aluminum he could pull by tossing a grapple anchor to get in there and the mother lode was there. He could just call and ask and a boat would be brought to him. I've read where it happened before. That's why I think it is a good rule, not so much even that they could switch between events.

    I don't see a problem if they wanted to let the Classic be "use what you want" because everyone would have the opportunity to set that up without a lot of expense. After all, it is a marketing bonanza at the Classic and next year and in the future, if the manufacturers want it so they might be able to showcase an aluminum boat, petition B.A.S.S. and it might happen.

    But you have a choice I think between 18 to 22 feet and glass or metal with a motor by approved rating for the boat up to 250 horses. Seems fair and the most cost-effective. So pick your pleasure, guys.

  • Guy Eaker Sr. of Cherryville, N.C. writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – If you can't catch them out of a big boat, go fish a pond.

  • Jason Naumuk of Clayton, NC writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – To Dean Rojas: If you want to be like NASCAR, then maybe all of the electronics should be the same and you should fish with the same rods and reels. I think this is a stupid rule. Everyone has the some chance to fish out of an aluminum when they want. Seems like these guys who find these special spots do a little extra scouting and are now being penalized for doing hard work.

    It's the way our country is going – make everyone the same. Shame on you, B.A.S.S.

  • Steve Brown of Oakland, TN writes:

    No boat-switching – If B.A.S.S.; seeks uniformity, why stop at this? I think they should all fish from the same boat, electronics, engine, etc. like MLF has done. No waypoints, no pre-fishing.

  • Terry Jackson of Flowery Branch, Ga writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – What a crock, not allowing boat-switching and calling it leveling the playing field. The most unlevel part of the playinng field is the amount of information bought by some of the anglers. Until that is rectified, the playing field will never be level. All this does it take away from a thinking-type angler, the type who might find low-pressure bass on their own and whip those who bought their info.

  • Andy Williamson of Lake Andes, SD writes:

    RE: No boat-switching – I am very disappointed in hearing about this new rule, just as I was in 2005 about the FLW "prop-driven only" rule. Hey, if an angler does their research through intensive map study and on- the-water exploration and finds the mother lode in skinny, remote water, more power to them! This rule will remove a lot of fun and excitement for both the competitor and the bass tournament fan.

    As a possible compromise, I might accept a rule stating that the same brand of boat be used the entire year. I sure hope the Bassmaster Opens do not adopt this rule!

  • Cliff Peterson of Canton, KS writes:

    I have dinged Harold Sharp myself on here before for some of his comments (mainly the ones I thought ran counter to preserving the conservation ethic). However, I thought his last post, where he listed the things he hated to see happening to the sport of bass fishing was specific, to the point, and I did not have a problem with his stating his opinions on the subject.

    I think Todd Martin's analogy about Dance, Parker, and Martin is a poor one because they long ago shifted the main way they make money from the fishing industry to TV show production, not from bass tournaments.

  • David carter of Indianapolis, IN writes:

    RE: Alabama Rig – It should be banned. Only one lure at a time. There is too much meat-hogging now.

  • Randy McBride of New Market, AL writes:

    FLW or B.A.S.S. owe anglers nothing as far as sponsorship goes. If you cannot help a company increase sales, they do not need to waste money on sponsorships. Tournament bass fishing is a great sport. If you love it, continue to play the game. Both organizations pay back more than they receive from anglers in entry fees. Anything else is a bonus.

  • Jeff Mitchell of Chicago, IL writes:

    Can we please stop the name-calling, yelling and arguing back and forth? I come here to get away. I fish to get away. I enjoy professional fishing and like watching and following it. I have my favorites (go Alton!), but seriously, why do we have to go back and forth over who hates who and how much things have changed?

    Things change constantly. Every day at work I, as a manager, work on changing things to make them better, faster, more efficent, enjoyable - a better product. That is a given in life. I don't want to have to give up coming to websites about fishing because they've become the essence of hate.

    I stopped fishing in the Federation during the infighting and haven't been back since. I won't stop fishing, but I will stop coming to sites such as BassFan to avoid this back and forth.

