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All Topics   January 2013
  • Don Watts of Nichols, S.C. writes:

    RE: Resurgence of Lew's – I am a strong supporter of the old product of which I continue to fish with my pistol-grip black rod given out at a tournament on Lake Lanier in 1973. If Lynn has anything to do with the company, it will be a winner. I can't wait for the new products to go on sale.

  • Bob Lorentz of Phoenix, AZ writes:

    RE: Resurgence of Lew's – I had several Lew's reels and the one thing I liked about them is that it was very easy to change out the spools. As a back-seat angler, I was able to make use of this without having to carry extra rods. After speaking with my angler in the front of the boat, I could make my adjustments according to how he was going to fish by changing to the pound test line on my extra spool. I think that creating a reel with an extra spool and marketing it to the co-angler would be an excellent marketing tool and wish there was a company that would lean to the co-anglers in their marketing efforts.

  • Rick McCarty of Bourbonnais, IL writes:

    RE: Horton's show sponsor – Great choice, Motor Mate! This show is awesome.

  • Alex Posey of Gainesville, GA writes:

    RE: Megabass of America – It took them long enough. They should have been in America 5 years ago when the initial Vision 110 boom happened. They still have potential to be huge (like Strike King) over here. It will be interesting how they structure their marketing approach. The biggest issue with them in the American tackle market has been accessibility and price point – maybe they will solve that with the move. Love Megabass!

  • Ron Risenhoover of Lufkin, TX writes:

    RE: Classic field analysis – Albert Collins is a very consistent angler. He is not afraid to fish deep or shallow. Although known as a top Sam Rayburn fisherman, he has experience with other lakes through the Federation series. He is not afraid to go deep and has the patience to remain there if the bite is slow. If there is a shallow bite, he is also well capable to capitalize on it.

    He is a very well-rounded angler and has learned a lot from his local team partner, Harold Allen. Very strong with crankbaits and soft plastics (T-rig and C-Rig), but his main strength is his patience and self-confidence.

  • Rick McCarty of Bourbonnais, IL writes:

    RE: Horton's high school event – This is gonna be a sweet deal. Can't believe the kids aren't crawling out of the woodwork.

  • Jeff Mitchell of Riverside, IL writes:

    $47,995 for a new boat. Wow. Maybe I'm silly, but everything is getting priced out of my league, and I'm fairly well-educated with an amazing job. How do companies plan on staying in business? Even a "small" boat is $20k anymore.

  • Chris McCall of Brookeland, TX writes:

    RE: Classic field report – Albert Collins could really be a dark horse at Grand. He's a very good grinder, and a very patient fisherman. Excellent at fishing deep and slow. Watch out for him – we always do here at Rayburn.

  • Bradley Stringer of Huntington, TX writes:

    RE: Classic field report – Albert Collins could be a surprise. He has been a "beast" on Sam Rayburn since I was a kid. He was one of the first on Sam Rayburn, from about 1986 on into the '90s, to keep a 'Trap in his hands for 8 hours and bring in stringers of 25 to 35 pounds. Back then, starting in the early '80s, it hadn't caught on like it did in later years. He is an offshore structure fisherman but he can pitch and flip as well. He is really versatile with his approach. He fishes main-lake grass well and he can run the river with the best of them.

    Granted, given the Classic atmosphere and Grand Lake, it will be a challenge. I believe he has done his extensive homework (just knowing him and how he prepares) for his first chance in the "big time" and he can pattern fish as well as anybody. His years on the water might finally be to his best advantage for this one tournament. You never know in a tournament like this, but if he can get on the right group of fish, we just might see him around on the last day looking to finish in a top position.

  • John A. Argese of Sayreville, NJ writes:

    You don't build an event by diluting the field, you do it by letting the cream rise to the top, then skim. Fifty-three contestants in the Classic? Cut to 25, add previous year's winner and AOY. Done!

    You want to do something for the regional winners? Cover the entry fees for the following year and a sponsoring company's wrap. That way you can go back to 3 days for all competitors while adding new blood.

  • Ed Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    When is BassFan going to do a magazine in print form? Y'all have the best and most complete unbiased coverage of bass fishing and stories around on the pros and different circuits, as well as side notes from the everyday fisherman. BassFan is my first stop in the morning while I eat breakfast. Very well done!

    BassFan says: We produced one magazine issue several years ago, but the online format works better for us. It allows us to deliver our content to readers in a much more timely manner.

  • Paul Wallace of Cambridge City, IN writes:

    RE: WSOB in limbo – After watching the first couple of TV shows it was fairly aparrent that this was going nowhere. It didn't even sound realistic with a $10,000 entry fee. Maybe they will prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

    On the other hand, MLF is great to watch and the format is nerve-wracking. I can feel the intensity while watching the shows.

  • James Biggs of Richland Hills, TX writes:

    RE: WSOB in limbo – Hopefully Joe gets everything worked out. It was a neat concept.

  • Sharon Friend of Chico, CA writes:

    RE: Friend's EverStart win – Thank you for such a great article on our son. We are so proud and excited for Ryan. Nice to have a celebrity in our family! It amazes me the knowledge he has for the sport from the water conditions, fish behavior, weather patterns and equipment, but most of all the gifted talent he has and the love of the sport. We could be seeing more articles like this in the future for him!

    Thanks again from his proud mom!

  • Martin D. Lamb of Clinton, IA writes:

    Maybe I am missing something. Skeet Reese offers his time and knowledge to a group of aspiring young anglers and everyone questions his actions? What does it matter where they are from? I would think the more appropriate question would be why are more established pros not taking the same step?

    Thanks for sharing your time and knowledge, Skeet!

  • Mickey Pettry of Manassas, Va writes:

    RE: Dove sponsorship – Way to go Kurt. Now go get 'em, and hold the onions!

  • Chad Keogh of Black Creek, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: Reese sponsors OSU – What? Did I read that right? Why would a Californian, Skeet Reese, sponsor an Oklahoma State University team? I must be missing something.

  • Ed Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Usually when FLW makes a big or controversial change, it is preceded or followed by an open letter from Mr. Jacobs or the CEO of FLW. They have not put anything on their website concerning the strong feelings their members have posted.

  • Jeff Parker of St. Louis, MO writes:

    Payden Hibdon will someday probably be a great fisherman. The problem is he was immediately thrown into the fire instead of growing up learning and having some success at the lower levels, like his dad did. His dad won BFL's, EverStarts, Central Pro-Am events and numerous other local tournaments. Payden was thrown into the FLW Tour events before he was ready, competing at a level that he never had any experience with. I just hope his lack of success does not discourage him from continuing his dream.

