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  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: AOY Championship – It is not very smart to schedule 3- or 4-day tournaments on the Great Lakes. Bass boats were not designed for the Lakes. If B.A.S.S. does go there, they should guarantee anglers 3 days, no matter what conditions arise.

  • Dean Meckes of Clayton, NY writes:

    RE: Defoe leaves Escanaba – It's a delicate balance. Good luck, Ott.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Is it fair to cancel a tournament day for anglers trying to qualify for the Classic or AOY , or to win some money? I understand the safety part, but the wind can get up after any day's start and before check-in. Anglers pay to fish during tournament days. If they are not allowed to fish, it affects their money winnings and that's why they pay to fish. If conditions require a day's cancellation it should be rescheduled so the anglers have a chance to improve their money winnings.

    B.A.S.S. should reschedule the AOY event with the days 1 results carried over to another location. They have 3 1/2 months left in 2014, find a lake and reschedule the rest of the AOY event. It's not fair to anyone to not allow the anglers to fish for Classic and AOY qualifying, plus the money that's involved. Just move it south and reschedule the last 2 days. The anglers paid to fish 3 days and try to qualify.

  • Patrick Ross of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    Remind me again why this tournament exists. I thought the AOY was the guy who had the most points at the end of the tournament series. Now you say 50 guys are fishing one tournament to decide the AOY? That is ludicrous.

    Now instead of trying to garner the most points possible, you fish to finish in the Top 50. It is degrading to the anglers and demeaning to the Elite Series, and to top that off they go to the Great Lakes to hold the tournament, where a change in the weather can kill you.

    Wake up, Mr. McKinnis. If you want more exposure, do more of the BASSFest tournaments instead of of this AOY tournament.

  • Carter Northcutt of Frankfort, KY writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating – I quit fishing a particular national circuit a few years ago due to cheating and disregard of the rules by the people running it. One infraction even took place in front of the tournament director. Their basic response was they did not see the infraction that took place on the water so it was our word against the other team. Well, I thought we all policed ourselves. There aren't any refs out there watching us. Fortunately there are plenty of other tournaments to fish if I so choose.

  • Charlie Baker of Moncks Corner, SC writes:

    I think a Classic winner should be given an exemption of 3 to 5 years, sort of like NASCAR does at the All-Star race.

  • John Barbaro of Leesburg, FL writes:

    I want to first thank Mr. Sharp for his many contributions to the sport of bass fishing. However, I can't agree with him on his assessment. KVD is the BOAT.

    Martin and Clunn were still fishing while KVD was winning a lot. They had all the advantages and use of the modern equipment and could not keep up with KVD. Fish do not know how old you are. If anything, the five-fish limit should have been to their advantage.

    KVD has fine-tuned the art of fishing because he was schooled by the likes of Martin, Clunn, Dance and Bassmaster Magazine and refined his skills to the next level.

  • Thomas Hack of Mount Gilead, OH writes:

    RE: Balog's day gone awry: Joe, you sir, are a class act. Wow! What a great response to a heartbreaking situation. I have followed you, fished against you ... and now totally admire you. We need to be thankful for the gifts God had given us and more importantly, allow Him to work in his timetable. You will be blessed!

  • Phil Lipscomb of Huber Heights, OH writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions: I believe a 5-year exemption for winners should be considered for those who continue to fish the Elite Series.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating: FLW handled the Tony Christian situation about as poorly as they could. This guy cheated other guys out of thousands of dollars and got a slap on the hand without any explanation to other competitors. He deserved jail time. After that incident, I pretty much lost confidence in Operation Bass to police their tournaments.

  • Joe McMinn of Huntsville, AL writes:

    RE: Balog on cheating: I've always steered clear of "buddy" trails for this very reason. Anytime there's money on the line, there's obviously that potential element. I would rather fish in a more policed atmosphere where the guy in the back of the boat provides the checks and balances. Even though that scenario isn't foolproof either, it helps. Good article.

  • 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.

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