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  • Wallace Calloway of Toledo Bend, LA writes:

    RE: Gagliardi's run-in I understand about fishing a large area, but how is this different from VanDam busting Ike out for trying to come into the area he was sharing with two other competitors. telling him "You're not part of the community." I'm not a fan of Ike but it seems the same to me and I doubt the reception for the local would have been very good if he was the one who came in and started fishing on top of the pro. I saw a local badmouthed once because he idled in and GPS'd a pro's spot, then left. I don't agree with this either, but it seems most people want to side with the celebrity, right or wrong. Courtesy and respect from both sides.

  • Walter Oppelt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions Considering the fact that so few have won this event, why not allow it? For all who voted no, that's their right to do so. But believe me, you'd better look at the bigger picture. I'm not sure why B.A.S.S. has not done so already. Go forward and lead on this issue, do not end up waiting and say, "Well, we should have done that a long time ago."

  • Chris Tate of Forest City, NC writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions I think that all former champions and AOYs who are active in the Elites should get an exemption to the Classic if they didn't quallify to fish it a different way.

  • Terry Bonsell of Keyser, WV writes:

    RE: Balog on Gagliardi First, calling us fishing fans Internet lurkers just isn't right. That is the venue we have seeing how FLW just does not want to move around the country with their championship. Second, to say you would not fish if the big boys are in town, might be right for you, but what bout the guy who gets one weekend a month off? I know how that is because such was my case for years.

    Gags needs to brush up on how to approach this situation. An explanation and appeal to the fellow should come first thing. It is his water, too. Your article shows that you still view big-time tour fishermen as a preferred-on-the water fisherman. What would Gags have done if there would have been multiple anglers there? Some know how to interact with non-tour anglers, some don't.

  • Greg Lineberry of Galax, VA writes:

    RE: Classic winner's exemption I think they should have a past winners' slot, especially for the guys who fish the Elites full time.

  • Rich Meyer of New Bern, NC writes:

    Balog on Gagliardi I agree with Joe. When the big boys come to town, I will stay off the lake. I think "spectators" need to really back off also.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions KVD is a great fisherman but did not earn his way in. Makes up for the 2 years that Skeet should have won Angler of the Year but KVD won by having one good tournament!

  • Charlie Hartley of Grove City, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on Gagliaridi Another great story by Joe Balog. I'm afraid that the fans are more interested in controversy then they are in the facts and the accomplishment. See you next week at St. Clair ... good luck.

  • Patrick Dye of Fayetteville, TN writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions Stop cooking up a way for KVD to get in it for 2015. Nothing like this was done for Clunn. You earn your way into this event, period.

  • Edmond Brown of Trion, GA writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions The Classic is earned each year, not given. If a past or multiple winner got a free pass, they would fish under less pressure and take chances others could not afford to. Also, this would potentially keep some anglers out who had a better year than the past winner. Make them earn it.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Classic exemptions for past winners could add 40 or more to the Classic.

    BassFan says: Well, not yet, since there have been only 44, with Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam combining to win eight of those and several other winners having passed on. Eventually, though, that could be the case.

  • Paul Wallace of Cambridge City, IN writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions Winning needs to mean more than just the prize money, which the anglers are still putting up. Winning an Elite/FLW tournament should make you exempt for next year and should waive entry fees for a year. I still believe winning should get you into the Classic and there should be some type of exemption for past winners and AOYs. Maybe they have to fish the entire Elite/FLW schedule, but make winning a bigger deal than just the prize money.

  • Bill Williams of Tiffin, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on Gagliaridi I am glad the supposed "confronatation" has turned out to be a more of a mutual understanding between anglers working toward catching fish rather than a "you can't fish here" type of thing. Thank you, Joe, for the clarifying the incident.

  • Rick Pierce of Mountain Home, AR writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions As much as we like our friend Kevin VanDam, he fell short this year. The streak ends and Rick Clunn will continue to hold that record for our lifetime, it seems.

    Still, the poll question was should there be exemptions. I say yes in some cases, just not this one.

    In the case of a catastrophic incident that required your attention, it should be considered. Especially if that incident was through no fault of your own and all efforts were made to compete. Even more so if it were a family emergency.

    There are limited incidents. One I can remember way back in the original B.A.S.S. Invitationals, from the late 1980s or earliest 1990ss, when a friend of mine missed the last of six events due to the unexpected passing of his father-in-law the evening prior to competition. He, I believe from memory, finished one place out of that year's Classic. There are and will be others where the angler has proven the focus and tenacity during that given season.

    I do believe there has to be some reasonable effect on others also considered. In the mentioned case only adding one position would have been required. The only effect would have been his impact on other placements at that event.

    Still, in a one-person sport that climaxes a season finale, where no one can drop in and substitute for you, there may be valid reason for an exemption. We just have not realized it prior and years ago we were more able to accept hard lines. Today's politically correct world is more open to doing the right thing when instances necessitate such actions.

    The challenge is entrusting certain parties to act with no favoritism or malice in orchestrating these decisions and judgements. Acting as "stewards" of our sport by for- profit entities is a hard aspect of trust when lobbying, sponsorships and long-term anglers may be able to construe that stewardship, which is entrusted them through the mere position or title they have been granted by corporate leaders.

    It's a fine line.

  • Tim Brown of Ridge Top, TN writes:

    RE: Gagliardi's run-in If the pros don't want to deal with the locals, maybe the tours should start fishing Monday through Friday.

  • Derrick Bridges of Greenville, SC writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions As the format stands now, it weeds out older guys who can't cut it anymore. The past champ exemption would allow nostalgia to take over and clutter the field with 10 to 12 slots that have no chance.

  • Frank Lapinski of East Moriches, NY writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions I think former winners should be included, however, turn it into a 4-day event and cut 25 percent of the anglers every day. A similar format to the Masters in golf.

  • Steve Chandler of Melbourne, FL writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions It needs to be a qualifying-type tourney to keep it a true Classic, no matter if they have won it before. This isn't golf.

  • Cliff Peterson of Canton, NY writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions Only the previous year's winner should get an invitation, as it is now. No need for a change. Let's keep it a small field of the currently hot anglers who have earned a spot.

  • Tony Fraser of McBee, SC writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions In my opinion, past winners should be able to fish the Classic if they fish all the Elite tournaments for that qualifying year. Also, the exemptions should not be used to let other Elites into the Classic because the previous winner qualified through another means.

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