  • Carl D. Norris, Jr. of Hodgenville, Ky. writes:

    RE: Snider's close calls – I just can't understand the politics behind gaining a major sponsorship with FLW. Kevin is the best fisherman I know, not only because of his skill, but because of the person he is. When I was growing up, I always thought that I wanted to be a professional fisherman, but after seeing the struggles of what an excellent fisherman such as Kevin has to go through to do what he loves, I have now changed my mind.

    My fear is that more and more people will start to realize this and the sport that we love will suffer because of it. It really hurts me to see some of these guys out there with these major sponsors, but they are never in the Top 10. Maybe they just act crazy or they are really good talkers, but their fishing skill doesn't represent the sponsorships they receive.

    FLW really needs to take notice of what they have right under their nose. I have never met a more honest, hard-working and just all-around good guy than Kevin. The only thing that I can hope for is someday, before it is too late, someone will take notice and help him out to pursue his dream and show others that the common, everyday guy can make it in this sport. Maybe this way, the younger generation can still have hope that dreams can happen and keep this sport that we love so much alive.

  • Todd Winters of Troy, NY writes:

    Is it me, or is everything that comes from Harold Sharp sound like sour grapes? I think I may have fiqured it out. This sport has moved on without Ray Scott. Air time is more than ever, pros are household names, purses are larger so a person can live, and it was done without the almighty Ray Scott. It is funny how the old-school pros are still involved like Dance, Parker, Martin and they never have too many negative things to say.

    See, I think that B.A.S.S. and FLW have made this into something bigger than you guys ever could, and this train is heading to hopefully something that is great in the future, and I think you're mad because you were not invited to come aboard.

    P.S. – Love or hate Ike, all of us weekend anglers would die to do half of what he has accomplished.

  • Archie Wilson Jr. of Maynardville, TN writes:

    RE: Harold, Ike, etc. – “Without promotion, something terrible happens – nothing!”
    P.T. Barnum

  • Bob Agee of Kingwood, TX writes:

    RE: Chad Bickle – It's got to be Ike.

  • Wallace Calloway of Toledo Bend, LA writes:

    Yes, Mr. Sharp is very opinionated and negative in his statements. However, Iaconelli absolutely sets the wrong example for young, impressionable fishermen. There is no justification for temper tantrums for the camera that result in breaking rods, throwing equipment into the lake, and especially, disrespecting the American flag. Unfortunately he is not alone in his behavior, just the most visible. Luckily the larger percentage of pros are class acts and do set the proper example.

    Regardless of your talents you do have a certain amount of responsibility for your image. You are a role model, good or bad. My one question for Iaconelli is, Would you tolerate that type of behavior at home from your children if they got mad and threw a laptop?

  • Al Odom of Chapin, SC writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – I fished with Kevin as a co-angler at Okeechobee a couple of years ago. He is a first-class guy who really has a passion for what he is doing. I wish him all the best!

  • Mike Bradley of Morehead, Ky writes:

    As someone else who remembers B.A.S.S. before McKinnis and the clowns, I believe Mr. Sharp is right on the money.

  • Dorleen Garrett of Shepherdsville, KY writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – I would think that sponsors would jump at the chance to have someone as consistent as Kevin Wirth representing them. He is genuinely a very knowledgeable angler and an all-around good guy. He's great with kids and spectators, which is what the industry needs, not some of the egotistical loudmouths who get all the TV time.

    Sorry to see him hang it up, but bet he is very successful in whatever he does in the future.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    Mr. Sharp, I believe I can understand where you are coming from. I also understand that things evolve, but that does not mean it has to change to be "politically correct" (I never did like that term – it rings of communism.) I will say that from the Federation viewpoint, things have gone beyond what it was started for. It does not appear to be a grassroots organization anymore.

  • Ed Walker of Pinson, AL writes:

    Harold Sharp, do you sit around all day and look for ways to complain about the sport, or do you enjoy the negative feedback that you get each time you type one of your tirades? I agree that B.A.S.S. has made some questionable decisions since Jerry and his gang bought it, but you're way off base when it comes to some of the anglers' behavior!

    When is the last time you have been to a tournament that Ike participated in? I was at a few last year and even witnessed him on the water several times during a tournament at the Potomac that i was fishing in. He is awesome! He is genuine. He is that same energetic, charismatic wildman you see on the TV shows and the fans love it. I saw him signing autographs and he had kids in his boat, etc. All of the rest of us were worried about getting new line on for tommorow and getting the boat ready for the next day while he spent time with the fans.