  • George P. Miller of Springfield, PA writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – Well said, Mr. Dudley. Wish you well.

  • William Price of Blacksburg, VA writes:

    Why not do an article or interview with FLW Tour newcomer Philip Jarabeck out of Lynchburg, Va. He's following in the footsteps of his uncle and mentor, David Dudley. No longer taking the back seat and driving David up and down the highways! Let's follow his progress and see what he's learned from all those years in the back of the boat!

  • Terry Metzger of Naples, FL writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – Ol' Dudley's always got something to say. He makes a lot of good points

  • Jason Houchins of Clarksville, VA writes:

    RE: Dove's racing sponsorship – I am so happy for Kurt Dove on his new deal. Kurt has worked so hard for many years at this sport and I am thrilled to see him get a great deal. You will not find a better guy or more polished individual to represent any product. Well deserved, Kurt. Go get 'em, buddy!

  • Layne Ell of Hammonton, NJ writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Wow. You're telling me that some people are so weak that if they see a boat wrapped with a Keystone Light logo, they are now going to rush out and get loaded? I hope these same people who are complaining about this deal don't watch NASCAR or the Super Bowl, either. I hope your convictions are that strong and your moral values that deep that you only watch and support programs and events sponsored by Pepsi and Coke. Oh wait, can't do that – sugar is bad for you. How about Lays and Pringles? Nope, can't supoort that – too much obsesity the world. Stop the madness and grow up!

  • Ed Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    Those who compare gun deaths to alcohol deaths, saying it's the person and not the gun or alcohol, are missing one big difference – intent. Those responsible for the mass shootings planned to kill. Their intent was to use the gun for violence. It was not the gun, but the person.

    Alcohol deaths are different. People drink to unwind or relax or have fun. Their intent is not to kill or be violent. The alcohol controls the person, causing them to do things they would never do sober. Their intent was not to come home and beat up their wife, kids, mom or dad, but it happens because of the alcohol they consumed. Their intent was not to drive drunk and kill innocent kids and adults and destroy lives, but tens of thousands of them do each year.

    Their intent was not to become an alcoholic, or die from liver disease, but thousands do.

    If you drink and doubt the addictive powers of alcohol, I challenge you to stop for 10 days and prove who is in charge.

  • Glenn Chappelear of Atlanta, GA writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – Very well written and thoughtful.

  • Joseph A. Butler of Middlesboro, KY writes:

    I am a Christian and I take a stand against alcohol any chance I can. However, sometimes I eat at places where alchohol is served. I stay away from it, don't want it, do not like to associate with those who are partaking in it at the time. But if I am hungry, I eat there, especially if I like the place. Anymore, with all the pushes for alcohol sales, it is going to be harder to find anywhere that doesn't sell it. I am not going to quit driving to work on a road where alcohol trucks travel, and I am not going to stop fishing FLW because someone has elected to make a decision for the survivability of their organization.

    The Word of God teaches us that we have to go out among them, we just do not have to be like them. And I am sure that FLW will continue to enforce thier rule of no alcohol during tournaments. Do I like it? No. Do I like what's going on all around us? Of course not. Alcohol is a killer, a home-wrecker and a destroyer. But we can use what is considered evil to further the good. God has been tricking Satan like that since the beginning of time!

  • Scott Wall of Millbrook, AL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I find it somewhat hypocritical that people who are so emphatic over beer being related to fishing have no qualms whatsoever about participating in a sport that usually occurs on most Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. Or maybe I'm just overreacting? Grow up, folks. If you want to drink a beer, go ahead and drink a beer, responsibly. Don't judge other people who do. I believe the Bible tells us to "judge not, lest ye be judged."

  • J. Paul of White Hill, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I like the move. Any money that we can use to keep our sport going is okay with me. Plus, I like beer and for those who don't, don't drink it!

  • Ryan Chandler of Valparaiso, IN writes:

    "It's all about the dollar" is what I keep reading from people about FLW taking on a beer company as a sponsor. Show me a buisness that does not survive on the dollar. FLW is no different than any other company in America. They are out there to make a profit, no different than Wal-Mart, McDonald's or Jim's corner grocery store. They all need a profit to stay in business.

    Every angler who signs up and pays the entry fee to get into an FLW event is there to try and make a profit as well. In order for that angler to make a profit, he has to make some serious business decisions on his behalf to stay on the plus side of the almighty dollar as well. As an angler myself, I hope FLW flourishes and grows every year bigger and better. It only helps us anglers in the long run if who we support can support us through our down times as we should try to support them through theirs.

  • Rick Murphy of Plainfield, IN writes:

    Just remember, anytime you put money down, play a game (like darts, cards or fishing) and a winner leaves with the money, that's called gambling. And that also is fine if not in exsess.I t does appear different with sponsors or prayers (see Fishers of Men), but it's still gambling.

  • Mike Cheeks of Cartersville, GA writes:

    Very well said, David Dudley.

  • Melvin Jennings of Rustburg, VA writes:

    To David Dudley: Keystone Light is promoting you, you are not promoting Keystone Light. I see no conflict there.

  • Rick Pierce of Mountain Home, AR writes:

    Sorry to hear Bub Tosh's decision on the spotted bass. Bub is a both a good angler and a person who would have cherished the record.

    Nice fish, Bub!

  • Ben Boettcher of Rockton, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Tell me how a bass boat with a beer logo on it affects the water-only drinker in any way? I really can't stand political correctness and I really think some people here in the States wish they were in red China or something. If a boat says Mobil One oil on it but you prefer your all-electric lunch box car, that's your right. I like a beer once in a while, but if you don't, then that's okay. I'm not very religious, but didn't Jesus drink wine or something?

  • Johnny Manning of Arkadelphia, AR writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – I'm with David Dudley. I've never even tasted of any alcoholic beverage, but I don't have a problem with anyone who wants to drink, so long as I am not in the boat with them. I am disappointed in FLW for doing this, though. There must be someone else they could have gotten instead of a beer company.

  • Jack McGee of LaCrosse, WI writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – My mind is at ease now that the great David Dudley has spoken on the Keystone topic.

  • Scott Buxton of Napoleonville, LA writes:

    RE: Dudley speaks out – I think you hit the nail right on the head, David. Well said!

