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  • Randy Brandenburg of Frisco, TX writes:

    RE: Daiwa marketing – I couldn't agree more with the conclusion of your article. I'm 44 and in the '80's was when I was first able to buy my own gear. My first baitcasting were all Diawa due to the dream team (loved the poster). Then I started buying BPS brands because that is what I could afford.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson,TN. writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – Everything Joe points out about moving tournament-caught bass to a new location is a problem, but it does not have to be. Several years ago I developed a tournament format that would help the displacement of large numbers of bass. It was titled "Cash-In, Check-In", and it worked like this:

    Each contestant had to have the following coins to score his partner's catch – 4 pennies, 1 nickel, 4 dimes and 2 quarters (total: 99 cents).
    .
    You could only keep your two largest bass for weigh-in, all others must be released alive as they were caught. The first bass your partner caught and released was scored by you giving him 1 penny. Nos. 2 and 3 were also scored by pennies. Any bass that was put in the livewell to be weighed in was not scored unless it was released later, then it was scored. No. 5 was scored with the nickel and the 4 pennies returned to you. Same scoring followed for Nos. 6 through 9, then No. 10 was scored with a dime and the pennies and nickel returned to you. No. 11 through 24 were scored same way and No. 25 was scored with a quarter and the other coins were returned. Follow this same scoring to No. 99 and score No. 100 with a dollar bill or anything that represents a dollar, such as a slip-sinker, hook, etc.

    Keep your coins in two small coin purses so they are not mixed with the ones you receive from your partner.

    You can only weigh in two bass, so you first go to the Cash-In station and show the coins that you have received from your partner for bass caught and released. Remember, all bass can be scored regardless of the size or weight. Present your coins to be totaled, (for example, you have 1 dime and 3 pennies, so your cash-in score is 13). Now your partner shows the coins he has left, which should total 86 cents (these plus the 13 you scored total 99 cents and are returned to be used again). Now your partner cashes in the same way and you move to weigh-in with only two bass each.

    Your bass are weighed-in and totaled (example: 8.023, Bass should be weighed on digital scales in hundredths or thousandths of a pound to eliminate ties. So your weight of 8.023 is totaled with your cash-in of 13 and your daily score is 21.023.

    This format leaves all but two fish released alive at the location, it scores all bass that you catch and it prevents crowded livewells of bass rom being relocated. It keeps you fishing instead of burning gas looking for five bass. It allows you to use light equipment and different methods to catch bass, as all count on your score.
    This format could also shorten tournament days as it keeps you fishing instead of running, so you catch more bass and you are not just running and looking for five large ones. But the best thing it does is releases all but two at the location instead of relocating them miles away.

  • Ned Kehde of Lawrence, KS writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – Several years ago, Gary Parsons of Glidden, Wis., and walleye tournament fame suggested that all fishing tournaments should follow the lead set by the AIM Pro Walleye Series' Catch-Record-Release program. He said it was the best tournament series that he has ever fished, and he has fished scores of them.

  • Bruce Johnson of Lakewood, OH writes:

    RE: Daiwa marketing – My dad pro-staffed for Diawa for over 20 years in the Milwaukee area. Needless to say, I have a lot of Diawa product. Still have two Team Diawa Tony Bean smallmouth rods that I still use and are prized possessions. My 12-year-old son has now started to use them.

  • Remi De Matteo of Poydras, LA. writes:

    Thanks for your observation about the state of Louisiana bass fishing. I, too, fish in a local club and we struggle to keep membership up. Just in my short 15 years or so doing this, I've seen the Federation dwindle severely over the years. Certainly, money has a lot to do with cutting back on tournaments, but I think there's two other factors that need to be mentioned. One that we can't do anything about is the phenomenal saltwater fishing we're blessed with and the explosion of a bunch of redfish tournaments - that's where a lot of competitive fisherman went. But the thing we should be able to address is lack of leadership and vision in the organizations that promote bass fishing in (especially) southern Louisiana.

    The same good ol' boys have been in charge of our main organizations for years and have overseen mass exodus from these groups. Where are the younger guys stepping up for these roles? Where are ideas like a 175- to 200-hp limit tournaments to bring in new blood?,etc. I certainly don't have the answers, but like any group, everything starts at the top, and our tops have too much gray hair.

  • Tim Brown of Ridgetop, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – I'm not a fisheries biology major or scientist by any means and I'm sure tournaments do hurt certain locations by displacing fish from one area of the lake to another. I'm also sure that a lot of these fish die soon after being released, which also depletes the resources.

    To save our resources, we need to come up with a way to still enjoy tournament fishing and be able to weigh in our fish and throw them right back in the water, like the MLF does. They are on the right track, but I'm not sure how a club could use these methods.

  • Jonathan Manteuffel of Huntsville, AL writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – For big tournaments, or even smaller if the state would provide the fish truck, what's the feasibility of taking angler surveys live at weigh-ins and trucking those fish back to the area that a majority of the anglers said they caught them at?

  • Curtis Richardson of Belleville, ON writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – A big problem I see regarding this is tournaments always going out of the same location (i.e. Plattsburgh on Champlain, Anchor Marine on Chesapeake Bay, the list goes on and on). I realize there are logistical factors, but constantly rotating through multiple launch sites will greatly alleviate the problem of stacking areas.

    Another issue I have a problem with is major tournaments held on the Great Lakes during the spawn. June 27 (heart of the spawn on Lake Ontairo) there is a BFL out of Clayton, NY. Smallmouth are very easy to catch on beds and events like this will greatly hurt the fishery. Hundreds of 5- and 6-pound fish will be caught and displaced during a very critical time for the fishery. Organizations are always talking about fish care and so on, but then they schedule events like this.