    Is he different than most of the fishermen back in Harold's time with B.A.S.S.? You bet. So are Gerald Swindle, Skeet and David Dudley. The one thing they have in common is personality. In general, most fans love it when these guys are asked questions and give passionate, emotional, off-the-cuff answers that give insight to the true emotion of the moment.

    Some guys catch fish, some guys sell product, only a few can do both. It takes a lot of charisma to sustain yourself in the world of B.A.S.S.

  • Paul Ryan of Naples, FL writes:

    I think Harold had better stop reading. I liked the NBA of the '80s much better than today's game, but guess what? Things change, whether I like it or not.

  • Bill McDonaugh of Thorndale, PA writes:

    I could not agree more with Ike's statement. I have read very few positive comments from Harold Sharp. He has to remember the time he posts about, there was only B.A.S.S. They now have lots of competition for the anglers from FLW and other organizations.

    As far as his comments about Ike, he is way off base. Ike has done as much or more than any other angler fishing today to promote bass fishing at all levels. You only have to be at a tournament when Ike is fishing to see the promotion he brings to the sport.

  • Scott D. Putnam of Brainard, NY writes:

    B.A.S.S. was sold by Ray to make money, bought by ESPN to make money, and sold again for what? To make money.

    Let it go, Harold. Times change, things happen and yesterday's home runs don't win today's ball games.

  • Larry Holland of Murfreesboro, TN writes:

    Harold, Do you really think that your comments and opinions are helping or hurting the B.A.S.S. family? It seems to me that you carry some harsh feelings toward B.A.S.S. I hope all true members of B.A.S.S. realize that Harold is all negative to anything that has to do with the organization. Harold could find somthing wrong with a 6-pound smallmouth. Man, I would hate to have to buy him a gift.

    Give B.A.S.S. a chance.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Ike is right:

    I hate to see professional bass anglers portrayed as clowns on TV.
    I hate to see professional bass anglers quitting the sport.
    I hate to see the cost of fishing equipment going out of sight.
    I hate to see B.A.S.S. Federations leaving B.A.S.S.
    I hate to see the B.A.S.S. membership in decline.
    I hate to read all the negative comments on BassFan about B.A.S.S.
    I hate to read Bassmaster magazine and never see Bob Cobb mentioned.
    I hate to see Ray Scott's name on the bottom of the Bassmaster listings.
    I hate to read about B.A.S.S. pioneers like Jack Wingate and Ray Murski passing on.
    I hate to read about longtime B.A.S.S. sponsors endorsing other tours.
    I hate to think about where dedicated B.A.S.S. pros are going to find money to continue the B.A.S.S. trail.
    I hate to look in the Chattanooga paper for anything about B.A.S.S.
    I hate to read about B.A.S.S. pros offering co-anglers money to break rules.
    I hate to look at the cost of fishing equipment in the Bass Pro Shops catalog.
    I hate to read the list of Bassmaster Classic qualifiers and only recognize a few names.
    I hate to remember that three U.S. Presidents have helped weigh bass at the Bassmaster Classic before the clowns arrived.
    I hate to see what hype did for our great sport.
    I hate that B.A.S.S. and FLW never tried to organize the sport together like baseball, football and basketball did.

    Ike is right – I hate that this is the way it turned out.

  • Darren Wolf of Dallas, TX writes:

    1. 1968 was 44 years ago. Things change. Ray sold B.A.S.S. New owners paid for the right to do it their way and nobody bought B.A.S.S. in order to destroy the sport.

    2. Three television shows that you don't like and that are not affilliated with B.A.S.S. did not destroy any great sport.

    3. B.A.S.S. is alive and due to technology invented since 1968 (the Internet), reaches even more than the 600,000 people you speak of.

    4. Public interest in bass fishing is stimulated, as hoped for in 1968.

    5. There is still a world championship as Ray envisioned in 1968.

    6. Pro fishing is at least as popular as bowling, billiards and boat racing.

    7. The EPA was created in 1970, so there is now no need for bass clubs to be on call and ready to haul polluters into court.