  • Jim Clelland of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's a sad day for FLW. They used to believe and preach family values and participate at our local First Baptist Church with the "Meet the Pros" night. How is that going to look now with a beer banner and the beer manufacturer patch on the anlglers? It's all about the love of money.

  • Charlie Evans of Gilbertsville, KY writes:

    Bob Sherry fished the FLW Tour from 2005 to 2008. I weighed in his fish at every tournament. I remember Bob as a good fisherman and a caring individual.

  • Scott Bennett of Verdigris, OK writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's great for the sport. Anything can be abused. Moderation is good for all things. All other pro sports have beer sponsors, fishing is no different.

  • Gary Hanson of Anniston, AL writes:

    Didn't The Last Supper have wine sitting on the table? All painted pictures I've seen had goblets there with wine in them. What's the big deal with having Keystone as a sponsor? It helps to make a better program from money and advertisements. B.A.S.S has Evan Williams Bourbon as one of theirs. Haven't heard any ruckus about that, or I missed it.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Easy way to solve the FLW beer sponsorship. Just insert in the FLW rules: "If you don't want to take any beer sponsor's money, we will be happy to pass it along to someone who does."

  • Mike Roberts of Nampa, ID writes:

    We all know the stand on the evils of alcohol. Having spent countless hours in church in the past 20 years, I have heard it all. I believe Christian UFC fighters, boxers, NFL players, bass fishermen, any pro athlete in any sport can live the life he or she desires even if a beer company is involved in sponsorship. There will always be fanatics, no matter the issue. Long live FLW. I love what they have done for the sport.

  • Rich Ison of North Vernon, IN writes:

    Just got done reading the article on FLW and the Keystone sponsorship and it's clear to me that there are many shallow thinkers out there in this sport. Open your eyes and look at this country and the state that is in .. and I'm not talking about the economy! That didn't happen overnight. It's the result of the slow erosion of principles. We just keep on accepting the unacceptable in the name of growth, money, tolerance, political correctness, etc.

    This isn't the fault of the people who are in favor of alcohol or tobacco sponsorships. This is the fault of the people who don't have enough backbone to stand firm and say "ain't happening." Let's face it, folks who have a principled view just roll over and play dead. Words alone don't get it done. Who is winning this battle, anyway? Pretty easy to see.

    Any sport that targets children as the "next generation" or the "future" should have no room for alcohol or tobacco in its sponsorship. If you choose to drink, so be it. It's a free country and that's your right. However, the argument that any "legal" product or activity should be open season for sponsorship in this or any sport is just naive.

  • Bob Sherry of St. Charles, IL writes:

    I fished FLW for 6 years and what people really do not know is that it wasn't about family. Every year tournaments where scheduled around holidays (Father's Day, Mother's Day, July 4th). Also, how many times do you see a no-sponsor fisherman or woman on their show (not much). I fished for 5 years and Charlie Evans didn't even know my name.

    It's a sad day for FLW. It was and always will be about the money.

  • Jef C. Nelson of Tyrone, PA writes:

    Keystone Light? I could think of a better beer for sponsor dollars. Seriously though, who doesn't enjoy a cold one after a long hot day on the water? I see and hear people preaching all the time about sex, drugs and rock and roll. But when the skeletons come rolling out of the closet, reality is there waiting to jump on the band wagon.

    I can say money is money – who cares where it comes from, as long as it is coming in. This is a free country and everyone can make their own minds up. It's like the radio or TV – you as a person don't like it, you can always turn the channel.

    You don't have to like beer or support the sponsor – that is your choice! At least Keystone is stepping up and taking a chance on you!

  • Jerry Hundley of Kimberling City, MO writes:

    RE: Phonix's rise – Great story. Gary is a top-notch guy. I'm just an average guy, but he will always take the time to talk fishing or boats. I have run the 721 for a year now and it's by far the best boat value out there.

  • Harry Moore of Valley, AL writes:

    For those who are against alcohol advertising, when was the last time you shopped at a business that sells alcohol? Selling is the same as advertising because it is on display. At the Last Supper there was wine. Does wine have alcohol in it?

  • Pat Leach of The Colony, TX writes:

    I don't see the big deal. It's not like the kids don't see their parents tipping back a few cold ones. Even if the parents don't drink, having a beer sponsor on a tournament trail won't be the end of the world.

    Get a grip, folks. If you are leaving it to tournament advertisers to teach values to your kids, then there is the problem.

    Good for FLW for finding sponsors to keep the company viable.

  • Ken Kraft of Columbus, GA writes:

    This is what is great about America. We are free to choose our own path, and FLW has done just that. I hope it works out well for everyone involved.

  • Mike Cheeks of Cartersville, GA writes:

    I personally don't have a problem with FLW having a beer sponsor. I don't understand why people are already looking down on Keystone Light when they havent seen their agenda. If I'm not mistaken, all alcoholic beverage companies must also print on every container in a matter of words to "Be responsible" or "Know when to say when"!

    I say give them an opportunity to support FLW before you bash them for it!

  • Al Davis III of Jacksonville, FL writes:

    I see no problem at all with accepting sponsor dollars from any alcoholic beverage company now, then or in the future. I've competed in bass fishing tournaments seriously now for over 17 years and there are a few on the comment page that I have actually fished with and i see they feel the same as I do.

    Evan Williams. Busch. Crown Royal. Now Keystone Light. I think there should be more – in this economy, take all you can get!

  • Thomas Story of Macon, GA writes:

    FLW just goes to show you everyone will take the almighty dollar when they need it. I think it is great FLW brought on Keystone Light. However, it's silly they were on their soapbox for so long and put B.A.S.S. down for the Busch Light saga years ago. Now they are doing the same.

    I think it is great for fishing, but just goes to show you when someone needs to get paid, they will do what it takes.

  • Gary Yexley of Knoxville, TN writes:

    I wonder how many of these people support car racing? These are changing times and if anyone is going to handle beer responsibly it will be FLW and the changes that go along with it. If you want to see irresponsibility of foundations, look at parents who allow kids to do whatever at young ages with no leadership.

    Well, no more soapbox. Good luck to you, FLW, and thank you for what you do.

