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  • Mark Weichold of Phoenix, AZ writes:

    RE: Tyler's Open win – Wow, and to think I was Mark's partner in his first win – a Red Man on the California Delta in 1997. Times really do go around and come full circle. I wondered what happened to Mr. Tyler.

  • Del Smith of Castalia, OH writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – In tournament fishing there always seems to be that X-factor that comes up and bites you right when you think you've got it all wrapped up. In your case it was mechanical, or it could be the weather or maybe the fish just pack up and leave (ask Chris King about that one). Even with all the planning and preparedness in the world we all know deep down we are at the mercy of our engines. That's just a fact of high-performance machines.

    Joe, I can't tell if you're a better fisherman or writer, but I do like your articles. You have the right perspective on competitive fishing and I'm sure you'll get another shot at 'em.

  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    RE: U.S. Open – I see that Clifford Pirch’s third Open title story is aging faster than pork rind on a console. I think it deserves more. If you watch bass fishing shows with the AC running then you only know the antithesis of Lake Mead summer bass fishing. And while many dream of a win in the Forrest Wood Cup or Classic, those require a tour commitment. In the West, we dream of a U.S. Open title – but they are both scarce and hard to get.

    Anyone can enter, but few rabbits get pulled out of caps. HOF’er Mike Folkestad, Aaron Martens and now Clifford Pirch have three titles each. Rick Clunn, Byron Velvick and John Murray have a pair each. The likes of Dave Gliebe, Gary Yamamoto and Gary Dobyns are among the balance of one-time winners. But who’s not on the list is just as telling (those having fished it and never won). There you will find the likes of Larry Nixon, Tommy Martin, Guido Hibdon, Denny Brauer, Roland Martin, Zell Roland, Ken Cook, Randy Blaukat, Cody Meyer, Fred Roumbanis and Jay Yelas to name a few. The Open carries a tough and honored 32-year tradition.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    B.A.S.S. has an article posted on its website titled "KVD is the BOAT," which stands for Best Of All Time, then it compares KVD's record against Roland Martin, Rick Clunn, Larry Nixon and other great bass anglers. This is not a fair comparison as all these anglers' prime tournament periods were at a different time, with different rules and equipment. All are great anglers, but they excelled at different time periods. Examples: Roland started in 1970, he won seven B.A.S.S. events before he finished out of the Top 20 for the first time. KVD started in 1987, his first win was in 1991, his second was in 1995. Roland had 16 by that year and Clunn had four Classic wins by then.

    Clunn started in 1974 and his first win was the '76 Classic. Roland had eight B.A.S.S. wins at that time, but no Classics. Many of the anglers that Roland beat in his prime years are now in the Bass Fishing Hall Of Fame.

    Tournament limits were 15, 10 or seven when Roland and Clunn started, today they are 5. The best equipment was a Lowrance or Hummingbird depthfinder and all they did was flash on fish, so the equipment was not what anglers have today.

    KVD, Clunn and Roland hold most of the records, they are all great anglers, but they each achieved that at different times, against different competition and with different equipment, so to name any one the BOAT (Best Of All Time) is not a good way to judge these anglers.

  • Michael James of Coal City, IL writes:

    RE: Classice exemptions – A Classic berth should be earned through points or winning. I can see an exemption for the previous year's Classic winner automatically qualifying.

  • Nelson Sigelman of Vineyard Haven, MA writes:

    RE: St. Clair Open rescue – This accident is another example of why boaters should not rely on cell phones alone. If you are going to be out on the water, carry a VHF. They float, they are waterproof and they can save your life on the water.

  • Jim Holcepl of Rocky River, OH writes:

    RE: St. Clair Open rescue – Glad you ended up okay. I highly suggest getting at least a handheld VHF radio. What if you had no cell service? The VHF marine radio has a purpose ... get one!

  • Jim Ramsey of Charleston, SC writes:

    RE: St. Clair Open rescue – I used to be stationed at Coast Guard STA St. Clair Shores so I know how bad Lake St Clair can be. You were very lucky the cell phone got through!

    All boaters listen up: Always carry a handheld VHF radio with a fully charged battery. A VHF radio can easily reach the Coast Guard and other boaters whereas a cell phone can't.

    Be safe!

  • Joe DiGiovanni of Sterling Heights, MI writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – What a story, Joe, thanks for sharing. You are correct, this is just fishing for money. And he way you ended this article speaks volumes on what's really important in life.

  • Rich Zaleski of Stevenson, CT writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – I think I've just found a new favorite pro fisherman.

  • Geoff Evans of Turnersville, NJ writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – Joe, you are a real class act. You are a great ambassidor for our sport. Hit me up if you want to come down and fisih the Delaware River or Upper Chesapeake Bay.

  • Kevin Barrows of Redford, MI writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – Joe, you hit the nail right on the head. It is just fishing for money. I have not fished a bass tournament in 3 years after I was on a marathon local tournament circut schedule. I would fish at least 2 nights a week and every Saturday and Sunday on top of a full-time job. After some reflection I realized the time I was taking away from my family and the things I was teaching my two young boys. Basically they were learning that fishing for money was more important to me then they were.

    I gave up the tournament thing and just fun-fish now with, of course, my boys. Life is better and I have realized that there are more important things in the world then just fishing for money.

  • Steve Jones of Moss Point, MS writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – I thoroughly enjoyed Joe's description of his final day and all he went through. Even though I live in the Deep South near the coast of Mississippi, i was pulling for Joe to win the Open and be rewarded for a lifetime of learning and fishing the Great Lakes. I could hardly could wait to find out what happened that last day and his write-up said it all. Also his comment that "this is just fishing for money" says it all about bass tournament fishing.

    I admire Joe for his honestly and the professionalism in which he took defeat. Thanks for sharing his article.

  • Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, TX writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – Very well said.

  • Charlie Hartley of Grove City, OH writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – A classy response from a first-class competitor! You will create the opportunity again. You can sit at home on the sofa and nothing bad will ever happen ...

  • Ryan Chandler of Hebron, IN writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – That was one great article, Joe, enjoyed reading it. You nailed it. Great job on the water as well.

  • William L. Payne of Calhoun, GA writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – Joe Balog is a winner by any measure, no matter the outcome of the tournament. His writings show that. Although I don't personally know Joe, I am very impressed by his attitude.

  • Ramon Iglesias of Clewiston, FL writes:

    RE: Kreiger headed to Elites – Congratulations, Koby. The crew at Roland Martin Marine Center is proud of you.

  • Duane Snyder of Hanson, KY writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – One of the best pieces I've ever read about a tournament fished. Very classy guy. I became a big fan of Joe Balog after reading it. Thank you.

  • Karl Kalonka of Bradford, ON writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry – Straight from the heart. One of the best articles on professional fishing and having your priorities in the right place. Congrats, Joe.

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