    8. Iaconelli is a master angler who loves the sport. He is also a world champion who has stimulated the interest of the public, just as Ray hoped for in 1968. This man came up through the Federation, worked hard and made it to the top. He has written a book and had a TV show designed promote fishing. This is not the definition of a clown, but a definition of the American dream.

  • Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, NJ writes:

    Harold Sharp is a hater!

  • Scott Wall of Millbrook, AL writes:

    I don't think everyone is blaming Jerry and his guys for anything in regard to B.A.S.S. The blame clearly lies on the shoulders of ESPN. They ruined B.A.S.S. and the sport of bass fishing with untimely and ill-planned events, bad top-down decision-making, failure to listen to the customer or people who worked at B.A.S.S. for years and B-grade programming to fill time slots and increase mass.

  • Nick Neves of Brooklyn, MI writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – Sad, sad story. I am happy to hear that the suspect was caught so quickly. I can't watch the tourney where Brandon won on his dad's waters the same. The weigh-in on brought tears to my eyes. What a special family. God bless you all.

  • Jeff Walker of Cambridge, ON writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – Sounds like the kind of man that you don't get to meet very often, and when you do, you become a better person for having known them.


  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Arrest in McMillan case – If he is the guilty one, then I hope he suffers the full penalty of the law. There is no reason for what was done.

  • Melvin Jennings of Rustburg, VA writes:

    B.A.S.S. calls the top level the Elite Series. It is only elite with respect to anglers' wealth, not abilities. Like many, I enjoy pulling for KVD and others on the trail, but like many I am disappointed when I see the list of those fishing the Elite trail each year.

    B.A.S.S. should provide, beside each angler's name, how each qualified. I really wish the Elite trail would become elite with respect to angling abilities, not personal/family wealth. It should be a no-entry trail with very specific qualifying criteria. The field should be set through those criteria only. If you only have 25, 40 or 50 who qualify and accept invitation, so be it. This would be a true Elite field based on abilities alone.

  • J.P. Prouty of Vero Beach, FL writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – Jimmy was a great guy!! I had the pleasure of fishing events (and usually getting my butt kicked) with him. I even had the pleasure, the first year I fished, of sharing a boat with Brandon in a BFL on Okeechobee and you're right, Jimmy was a great father.

    I just woke up to head to the lake (Okeechobee) and saw they found his killer. Hopefully God will judge him accountable for his actions.

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    The bashing of B.A.S.S. and Jerry McKinnis continue. I just don't understand it. Harold, the three items you referenced were obtained, with the exception of being as big as golf. My beloved sport will never be as big as the PGA if both the large organizations consolidated, even. In regard to the member numbers, it was a lot easier to be king when there wasn't a queen.

    After Ray sold B.A.S.S. (are you blaming him?) to the Sevier group (are you blaming them?), they sold it to ESPN (their fault also?). You know more B.A.S.S. history since you lived some of it, but the good old days always go away. Now you place all the blame on Jerry and the new ownership and that is wrong.

    I as a co-Angler disliked it when they made the Elite Series no longer available for me to fish it. Their rules, and it is good for the Elite anglers as they can focus better and all that is associated with co-anglers they don't have to worry about. This will stay and I certainly understand why. If you no longer like B.A.S.S., move on.

    Myself, I wear the hat or the patch or decal on my truck every time I go anywhere almost. I am proud to be a member. I am not ashamed of what someone else did. I am not ashamed of my membership for anything B.A.S.S. did either, under any ownership. All of the owners have given their time to try to help the sport.

    I don't fault anyone for problems with the organization because there has never been a large group that didn't have issues.

    I thank Ray for starting it, Helen and crew for keeping it going, ESPN for building it so more could see it and I thank Jerry, Don and Jim for buying it to try to rebuild, regrow or just plain try, even. Some of us are behind you and just over a year is no time at all to work magic. You all might not be able to by others' standards, but thanks for the effort because I know we still have B.A.S.S. today. There is no such thing as perfect after all.

    But if we try to help B.A.S.S. instead of trying to bash it, it will survive. Take a kid fishing, teach more conservation of our resources. Help B.A.S.S. instead of hurting it.

  • Jim Liner of Montgomery, AL writes:

    You tell 'em, Harold. Our beloved B.A.S.S. is becoming a joke.

  • Todd Langford of Ashburn, VA writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Can't blame him. I doubt very seriously he has lost his desire to compete. He does deserve better from a sport that he has promoted and done well in for 25 years.