  • Zach Maisch of Lima, OH writes:

    The issue I have with FLW in this situation is not that it now ventured into the area of alcohol, but rather the entire sponsorship structure FLW utilizes. The structure is set up so that the head executive gets paid before any of the anglers do. The sponsorship restrictions that FLW places on its anglers are a true hurdle they must leap over in order to maintain a living. Now that FLW has crossed a line it drew in the sand to get more money, it is nothing short of being a hypocrite.

  • Jim Liner of Montgomery, AL writes:

    Beer and whiskey have been fishing tournament sponsors forever. Ray Scott's fourth Classic was sponsored by Miller Beer. To my knowledge there has never been a problem with such. It is against the rules to drink during a tournament, but what someone does on their own time is up to them.

    I believe it is illegal for tobacco companies to sponsor or advertise. This is why NASCAR did away with the Winston Cup race series. Remember, we are responsible for our own actions and behavior.

  • Ron Knight of San Angelo, TX writes:

    RE: Terry steps up to Tour – Austin has a knack for finding fish. In spite of his age, he has gained a lot of knowledge and experience these past years, and I only wish him the best in his quest of fishing the big leagues.

  • Nick Hamra of Chesterfield, Mo. writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's simply the quest for money, not morality that propels businesses. Why should FLW be any different?

  • Lance Wiseman of Cedar Bluff, Ala. writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I worked in the beer industry for 28 years. You would not believe the people that would ask us for money and then would not want to advertise our products.This is a good sponsor for FLW.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I know ministers who drink beer!

  • Todd Langford of Ashburn, VA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship- What a great move! A legal product promoting a sporting event, what a great idea! I also don't understand why tobacco isnt a sponsor? If you are so concerned about kids, then why don't you parent them to make the right decisions?

    Don't be confused – the extreme right-wingers don't run this sport. You guys really don't get it, do you? The country or a business (FLW or B.A.S.S.) cannot be run by the right or left, it's impossible. Beer sponsorship of a major sporting event is a fact of life. Get over it! Go back to your snake-handling and leave pro sports out of it.

  • Tom Baldwin of Cedar Hill, TN writes:

    RE: Morgan goes to Bullet – Glad to see Andy is moving over to a working man's boat. Bullet has been making a good fishing boat since the early 2000s. Congratulations on the move, Andy. Glad to see you back in a Bullet.

  • David Gregg of Palestine, TX writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I never thought I would see the day we would read that FLW would sign a beer sponsor. Due to the fact that FLW is named after the legend, Forrest Wood, I cannot believe they could ever bring a beer sponsor to tarnish the image of such a great man and family. I am shocked that FLW has decided to sell out and lower themselves to a beer deal just because of money. But the truth remains that money is the root of all evil. I regret my deposits are already paid for 2013 and had I known this prior to the deadline I would not have fished in the FLW this year. What a shame to see this happen to such a once great Christian organization.

  • Chad Keogh of Black Creek, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: PF reduces pro staff – Everybody compares professional bass fishing to NASCAR, and this current Pure Fishing move will likely prove the relationship. Remember the old NASCAR saying: "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday?" KVD has proven this applies in a positive way. Now, Pure Fishing will prove it applies the other way, too, since it has decreased the odds of the winner being a pro staffer of theirs.

    Rocky, I was at the last Bass University held in Toronto, and you were more than just the "token Canadian" in my opinion. I took notes of all the speakers, and yours was the most pages of useful info.

  • Robert R. Bass of Redding, CA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – This move to accept Keystone Light as a sponsor wouldn't be a big deal at all if FLW lived and died by the "morals" that they preached. It just goes to show you that money talks. If an angler can bring sponsor money to the table, good for him/her! FLW should not tell us, "No alcohol advertising," and then when it suits their needs, say, "It's OK now, guys." Whatever!

  • Luke Michaels of Davenport, IA writes:

    RE: PF reduces pro staff - I run a small company and if I make a bad decision, my company loses because my customers go elsewhere. There are plenty of very good tackle companies out there. Vote with your pocketbook.

  • Royse Dean of Camden, SC writes:

    RE: PF reduces pro staff – I've been reading these comments for a long time. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone wrote how the loyalty of the pro fisherman is weak and they will move from manufacturer to manufacturer, with little regard for the product, as long as they get to fish. Now that PF is changing with the times on their choices of pro-staffers, folks are making them out to be disloyal. All of these guys would have left if someone else would have presented a better deal. Seen it for years.

  • Joe Hicks of Springfield, MO writes:

    RE: PF reduces pro staff – Unfortunately, in today's world you're going to see this happen. Just look at major companies outside the fishing industry that elimante thousands of workers to cut cost. You'll probably see PF hiring a younger/new pro staff who want to be in the sport and who are willing to take the offer, hoping they will one day be big like the ones let go.

  • Rocky Crawford of Whitby, Ontario, Canada writes:

    RE: PF reduces pro staff – This comes as no suprise to me at all. I was cut from Pure Fishing Canada last year after being with them for more than 10 years. It was a shock to say the least as I am a high-profile tournament angler who has won four National Classic Championships and many Angler of the Year titles. I was their voice for seminars at some of the biggest shows in Canada and even participated with some of the biggest names in the business (KVD, Ken Cook, Mark Davis, to name a few) in the seminars that B.A.S.S. brought to Canada (I was the token Canadian).

    Anyway, it's sad to see how companies are going in this direction. Sure, social media and such plays a big part of it. However, I would bet money that a huge percentage of the bass fishing public does not give a damn about Twitter or Facebook.

    I'm a big fan of the few that remain with PF and I hope they are treated as they should be. Larry, Boyd, and Jay were certainly not treated as they should have been.

  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    Pro staff cutbacks? There was an old maxim in bass fishing that "pros sell," but clearly that's no longer trending as favorably anymore. The replacement marketing strategy is now comprised of come-on's for the on-line warehouse sites, plus hiring just enough regional players to maintain a "presence" at the tournaments.

    So where do the "cast-offs" go? To smaller companies with over-priced products that have enough margin to promote – using guys they never could have afforded when they were at their career peaks.

    But think about it. If a blue fleck Power Worm works for you, are you going to stop buying them? I don't think so – and neither does the manufacturer.

  • John Hempel of Brownstown, MI writes:

    I would love a beer sponsor.

  • Kevin J. McCarthy of Gaithersberg, MD writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – This is totally the wrong move for PF after Larry Nixon's accomplishments in 2012. PF has made some really idiotic changes over the last few years, but this one tops it. Who's running that place?

