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  • Paul Ryan of Naples, FL writes:

    Six thousand bucks to fish BASSFest? I thought I was seeing double. Congrats to all Open anglers who qualify, now refinance your house so you can fish it.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    FLW is increasing entry fees. FLW is cutting the field from 180 to 150.

    B.A.S.S. and FLW are using marshals and co-anglers, furnishing them a boat and driver at lower entry fees, which raises the pro entry fees. The marshals can't fish so they do not need to buy tackle. The co-anglers do not need to buy a boat, motor, trailer or vehicle to pull it.

    Bans on new lures. Canceling tournament days that anglers paid to fish for qualifying points and money.
    Classic qualifiers using bass caught in team events by other anglers and they are not required to be B.A.S.S. members.

    No more "win and you're in." Three-day entry fees at $6,000. Higher entry fees and fewer entries available.

    Where are we heading?

  • Jason Houchins of Clarksville, VA writes:

    RE: 2015 BASSFest format -- Congratulations Open anglers, you have qualified for BASSFest ... that will be $6,000! This blows my mind.

  • Dave LeVene of Manitowoc, WI writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions -- Similar to NASCAR's "champion's provisional," there should be a ranking order and an opportunity for an established, past champion to be in the Classic. While I understand that current performance is everything, isn't it really a shame that KVD is not in the 2015 Classic? Really? The best bass angler of a generation not able to participate? It simply seems that having this type of "provisional' opportunity should be available. Refined, and created to be fair and yet recognizing the past Classic champs.

  • James Smith of Lorain, OH writes:

    RE: Elite Series changes -- Please don't mess up the Opens and take qualifications for the Classic from them. They will become empty and interest would be greatly reduced. FLW thinks it would be a good idea because it would bring customers back to them.

  • Terry Bonsell of Keyser writes:

    RE: Elite Series changes -- Good changes. Reducing field even further would have been better. Create a true top tier and cut the field to 100.

  • Curtis Richardson of Belleville, ON writes:

    I have two questions regarding the recent FLW changes. First, why? Second, who does it benefit?

    It doesn't benefit the anglers who will now be spending more to fish for less. Cutting it back by 30 boats means there's $120,000 less per event in the pot and increasing the entries by $300 only adds $45,000 per event to the pot eaning that there's $75,000 less on the table per event.

    Will more sponsor money be added to pot to make up this difference?

    This sport is hard enough for guys to make a living as it is. I don't see this change been good for the sport.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to increase entries by $1,000 instead of $300? This would add $150,000 to the pot (per event), meaning the pot would grow by $30,000 (per event) even after cutting the field size by 30. Now there is more money and better odds of cashing a check.

    As for the changes with final-day sponsor boats, how does allowing guys to fish from FLW boats instead of FLW sponsor boats help anyone? It's not helping the pros because they are not able to showcase their sponsors and it doesn't help FLW because without guys running the FLW sponsor boats these sponsorships are worthless.

    Perhaps I am missing something and with further clarification these questions will be answered. Maybe there is more to this and in the end these will be changes for the better.

    Here's hoping ...

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN. writes:

    RE: Elite Series changes -- Years ago, long before the invention of Elites, B.A.S.S. Invitationals were limited by the number of contestants that the B.A.S.S. staff could handle during weigh-in, plus the size of the fishing waters and the available housing around it.

    The entries were first entered and we always had a waiting list. We also had a list of anglers that were automatically entered in all events. Then along came the Elites and marshals. This gave the pro total control of the boat and fishing waters and it also raised his entry fee because the marshal was not paying the same as the pro. This cut the incoming entry fee money that everyone was fishing for in half, so those controlling the boat had to pay more.

    Here's a suggestion to B.A.S.S. on how to change the Elites: Do away with the marshals, go back to two pros paying the same entry fee and fishing for the same money. Install the old B.A.S.S. rules that stated the two contestants had to agree on which boat to use and each could select the fishing waters and control the boat half the time, if that's what they wanted. The two anglers had to agree on this or flip a coin to settle it. This rule worked for over 20 years, we never had a problem with it and many friendship were created that have lasted for over 40 years. This would lower the entry fees as everyone would be paying the same. It would also allow more than 108 or 110 pros to fish, as everyone would be a pro paying the same entry fee.

  • mike kozub of vernon writes:

    RE: Balog on big water readiness -- I am continually amazed when I see in real life, and particularly on TV, anglers remove their vests after a run. What makes them believe they can survive a fall off the front deck is beyond me? Chilled water or even a hit on the head going overboard and it is all over, let alone the boat drifting away in the current.

