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  • 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.

  • Michael Grovesteen of Fruitland Park, FL writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions B.A.S.S. needs to stop trying to be like NASCAR and golf. The Kentucky Derby would be better full of longstanding traditions that have stood the test of time. Quit changing the Classic rules and how you qualify for the most prestigious event.

  • Luke Michaels of Hilton Head, SC writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions This will probably be one of the greatest turnouts at the Classic. When KVD is out fishing, he is not on the show floor meeting all the fans of the sport. Just think of the impact he will make this year!

  • Greg Ginneberge of Hamilton, OH writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions As much as I like KVD, he didn't fish well this year and doesn't deserve to fish the Classic. I also think they should to do away with the "win and you're in" format. The Classic should be for the best over the entire year, not the best at just one tournament.

  • Shawn Carnahan of Gilbert, AZ writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions The reigning champ should always be at the next Classic to defend the title. All other non-qualifying past champs can have a fish-off at the AOY venue, winner gets in the Classic.

  • Raymond Leon Rose of Splendora, TX writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions The answers is yes. As in golf the past winner, should get to fish in the next year's tournament. KVD is the best fisherman on the planet and should be fishing in this tournament for the next 5 years. He is the best of the best and he has done more for bass fishing than anyone else who has ever fished.

  • Roger Pope of Statesville, NC writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions Only the previous year's winner should be invited back due to the hectic schedule following winning the Classic. Otherwise you will have 75-year-old retirees fishing as the years go on.

  • Doug Amos of Mallorytown, ON writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions I like to see established fishermen in a championship. Just think what the Classic would be like if it was filled with rookies from the Elites and unknowns form the Opens and Federation. If the big names are not fishing then I am not watching.

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