  • Ryan Varner of Alhambra, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – No beer in FLW for years, and no tobacco. So all of a sudden, Keystone lands a deal, and FLW acquires another major sponsor. Maybe someday even Redman will be back in there!

    I think if there is an angler who can get sponsored by a company with a legal product, they should be allowed to promote it.

  • Beau Bacon of Baxter, MN writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – I understand business is business, but these guys are the reason I buy some of their product and to out them is a mistake. Shame on you, PF.

  • Ken Heintz of Red Bud, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Its a competitive world. Most fishermen I know drink beer, so what's the problem? Fishing can be expensive, sponsors are needed. No different than TV commercials.

  • Tom Tanner of Jonestown, PA writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – This comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked in the fishing tackle industry in recent years. There is no loyalty from many of the major manufacturers - they are all looking to cut costs and boost bottom-line profits. They are cutting out sales reps, dropping the older pros who helped to build their brands, and doing whatever they can to pay these people less. There is little regard for the experience, credibility, or personal relationships that these people may have to offer. It's all about "what can you do for me today" and will you do it for less? It's really a shame, because so many of the people who worked to build the business for years are being treated so poorly.

  • Robert Allen of Calhoun, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Folks, don't kid yourselves. This beer endorsement shows the true desperation of a once-proud tournament organization in FLW. Forrest Wood, I'm sure, is livid, but once again Irwin Jacobs changes his stripes.

    Reduced schedule, trimming staffers, poor TV numbers ... now this? FLW won't be around in 2 years.

  • Ryan Chandler of Valparaiso, IN writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Business is business. FLW has made a choice to do what they had to do to survive as a company. I am sure if they had their choice of who they would want to have, National Guard or Keystone, the choice would easy, but that's not where they are going into 2013, so they are doing what needs to be done to stay in business. That's the great thing about being an American – we have freedom of choice. You can, as a person, decide to fish with them or not fish with them. It is up to you.

    FLW is doing what they have to do, so if you dont like it, go somewhere else or do something else. My choice is to stand behind them.

  • Bryant Copley of Altavista, VA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I can't wait to see a "Keith Stone" in a bass boat commercial. I have enjoyed their tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign!

  • Mike Keller of Pea Ridge, AR writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's all about the money, ain't it boys? What's next? Sponsorship from a legal marijuana producer?

  • Larry Richards of Henderson, AR writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – It's not so much what they did, but how they did it. They had Tammy Cox do their dirty work, contacting the pro to give them the bad news and after she did this they fired her. That must have been very hard for Tammy to do, and then to be fired. That's quite a low move on PFs part.

    I really like my Revo reels, but unfortunately I have quite a bit of money in Abu Garcia V series rods and I have had to return eight of them for breakage and other problems. I don't think I will buy any more PF products except for line. I wonder if PF will keep the pros' names that are no longer with them on the packages of baits that they developed for them?

  • Brad Brown of Loudon, TN writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – Hey PF, you have lost this customer for life! No more PF line, lures, or gear. Period!

  • Tommy Sanders of Brashear, TX writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – With the push to appeal more and more to young anglers and then turn around and support and promote drinking sends a message: All you are really interested in is money for yourselves and really don't care what message you send. As they say, actions speak louder than words.

  • John A. Argese of Sayreville, NJ writes:

    RE: PF pro staff reductions – If you check out the fishing forums, the "real" guys say they are NOT influenced by comments by the pro staff. That is until the "Sexy Shad Scooter Pop" wins the Classic and Company "X" sells a million units of said bait.

    In a way it's sad because it's a no-win situation for the pros. Consumers will wonder why the pro isn't hawking the magic bait of years gone by, losing credibility, or people may wonder if the pro wanted too much money.

  • Al Perry of Lafayette, LA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I don't have a problem with if they don't force anglers to do advertisements for either product. However, I know some anglers will have a hard time dealing with this problem as some did with B.A.S.S.

  • Rick Sweadner of Woodsboro, MD writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's about time! Look at the Super Bowl, the World Series, any other major TV sport. They have been missing the the boat! Get it, boat? Bring on the tobacco sponsors. Let's rock and roll!

  • Dan McGinnis of Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Yes, I'm sure there will be some people who don't like it, but in this day and age, any sponsorship is a great deal. Keystone Light could have gone elsewhere, like NASCAR, but decided to go with FLW. In my book, that says a lot. Hats off to Keystone Light for recognizing the fishing industry.

  • Richard Bates of Belle Chasse, LA writes:

    I'm curious about how beer advertising in FLW will affect those who left B.A.S.S. to fish FLW due to their no-alcohol advertising policy – specifically Jay Yelas.

    BassFan says: We asked Yelas that question back when the beer-sponsorship rumors began circulating. He said he had no problem with it, as long as no one tried to force him to put a beer logo on his jersey.

  • Mark Aaron of Houston, TX writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Well, it seems as if FLW had to "belly up to the bar" with Keystone. Wonder how much Forrest Wood likes having his name affiliated with that? Does'nt make any difference to me whether an organization has an alcohol sponsor or not. They don't hold the bottle to your mouth. If you don't like it, don't drink it. But for an organization like FLW, that has adamantly objected to alcohol sponsors in the past, it seems a little desperate at this point.

    Let's see, no more EverStart Championship, no walleye tour, decreased number of FLW Tour events, and no Opens? For the past several weeks, BassFan has had numerous articles on FLW "inking" sponsorship deals pretty consistently. For them to decrease exposure this much, they must be having a fire sale on advertising deals?

    I've never been happier knowing that I just fish for fun. Between FLW and B.A.S.S., it's just about too silly to watch.

  • Barry McCoy of Castro Valley, CA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Great move. Congrats to FLW. Beer is almost an endemic sponsor for fishing.
    The beer companies are totally involved in NASCAR, seems logical to be here. B.A.S.S. tried it awhile back.
    One of our local California tournament organizations just signed on with Coors Light (owned by the same company as Keystone).

    Next is the energy drinks. They are the real money these days.

  • Bill Patterson of Owasso, OK writes:

    RE: Evers' orthopedic deal – Dr. Ryan Pitts is also the team doctor for Owasso Ram football. Go E.E.!

  • Glenn Chappelear of Atlanta, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I am very disappointed in the decision by FLW to promote a beer sponsor. In 2011, 9,878 people were killed and approximately 350,000 were injured. Each crash, each death, each injury impacts not only the person in the crash, but family, friends, classmates, co-workers and more. Even those who have not been directly touched help pay the $132 billion yearly price tag of drunk driving. Is this the industry we really want to support?