    A friend related a story where his brother drowned on a beautiful Fall day with no breeze when he fell out of the 14' boat he was in. His PFD was on the seat. Personally, I have used an inflatable vest religiously since they received the Coast Guard's blessing. I figure at the least, if I go over and drown my wife will have a body to bury. I think it is insane to not use the inflatable vest at all times on the water and I'm glad to see a professional angler of Balog's stature is getting the word out.

  • Jack Miller of Pickerington, Ohio writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions -- I for one feel that B.A.S.S. should continue to allow Cliff Pace and others in a similar situation the opportunity to come back.

  • Chris Fondren of Old Hickory, TN writes:

    RE: Garmin GPSMap 1040xs review -- Great article Tim! I have never really looked into Garmin electronics other than seeing Scott Martin promoting them, I have never really looked into the capabilities of the Garmin units. Now I am intrigued!

  • Shane Burns of Durham, NC writes:

    RE: B.A.S.S. bans umbrella rig -- Very disappointing news by B.A.S.S., but the fishing purists, including the Elites, are fine with battery-powered fishing lures by Livingston. It's all about the sponsor $$$, not to mention the fish-attracting device that KVD and other Elites support with the HydroWave.

  • John Anderson of Empire, NY writes:

    RE: B.A.S.S. bans umbrella rig -- Glad to see this. I hope FLW follows suit all the way down to the BFLs as well. Does this mean the team tournaments that you can qualify for the Classic you will not be able use it? And to Skeet Reese's back-handed comment to the Open anglers -- I guess that shouldn't be fishing the Opens. Who do you think you are? I personally don't think if you call yourself an Elite or Tour angler you should be fishing the triple-A events anyway. It should be for trying to make it to the tours, not a second chance for you to qualify for the Classic because you weren't good enough to make the Classic. These guys still have to work a regular job and not fish every day like yourself. Don't know which one of you Cali boys is the worst cry baby -- you or Ish.

  • Jef Nelson of Tyrone writes:

    RE: PAA cancels season -- Since the PAA is a professional circuit how about making it a winter organization taking on Mother Nature in the harshest elements the best of the best will shine in the cold?

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    RE: B.A.S.S. bans umbrella rigs - B.A.S.S. just keeps adding rules that they can't enforce, such as this one and Rule C7 which states: "All Bass must be caught inside the mouth and verified by your partner before being unhooked."

    Several times they have been short on marshals, so they send contestants out alone. If contestants are allowed to fish alone, who enforces the rules about using umbrella rigs or counting bass caught outside the mouth?

  • Scott Strong of Layton. Utah writes:

    RE: 2015 Opens schedule No west coast. I guess it's to tough for the pros. They would have to learn how to fish. That ain't gonna happen. I won't spend any more money on these clowns, paper tigers at best. Sad, sad, sad.

  • Ray Arbesu of Henderson, NV writes:

    RE: 2015 Opens schedule Why does B.A.S.S. keeping leaving the west coast off the Opens? We have plenty of fishermen out here who would love the chance to have the same opportunity as the rest of the country.
    Disappointed to say the least.

  • Jason May of Huntsville, AL writes:

    RE: 2015 Opens schedule I like the diversity of the lakes on the schedule for next year! That is what a tournament trail should be like.

  • Curtis Richardson of Belleville, ON writes:

    Do FLW and B.A.S.S. have a different map than the rest of the world?

    Why is it that every year when the Northern division schedule comes out there is a James River, Chesapeake Bay etc. These are not northern lakes.

    There are many Canadians, upstate New Yorkers, etc. who would love to fish these but choose not to every year because of the added expenses associated with the extra travel. The Southern opens don't have an event on Lake Erie. Why are we going to Virginia every year?

    I have fished both of these tours in the past and won't again until it's a true Northern division. This time of year I check the Internet every day waiting for the schedules to come out, hoping that it's a schedule we can fish finally.

    B.A.S.S. is getting the boats, so I suppose they don't care, but the Rayovacs are hurting and I know they could really use the dozen or so Canadians who would jump at the chance if the schedules were conducive.

    Let's face it, the payouts in the Rayovacs and Opens are not very good and with this unnessesary travel it makes more sense for us to just jump up and do the Tour.

  • Jason May of Huntsville, Ala. writes:

    RE: Elite Series qualifications Interesting that one of those facing re-qualifying has two Elites series wins in Starks.

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