    Our tournament impact on these fisheries can be greatly lessened by some simple, common-sense scheduling (timing and location).

  • Brian Waldman of Coatesville, IN writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – Simply put, some in the bass fishing community have been expressing this concern and related such matters for over a decade now. The industry and the anglers (tournament) have just chosen not to listen. I'm guessing your thoughts on the matter will conveniently get passed over, also.

    Part of the problem is that waters throughout the country, and bass species, vary in their response to relocation, so for every study that suggests a negative impact, there will be another that suggests things aren't so bad. As such, no real changes ever get made.

  • Mike Guerra of Las Vegas, NV writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – Great article. Informative, with factual basis. Balog is spot-on. I'm seeing the same thing happening on the Colorado River lakes – Mead, Mojave and Havasu. Keep up the great job, Mr. Balog.

  • Steven C. Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    RE: Gerald Blanchard dies – He is on the big guy's circuit now ...he is tearing 'em up. I hope he holds a spot for me till I get there! Condolences to the family.

  • Bill Howland of Isle La Motte, VT writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – Joe, Thanks for your thoughtful review and comments. I appreciate the good use of this report.

  • Matt Mahle of Sunbury, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – This article hits close to home for my father and I. For years we have looked forward to fishing Ruggles. My father's fishing days are dwindling fast – tournament fishing is something that is getting harder and harder for him to do – but no matter how our season goes I have always taken him up to Ruggles late in the season .. and it has long been the "cherry on top." For years,Thanksgiving weekend has been about giving thanks, family and Ruggles Reef!

    My father and I have logged more trips to Ruggles when we questioned our own sanity than I can count, only to be rewarded with more 5- to 7-pound smallmouth than anyone should be allowed to catch. That, however, has changed dramatically in the last 5 years.

    My father is going to be 68 in a couple weeks and he cannot take the pounding boat rides that Erie dishes out, and Ruggles was the one place I could always take him and he could just enjoy a day of fishing. But for several years now it has been a ghost town, devoid of smallmouth, and unfortunately, now devoid of dad and I.

  • Joe Smith of Lorain, OH writes:

    RE: Balog on displacement – I'm sure there is science to displacement with bass. The real problem with Lake Erie bass is walleye trollers keeping them. For example, if you had to name some of the best remaining areas of Lake Erie, they would be Canadian waters or Pennsylvania east to Buffalo. The amount of walleye shoreline trolling that goes on in these areas is very small compared to the U.S. western basin and central basin. St. Clair is another good example – hardly any trolling compared to one good weather day back in Ohio.

    Using oversized cranks like Reef Runners allows for one set of hooks to flail around, damaging fish boat-side or in a net, which every walleye angler uses. So many fish running around with 1 eye near Ruggles or Lorain. Canadians can only keep two walleye, so their rate of fishing Lake Erie is not that great compared to the U.S. That's why the North Shore, Pelee and Hen islands all still have fish, but right across the border it sucks.

  • Steven C. Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    The heyday of modern bass fishing may well be behind us. I remember in the '80's, the Louisiana Association of Bass Clubs (ALBC) had 600 clubs. They now have under 100. I see in numerous publications, such as the Louisiana Sportsmen, several clubs advertising for members. Some clubs are down to just a few guys.

    I own a 15-year-old Triton and still fish regional tournaments. It isn't cheap by any means. I've been doing it since 1970. I see young fellas all the time at the launch with a $40,000 truck and a $65,000 rig. They have a young family and fairly new house, but are riding the edge of sensibility. I asked some this past year why they did not compete in any tournaments and they actually told me they had little money for gas after all the notes and insurance.

    We used to regularly draw 200 boats or better 20 years ago in these tournaments, now they are lucky to draw 30-40 boats. These guys don't comprehend yet that you do not have to have the same rig and equipment that KVD does to be a bass fisherman.
    erous publications... such as the La. Sportsmen, several clubs advertising for members. Some clubs are down to just a few guys. I own a 15 year old Triton and still fish regional tournaments. It isn't cheap by any means...been doing it since 1970. I see young fellas all the time at the launch with a $40,000 truck and a 65,000 rig. They have a young family and fairly new house, but are riding the edge of sensibility. I asked some this past year why they did not compete in any tournaments.... and they actually told me they had little money for gas after all the notes and insurances. We used to regularly draw 200 boats or better 20 years ago in these tournaments... now they are lucky to draw 30-40 boats. These guys don't comprehend yet that you do not have to have the same rig and equipment that KVD does to be a bass fisherman.

  • Ronald Fithen Sr. of Rayland, OH writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions – Yes, but only the last year's winner. Nobody else should get a free ride.

  • Harold Sharp of Hixson, TN writes:

    Another B.A.S.S. champion passes. Ray Scott received a call from Gerald Blanchard's son that Gerald had passed away. Gerald won the Dixie Invitational Bass Tournament on Smith Lake in Alabama in October 1967.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    Please, bass fishermen, open your eyes. Ground beef is near $10 a pound. Everyone is having a hard time making it unless they are rich. The pros who have the money are the only ones making it. It is going to get worse! I know local bass club guys that are not going to be able to fish this year!

  • Joe Armold of Yantis, TX writes:

    RE: Classic exemptions – Yes, I think the winner deserves a spot.

  • Bill Horne of Penhook, VA writes:

    RE: Gray makes Classic – Brandon is a class act and a great fisherman, and a longtime friend. Congrats and good luck in the Classic.

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