  • Vince Borrego of Cave Creek, AZ writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Bad beer is bad for our sport. Good beer is good for our sport. No matter how much money Natural Light, Keystone Light, Olde English or any of the lower-end, nasty-tasting beers pump into advertising with bass fishing will you ever find me drinking one of their products. Low-class/entry-level beer prevents us from getting rid of the redneck stigma that non-fishing fans associate with professional bass fishing. I drink beer, I fish and I demand good-tasting beer!

  • Chad Keogh of Black Creek, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I think that FLW should accept a beer sponsor. Face it, probably 90% of the competitors drink beer. It would be hypocritical for the majority of FLW pros to be anti-beer when it comes to sponsors.

    The only grey area would be the high school and college-level events. Is it OK to have the "Keystone Light Big Bass Award" in a college event? Not likely.

  • Walter Andries of Coweta, OK writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Grow up! Save the Bible-thumping for church. Tournament sponsors have been scarce. Don't cripple it with misplaced and misguided outrage.

  • Alan Bella of Guntersville, AL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – To me, this is a sad day in fishing. I cut ties with B.A.S.S. years ago for the same thing and will do so with FLW. There are many young people who like to fish. What values are we teaching them? This is not a family-friendly organazation anymore!

  • Hal Zimmerman of Boise, ID writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's about time. Even though I assume this change of position is as a result of the possibility of the National Guard leaving and sponsor money is needed, I certainly support this decision. Finally, the FLW fishing organization will be participating in the real world with marketing opportunities for both FLW and fishermen.

  • Blake Edwards of Bedford, VA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Eight years ago FLW was living large and said no alcoholic sponsors. Now they trim back and all of a sudden they welcome them and they are going to wrap boats and trucks and sponsor events for college students. Classy.

  • James Arnold of Arkadelphia, AR writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – I voted that I hated this choice. I have nothing against drinking. The problem that I have is FLW stood on firm ground against alcohol and tobacco for so long. There were guys a few years ago who left B.A.S.S. to move to FLW for this very reason. Now after a few years, the morals FLW stood for have been thrown out the window. Just as with human nature, when the going gets tough, take the easy way out. It's all about money!

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – What's the big deal? Beer is legal to buy in this country. Nobody is forcing anybody to drink it. If it bothers you that bad, don't fish FLW tournaments or buy their products. I don't always drink beer, but when I do, it isn't light. Stay thirsty, my friends.

  • Chuck Main of Ellwood City, PA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Don't use tobacco, but it's okay to get smashed now that we got the sponsor money! Wow! Now everyone can thank God with a Keystone Light sign behind them. Guess they kind of forgot about the God they always bring up with that big contract in front of them!

  • Edmond Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – The majority will not care because it's such a big part of society today. The saddest part is that FLW condemned other trails and promoted their trail as more family-oriented, which was true. While this will not bring them more fishermen, it will cause some to leave. Thanks for having this poll – will be interesting to see how many think this is bad. A sad day for FLW.

  • Cliff "JR" Mundinger of Tallahassee, FL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – It's legal, and absolutely nothing wrong with drinking a beer as long as you're of age. Personally, I have been fishing competitively for over 30 years, been a full-time guide for 13 years and do not believe it has any place on a boat during competition or when you are driving a boat, just like a car. I enjoy an ice-cold Miller Lite when I get done after a hard day on the water.

  • Scott Hayes of Newnan, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Great move. Maybe they will bring back the FLW Series or the EverStart Championship. The Keystone Series wouid sound great.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Take the money when and where you can get it. You can choose if you want to drink or not. It's not that big of an issue.

  • Edmond Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Sad day for FLW Outdoors. Alcohol has destroyed thousands of lives and family. I could always brag that FLW was a family-oriented company that refused to promote tobacco and alcohol consumption. I know a lot of fishermen, both pro and amateur, who fished FLW for the same reason.

  • Ed Walker of Pinson, AL writes:

    RE: FLW's beer sponsorship – Actually I think it is great that FLW is reaching out for that new sponsor dollar category, but Keystone Light? What about Budweiser, Red Bull, Jack Daniel's, Crown Royal? I am not a beer drinker, but of all the fishermen I have seen who do drink beer, I haven't seen many Keystone beer cans. Can you imagine the marketing spectacle with the Budweiser Clydesdales at a tournament weigh-in? Budweiser race cars, etc.? If you're going to dive off into that market, go big or go home!

  • Jim Loshbough of Elkhart, IN writes:

    Dobyns and Nixon - two fine gentlemen and damn good fishermen. Berkley's addition of "Ike" and the release of Nixon tells me everything I need to know.

  • Maury Wall of Smyrna, TN writes:

    RE: Tennessee River tailwaters – It just shows people how brain-dead these people are . Got to blame it on the public. Just like our government, you can't trust them. They have do some B.S. to keep that big job title.

  • Scott Wall of Millbrook, AL writes:

    I worked for B.A.S.S. for 7 years (1998-2005) and went through the change from Helen Sevier to ESPN (Kessel, Rucks, et al). B.A.S.S. has always been about making money and growing the sport. B.A.S.S. was not founded by Ray Scott to be a civic organization, it was founded to make Ray Scott a rich man, and it did. Then Helen made more money off of it as the popularity grew and the sport itself expanded.

    I grew up fishing and never once wished I were a professional angler. Never had any desire to go "pro," but I grew up watching Bill Dance and Roland Martin, and remember seeing Rick Clunn win the Classic and it was like watching a concert, not a sporting event. None of these were bad experiences, but let's not kid ourselves. Bass fishing as a competitive sport has reached it's pinnacle. FLW and B.A.S.S. long ago lost any chance to put bass fishing on the same level as golf or NASCAR, so let's just stop trying to do this. It's a sport, and it's a passion, that's all. It will never be bigger than this.

    ESPN threw a lot of money at B.A.S.S. and although most of it was ill-spent, it was still a lot of muscle and a lot of clout and they could not move the needle. When Helen owned B.A.S.S. it grew every year in spite of itself. Ms. Sevier was great at what she did, but B.A.S.S. as a whole never spent the money they should have to promote or market themselves as a top-tier sport. ESPN turned B.A.S.S. from a $40 million business into one that was worth less than $10 million when they sold it 2 years ago. The bulk of what makes B.A.S.S. tick is magazine revenue and we all know that print media has been in steady decline since 2003.