    Let's all be honest, it has been a rich man's game for a while now. That's why Z21s are $70K and rods and reels are up to $700 each (see Daiwa). Inflation has something to do with it, but mainly just greed from the manufacturers. Eventually it will kill one of the big fishing organizations.

  • Michael Sledden of Aurora, IL writes:

    If you are a life member of B.A.S.S. and got a renewal notice, get with B.A.S.S. and let them know. I posted on the B.A.S.S. Facebook page and they confirmed things for me. My renewal for some reason was sent to my work address – not sure how that happened, but the system then didn't recognize me as a life member, but it was fixed by B.A.S.S.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    In 1968, when Ray Scott organized the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), he posted a list of B.A.S.S. purposes in the first issue of BassMaster Magazine. Here are some of them:

    1. To organize the bass anglers of America.

    2. To stimulate public awareness of bass fishing as a major sport. To elevate our sport to a place of prominence with golf, bowling, boat racing and billiards.

    8. To present national championship B.A.S.S. fishing tournaments. These B.A.S.S. tournaments will bring together the nations most dedicated bass fishermen. The publicity derived from these tournaments will prove their value in stimulating public interest in our bass angling sport.

    I just finished watching the video on BassFan about Chad Bickle and the Last Man Standing, then I turned on the TV and watched Charlie Moore for the first and last time. I also remember trying to watch Ike on City Limits Fishing once. I also remember Fish Fishburne at the B.A.S.S. weigh-ins before that clown they now have.

    I also remember how years ago we spent hours trying to get TV involved in our sport until ESPN came aboard and Jerry McKinnis and the TV cameras took charge. At that time B.A.S.S. had over 600,000 worldwide members and a very strong Federation of Bass Clubs ready to haul polluters into court to protect our waters.

    We got our wish. TV arrived and we now have Chad Bickle, Charlie Moore, Ike, Jerry and MLF in the wings, run by the guy who made ESPN famous in fishing.

    It's time to change the name and forget Ray's purposes designed to make bass fishing a great sport. The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) should now be the Bass Anglers Stupid Stunts (B.A.S.S.).

    Thanks to Jerry, ESPN and a bunch of clowns for destroying a great sport built by 600,000 dedicated bass fishermen.

  • Ron Pike of Wellington, FL writes:

    I was fishing a club tournament out of Belle Glade. It was foggy, so we got delayed for an hour in the morning. We found fish on a short stretch not far from takeoff, so we ran the livewell all day without starting the big motor. The battery went dead.

    This yellow Ranger comes by and I ask for jumper cables. He says, "I have a battery." He gives it to me and says to return it to Slim's.

    Later on his wife Tina picks it up at the ramp. It was none other than Jimmy McMillan.

  • Dustin Daggett of Burlington, KS writes:

    I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jimmy and his sons while I lived in Florida. All of the McMillians are great fishermen, but more importantly they are just plain great people to be around. Jimmy will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to all Jimmy's family and friends.

  • Remi DeMatteo of Braithwaite, LA writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Really? Nate Wellman? Really? And the rest of the "pros" are okay with this?

  • Bryan Heaberlin of Deland, FL writes:

    I never had the opportunity to meet Jimmy McMillan, although I have heard about him many times. The news of his murder saddens me beyond belief. My condolences to his family and I hope the right man runs into his killer.

  • Bill McElroy of Waterford, MI. writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – B.A.S.S. considers a known, admitted rules violator to be an Elite professional angler? Seriously? Who would've ever thought that the organization that put ethics at the very top of their ideals list would eventually replace it with "ability to pay entry fees." Extremely disappointed with the new B.A.S.S. business model!

  • Robert Karbas Jr. of Wake Forest, NC writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – Such a tragedy. Prayers for Jimmy's family and friends. May the Lord hold you in his arms.

  • Kevin Nichols of Centreville, AL writes:

    RE: VRX grabs Horton – Congratulations, Jamie. You've definitely earned this opportunity!

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Kevin, I hate to read about this. as you will be missed on tour. I know when we fished the "Gale at Harris," well, you had your drive. You fished as your saying here on BassFan said: "I do it because I love it."