    The country has added 45 million more people since 1999, yet B.A.S.S. still has only 500,000 or so "members," which aren't really members any more like they were, but are instead magazine subscribers. This should be a pretty good indicator that this sport is not growing, but declining. Let's just fish, and read the magazine, and go to fishing shows, and buy product and stop trying to make bass fishing something more than it is.

  • Tim Brown of Ridge Top, TN writes:

    Looking at the recent Big O payouts at the BFL, they had 199 fishing on both the boater/co sides. Why did they only payout 39 places? I know they pay out the top 20%, but 20% of 199 comes out to 39.8, so why would they have not rounded up to pay out 40 places instead of 39?

    In my opinion, you are biting the hand that feeds you here! Why not go ahead and pay out that last spot to the 40th-place boater and co? And businesses wonder why they lose customers. Go figure!

  • Steve Boyd of Orlando, FL writes:

    The major problem we have in the sport is the business model. B.A.S.S., FLW all of them use NASCAR as a business model, not because it works, but because it is their demographic. Their first and only concern is selling products. No, they aren't directly selling, but they are promoting many company brands.

    This can't and doesn't work long-term because our sport is an individual sport, not a team sport like NASCAR. If 100 pros can't make a living as a "pro," then there is something seriously wrong with the model.

    The day B.A.S.S. and FLW change the format to reflect golf and tennis will be the first day in a long time fishing takes a step forward. But this means putting someone else in charge and not taking competitors' money and doing what they want with it. This is the sticking point and why I don't see a bright future for competive fishing unless anglers start believing they have a say and boycott both leagues for a year and demand change.

    A governing body would force sponsor money to go towards angler payouts, TV dollars to go towards Elite, FLW and PAA pros. Promote the anglers and not the event. Rule changes are needed to help make the sport legitimate by making all tournaments no-info and 30-day off-limits. And one I personally would like to see is pros no longer being able to give someone their GPS unit so they can mark waypoints for them! Cheating is cheating.

    I'm all for change, but like most things these days the system is dictated by the mob. What the promoters don't want is for the mob to find out they have a say.

  • Ronald Pike of Wellington, FL writes:

    RE: Fennel Q&A – What a great article. FLW tries to grow our sport like no other organization. College, high school, co-anglers at all levels. They definitely will shape the future of the sport.

    TBF, BFL, EverStart and FLW Tour – a level for anyone and everyone. I fished my first BFL as a boater and it was a great experience, to say the least. It is run first class. Thank you, FLW.

  • Roy Bilby of Richmondville, NY writes:

    RE: Menendez's plight – Mark, I'm a big fan and supporter of you and your career. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. You will beat this. One day at a time.

  • George Mrozinski of Sarver, PA writes:

    Apparently the majority of anglers want less payback and fewer opportunities to fish because, according to Kathy Fennel, FLW made decisions to "have the right number of events to accommodate the majority." Things like eliminating the Opens and cutting the payback for the EverStarts along with no year-end EverStart championship is accommodating the majority? I believe trying to keep up FLW profits with less sponsor dollars is the real reason for most decisions.

  • John Salt of Detroit, MI writes:

    Why is it that Jerry gets crushed daily but Blake and Fennel never receive criticism for what has gone on at FLW? In any other business they would have been fired a long time ago. Look at where FLW was before they took over to now. They cut your AAA circuit, yet say it's time to get back to your roots. They gave up dominating the northern parts of the country with walleye coverage to slim down to an all southeaster USA Tour. College fishing seems to be very important to FLW, but reality says it is more of a niche market than walleye.

    The best and only change is some anglers get to wear their sponsors' jerseys now. Remember when FLW was growing and the hottest thing in fishing, giving hope to a career of fishing professionally? Too bad 80 percent of their anglers have to be really rich or really broke.

  • Terry Drace of The Colony, TX writes:

    I worked for Ray, read Homer since way back and talked with him on several occasions. Loved to hear him say "his" prayer. Sincere praise from one top man about another. Homer Circle – a quiet gentleman.

  • Quen Lanier of Walls, MS writes:

    Harold, I could not agree with you more. The greed of a few are going to ruin the sport for everyone. The so-called "pros" nowadays are more concerned with how to market themselves and their sponsors than they are catching fish and winning tournaments.

  • Todd Winters of Troy, NY writes:

    Boy, I can't wait till the Classic starts so we have other things to talk about other than the "good old days," $300 reels and how bad of a job B.A.S.S. is doing. I am personally tired of feeling guilty for fishing an A-Rig, buying a new boat and being a member of B.A.S.S. We focus so much on this negative when the billons of dollars that are spent by us sportsmen are not being put back into re-stocking programs, launches and introducing the youth to the outdoors. This money usually ends up in the "general fund," or paving a highway. This is what we should be mad at, not how many guys fish the Elites.

    If you can afford a $70,000 boat and high-end equipment, I'm glad for you. We all work hard to pursue the fun we get from fishing. Certain people are always great with numbers and percents, but why is the amount of money that Ray Scott made off the sale of B.A.S.S. never talked about? If he saw his baby in trouble, he should have bought it before Jerry did.

  • Jeff Sullivan of Frostproof, FL writes:

    Jason Houchins of Clarksville,VA writes: I have grown tired of us "tournament anglers" blaming B.A.S.S., FLW, and the fishing industry for the way the sport is today.

    Kudos, Jason. I totally agree.

    I read where everyone is trying to tell others how to run their business. Sure, we all have ideas. We all would think our ideas would make things better, but we didn't buy B.A.S.S. or any other of the organizations or companies to manage. Jerry McKinnis, Don Logan and Jim Copeland bought B.A.S.S., so it is up to them how to run their company.

    I think they are doing a good job in the short time they have owned the company. Jerry, because he is the main spokesman I guess, has said they need to keep improving. I hope they do, and no, I don't or won't agree with everything they do. It was the same with the last owners also.

    I am still a proud member, though, and I still fully support B.A.S.S..

    Just as B.A.S.S. runs their business, Pure Fishing let Jay and Larry go. I don't think it was a good move, just like when Daiwa let Denny go, but any of their products I want to use, I still will. They all run their businesses and we decide if we want to use any of the products they all try to sell to us. In the end, we determine how good of a product they sell.