    I hope you get that drive back for the Classic, but I know from the twists in life that there are times when we have to do what we need to do. I hope you return someday as you were always helpful and fun to be around, but best of luck with any venture you ride.

  • Dorleen Garrett of Shepherdsville, KY writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – I've followed Kevin and his fishing career since he first came on the scene and he is truly a great angler and really good guy. However, I have to agree that the sport has been going downhill since Ray Scott left the helm. Unless they get back to treating all the anglers with respect instead of a few favorites, the sport will kill itself.

  • John Gaulke of Ithaca, NY writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Nowhere in the piece does Wirth say anything about the sport "owing him something." His point is that even when finishing consistently at a high level and qualifying for multiple Classics, without at least one great sponsor you can't make a go at the Elite Series.

    There isn't enough money. It's still a lot of stress for him to have to get a new boat and sponsor every year.

    Even on the Opens level - unless you finish in the Top 6 or 7 positions consistently, you aren't making much money when you take into account entry fees, boat costs, gas, lodging, time off of work, etc. You're better off competing as a non-boater.

    Read his earlier profile on BassFan. He had a lot of passion for the sport. It's burned him out.

  • Ivan Sanchez of Greenwood, IN writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Nate Wellman? Come on, B.A.S.S. This is the cream of the crop, top level of professional bass fishing and you have absolutely tarnished the whole series by allowing Wellman to compete. By your own rules, you punished Wellman and now you are satisfied to look the other way just because a person is willing to plunk down the money.

    Wirth, Wolak and Thliveros are jumping ship at the right time. McKinnis and Co. are more in it for the money than ESPN ever was. Jerry, I treasure my copies of the Fishin' Hole and I even reference them quite often, but now I'm putting them in the trash.

  • Archie Wilson Jr. of Maynardville, TN writes:

    RE: Major League Fishing – Ultimate Match Fishing is a great format on a channel mostly offered to the high-end cable/satellite packages. Therefore, very few people have seen the excitement of UMF.

    Nothing wrong with free enterprise, it used to be called "the American way." If Mr. Duckett can produce a better product in MLF, then so be it. However, if MLF makes it, let’s give credit where credit is due.

  • Phil Morris of Saluda, SC writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Sure hate to hear the news that Kevin Wirth will not fishing the Elites for the 2012 season. Maybe Early Times will sponsor him again after a year off, if that's possible. Going to miss him this year.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Very disappointing to see Wellman's name on the roster. I've been thinking, a man could make $30,000-$40,000 a year selling him a big bass. Not bad for 10 days of "work."

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Hate to see Kevin move on. A nice guy and he was always helpful the couple of times I talked with him, whether in person or on the phone. Now I need to find a replacement for him on my fantasy team. Good luck in your new ventures!

  • Mike Brown of Kettering, OH writes:

    RE: Chad Bickle – No doubt about it, the character was portraying Iaconelli. And he played him well.

  • Melvin Jennings of Rustburg, VA writes:

    The Elite trail should be "Elite." It should be a no-entry-fee trail. With the monies B.A.S.S. takes in from sponsors, cities where tournaments are held, advertisers and TV rights, etc., this does not seem unreasonable.

    Cut the field to 50, only the Top 25 return the next year, plus 15 from the Opens. The remaining 10 can qualify through criteria B.A.S.S. establishes. This would allow those not in the upper 1% income range and would bring new talent to the mix.

    If you call it "Elite," make it elite anglers, not elite with respect to wealth.

  • John Curry of Atlanta, GA writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – All of us at JDC Marketing in Atlanta are certainly proud to have had the opportunity to work with Kevin over the past 6 years. Kevin has been a been a proven top competitor and brand ambassador for the Early Times brand. We sincerely hope that Kevin will return to the Elite Series at some point and know that there will be a lot of cheering fans for him at this year's Classic.

  • Brian Jones of Boones Mill, VA writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Nate Wellman on the Elite roster? Really? B.A.S.S., what the heck are you doing?

  • Ed Walker of Pinson, AL writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster - Nate Wellman! Are you kidding me! I am not sure that I could have possibly read the article that said that Nate is on the Elite roster. Well, I did read it again, and it does say that the most blatant cheater of 2011 is going to be able to fish in the "most prestigious" B.A.S.S. fishing organization. Give me a break, Jerry McKinnis! You're on your way to alienating thousands of loyal members of B.A.S.S.