  • Jack McGee of LaCrosse, WI writes:

    So, let me gets this right. Fishing overall is a billion-dollar industry, yet our "bass professionals" have to "pay to play" because, as Mr. Sharp says, "the industry won't pay." In my eyes, bass fishing will not be considered a professional sport until our "pros" get paid instead of paying to play. What's wrong with this picture?

  • Charles Bowman of Kernersville, NC writes:

    Previously, I had submitted a possible rough framework for decreasing the size of the Elite Series field. I like that B.A.S.S. supports a "major league" of tournament bass fishing but I feel as though it also needs to keep in mind, to a much higher degree, the typical B.A.S.S. member who supports the organization as a whole, much as Harold eluded to.

    The reality is that most B.A.S.S. members in this neck of the woods do not know who the pros are. In most cases, they've never heard of most professional bass fishermen. With the exception of KVD, Ike or possibly Tommy Biffle, most any other bass pro is an unknown to almost all other B.A.S.S. members.

    Most B.A.S.S. members that I know don't care who the pros are, they have no intention of ever trying to be a pro themselves, and they could care less if the Elite tour is 50 guys or 1,000 guys. All these typical B.A.S.S. members are interested in is bass fishing as a local sport and cherished pastime. The typical B.A.S.S. member enjoys time on the water, he enjoys catching bass, he wants to know how to catch bass better, he wants to see what new equipment is out there to help him catch bass, and he may or may not want to participate in local tournaments on occasion. In my opinion, this typical angler makes up most of the B.A.S.S. membership.

    I think it would help the leadership of B.A.S.S. to step back and just think about what makes up B.A.S.S. as a whole. The way I see it, leadership is placing 99% of their effort into less than 1% of the membership (pros). B.A.S.S. is not like NASCAR, or the PGA, or the NBA, or the NFL, or some other organization like that. It's the only one with 99% membership as sport-enjoying amateurs and less than 1% trying to make a living at it.

    ESPN never understood this. ESPN only saw 100 guys. ESPN never saw the rest of the membership. I thought Jerry, before he bought B.A.S.S., saw the big picture, but now, given his comments in his recent interviews, I'm not so sure. I like Jerry, I liked the Fish'n Hole, and I think he's a good guy, but he sounds a lot like ESPN when he talks about B.A.S.S.

    In my opinion, if you concentrate your efforts on growing the base, the top will take care of itself. Focus on bringing new folks to bass fishing, focus on the youth, focus on conserving our resources (conserving the fish and the environment in which they live), focus on family participation in bass fishing, and focus on getting more beginners to join B.A.S.S. to learn how to be better and learn to enjoy the sport more. This is where the focus needs to be. The grassroots angler, who spends his time and hard-earned money on the pastime he loves, is where the support will come from to make a pro tour viable.

  • Lawrence Watson of Old Hickory, TN writes:

    Kind of ticks me off that Pure Fishing drops both Larry Nixon and Jay Yelas. Both are class acts and way above the average pro fisherman.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    I see all kinds of suggestions on BassFan Feedback to solve the problems at B.A.S.S. by reducing the number of Elite anglers. The latest is a complicated program that starts in 2014 and by 2016 would reduce the number to 50 or 30. Unless B.A.S.S. makes some big changes, it will not be up and running in 2016. With the cost of entry fees, travel, boats, motors, vehicles, food and lodging plus gas all on the rise, as Jerry McKinnis stated, everyone is wondering where their next entry fees are coming from.

    Remember back in the good old days when we had 200 anglers entering the tournaments and everyone paying the same entry fee that the Top 40 were fishing for? Then someone invented co-anglers and half the field were paying less money, fishing for less payback and riding the back of the boat while the Elite cats were all up front doing their thing.

    Soon the entry fees were sky-high, plus all the equipment was out of sight and no one noticed that the people who were furnishing the money were reduced by 50%, so the others' entry fees had to increase. Plus the co-anglers needed a boat to ride – no need to buy one as the Elites always furnished them a boat to ride.

    Where is B.A.S.S. heading? McKinnis is looking for a smaller group, so are several greedy anglers, but everyone has forgotten that someone must put up the payback money. The industry is not going to do that – they are the ones increasing prices on everything. Bass will still bite cheap lures fished from slow boats. Wake up, TV is not the answer, it's the problem. Get back to the purposes that B.A.S.S. was founded on. They were printed on the second page of the first BassMaster Magazine.

  • Charles Bowman of Kernersville, NC writes:

    I agree that the Elite field needs to be narrowed down to less than 100 anglers. I would do it with a "moving average of three."

    Starting in 2014, for the next 3 years ('14, '15, and '16), all of each angler's finishes are averaged for the full 3 years of data. At the end of 2016, only the top 50 anglers are retained on tour. At the same time, '14, '15, and '16, the typical exit/entrance method is used for the lower-finishing anglers in the typical 100-angler field, thus allowing Open anglers to join the field and poor finishing Elite anglers to exit the field.

    At the end of 2016, the Top 50 anglers with a 3-year best finish average would be your Elite field, plus, we'd make some arrangement for dealing with the Open qualifiers over the last 3 years.

    Then, after 2016, at the end of every year, the average of the last 3 years' finishes would be used to establish the Top 30 anglers on the tour. Those 30 would remain on the tour for the next year. The next 10 anglers on the average list (31 to 40) would be on probabation the next year, and 41 to 50 would be out, making room for a crop of Open anglers.

    Qualifying Open anglers would be limited to two anglers per division, with only three divisions, thus giving six new qualifiers per year, for a total of 18 qualifiers over 3 years. Their finishes would not count against them until the completion of their third year on tour, by which then, the typical 3-year qualifying format would apply.

    Using this method, the maximum field size would be 58 anglers on the tour, once the full cycle was completed regarding qualification for the tour.

    The Classic would then take only the Top 30 Elite anglers each year, and take the winner of each Elite event, the winner of each Open event, the winner of the Federation Nation National Championship and the winner of the Weekend Series National Championship.

    That would make the tour an Elite tour, and, would make the Classic something very special. This is a possible framework that could be used to cut the field down over time.

  • Jason Houchins of Clarksville,VA writes:

    I have grown tired of us "tournament anglers" blaming B.A.S.S., FLW, and the fishing industry for the way the sport is today. I will admit that I am just as guilty as the next guy. We all need to look in the mirror. We are buying $60,000-plus bass boats, paying $300-plus for a reel, going in debt to pay entry fees, and then wonder why things cost so much. Just saying.

All Topics   January 2013

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