    I will tell you one thing – if they do indeed let Nate in the tournaments, I won't be participating in any B.A.S.S. functions anymore. I have always felt that FLW tournaments were run much better and with more integrity. I can almost guarantee you one thing – FLW won't be allowing Nate to "cheat" (I mean compete) in any tournaments this year, and hopefully ever again.

    Jerry, I have been a fan for over 30 years, but I really thought you would guide B.A.S.S. down a better road than I have seen the past year.


  • Charles Bowman of Kernersville, NC writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – If Kevin Wirth deems that the Elite Series is not financially feasible, I think that says a lot. If a 12-time Classic qualifier, Top-25 AOY angler year in and year out can't make money in the sport, the sport is a farce.

    I think Kevin made a wise move.

  • John Dell of Lake City, FL writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Wirth is a smart man. It's over for B.A.S.S., and unless you are one of the lucky 24 in MLF, what's the point? He is making the right choice for his future.

  • Karl Zainitzer of Herrin, IL writes:

    MLF is going to be cool to watch! Anything Duckett touches turns into a winner.

  • John A. Argese of Sayreville, NJ writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – Sorry to see you go, Kevin. Best of luck with your future opportunities.

  • Tim Brown of Ridge Top, TN writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – I feel this is just a sign of things to come. If you don't have sponsorship, you're not going to be fishing the big events (B.A.S.S./FLW). Fishing will always be there for Kevin to enjoy, just not at the level he was used to fishing.

    This is not a cheap sport! A lot of us weekend warriors used to have the dream of making it to Kevin's level, but you know what? I don't have that desire anymore, especially after seeing it hit some of the pros the way that it has over the last couple of years. This is turning into a rich man's sport and if you don't have the means to fish to make it to the next level, you won't be fishing the Elites or FLW Tour anytime soon.

    Good luck, Kevin!

  • Corey Gue of Kenova, WV writes:

    RE: Wirth bows out – This story really gets to me on a couple different levels. Kevin seems to act like the sport or the bass fishing community owes him something for just being a consistent angler. I personally feel that for someone to say they don't want to fish in or don't care if they fish in the Bassmaster Classic, has either lost the love of the sport or never really had a true passion for the sport and what that tournament means to the sport and the fishermen that uphold it.

  • Mike Baskett of Salem, OR writes:

    RE: 2012 Elite roster – Too bad B.A.S.S. decided to accept Nate Wellman's money for 2012, or ever again. Let's all hope they are the only ones who accept any of it. Poor move on the part of B.A.S.S.

  • Dan Isenhart of Fairview, TN writes:

    I also received a renewal notice in the mail from B.A.S.S. I am a Life Member. It must be a mistake. Maybe things are getting mixed up in the move back to Alabama.

  • Steve Earle of St. Peters, MO writes:

    RE: Chad Bickle – Someone has seen Ike ... and Skeet's hair, maybe

  • Paul Ryan of Naples, FL writes:

    Jimmy McMillan was a great fisherman and a great guy. He was always a humble, down-to-earth guy even though he dominated tournaments on Okeechobee. All you have to do is look at his kids to see what kind of a man he was. God bless the family.

  • Matt Spencer of Ocala, FL writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – My prayers go out to Brandon and the family. Jimmy was a hero to many and a legend on the water.

  • Tim Gay of Wendell, NC writes:

    You guys have focused on all of the big names in the Elite Series as far as who can do what in the upcoming Classic. The name you have not focused on is Dustin Wilks from my home state. That is all right. Dustin doesn't look for big articles about how good he is, he just goes out and fishes consistently. He is sitting at No. 19 in last year's points and you have focused on guys all around him. I believe he is a force to be acknowledged and he has the capabilities to win the Classic. He is due and when your time comes, it is your time. Watch out – the mild-mannered, quiet, hard-working Dustin might show all the guys what he is made of.

  • Jeffrey Ware of Culpeper, VA writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – Our hearts and prayers go out to Brandon and the entire McMillan family.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – What a shame. Condolences to his family.

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    RE: Jimmy McMillan killed – R.I.P. Jimmy, and may your family be watched over with love for all their days. My condolences.

All Topics   January 2012

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