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  • Rick Riles of Baton Rouge, LA writes:

    "By next year we will be following the next generation of Elites, and there probably won't be much thought about the anglers who left for the BPT. Time usually heals all wounds."

    This statement is laughable. This great tournament will take a HUGE step back from this point forward. The fishermen made this event what it was. Those names will never be forgotten and it will take 20 years for the no-names fishing it next year to be anything more than journeyman pros struggling to survive. The top guys will continue to get most of the money available. Very sad day – it will never be what it was.

  • Bobby Forster of Spokane, WA writes:

    RE: Poche tips off Defoe – Props to Ott Defoe on this. Ott had the humility and class to share the fact that his friend helped him out and gave props where he should. Pretty sure Poche appreciated that and even though he had a disappointing Classic, he played a part in the win and was recognized for it. The only reason some people are upset now is because by Ott doing this it has brought to light a very common practice. Most of us have no idea who's helping who. Competitors room togather, work together to figure the fish out and help each other. The Johnson brothers even split the money. I see no issue with this as it's within the rules.

  • Jerry W Bullaboy of Salisbury, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on DeFoe – Joe, you are spot-on. Just one more great thing to be said about Ott is he is every fisherman's friend!

  • Craig Hughes of Kingsport, TN writes:

    Balog on DeFoe – Great article and you hit the nail on the head. A man mature beyond his years, on and off the water. Not just an old soul, but a very good old soul.

  • George Fiorille of Moravia, NY writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – I know how Keith feels. When I used to fish co-angler in the Elie tournaments I helped a couple of the pros cash and only got a pat on the back for it. Steak? Ott needs to buy him a whole cow.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    B.A.S.S showed class at the Classic! I still feel that if they would have addressed the anglers concerns, they would not have left. No matter what anyone says, the Classic will never be the same – at least to me it will not.

  • Roger Baillargeon of Windsor, ON writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – This is totally wrong, I agree with MLF rules. If Poche is going to share this info, it should be with ALL contestants. If Poche is rewarded in any way, this should be considered cheating! Another black eye for tournament fishing!

  • Brett Thomas of Sandy Springs, GA writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – Everyone loves Ott and I congratulate him on a Classic victory, but the truth is he should give Poche whatever money he is asking for. The reality is Ott doesn't win without that information. Which brings me to my point, if B.A.S.S. is trying to level the playing field with their new no-information rules, a competitor who is no longer going to be in the event should not be able to give another competing angler their juice. Just another example why MLF is so much a superior format to the other leagues to arrive at an angler who best figured the fish out. The bottom line is Ott doesn't win the tournament without that information; so that's not a level playing field to the other competitors.

  • Tony Holzer of East Palestine, OH writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – I think this is the second time Ott got info. Remember on the Mississippi he got info from Swindle when they were on the water. It's in the rules.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – I personally was part of a protest at an FLW event several years ago where the eventual day-2 leader was given information from another competitor who knew he wouldn’t make the cut at all, before the conclusion of the day-2 weigh-in. It was within tournament rules, but an awfully grey area.

  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    Well, that's over. Anyone else looking forward to the Bassmaster Vlasic in 2020?

  • Cliff Peterson of Canton, GA writes:

    RE: Poche tips off DeFoe – Yeah, technically no rule was broken, but the intent of the rule probably was. You can be sure that the only reason Poche gave Ott that info is that he was certain he wasn't advancing to day 3; otherwise, Keith would have undoubtedly kept that info to himself. In my opinion as a fan, stuff like that should not be affecting the outcome of the Classic. I would like to see the rules changed so that sharing of info could not occur once Classic week begins.

  • Dave Andrews of Hudson, MA writes:

    So was Keith Poche still "actively involved in competition" when he tipped off Defoe with the eventual winning spot after day-2 fishing had ended? I'm thinking Poche tipped him off because he knew he wouldn't be fishing himself on Sunday. Is this within B.A.S.S. rules? If I were Jacob Wheeler, I'd be asking some questions.

    BassFan says: It's entirely within the rules. All anglers are still involved in Classic competition until the day-2 cut has been officially made (unless they've been previously disqualified or have withdrawn for some other reason). Whether the angler knows he'll fall short of the cut line or not is irrelevant. Undoubtedly, Poche would've kept the marina wall location to himself if he thought he'd advance to day 3.

  • Ken Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    What a great Classic! Thank you to the BPT guys for helping keep this the greatest fishing tournament in the world. From what I saw, all of you were respectful and acted with class and dignity toward B.A.S.S. and the event. I can imagine it will be a tough ride home knowing it's the last Classic for you guys.

  • Michael W. Belter of Reidsville, N.C. writes:

    RE: Schmitt's swim jig tips – The jig that Schmitt "developed" is Dave's Tournament Tackle swim jig. Hayabusa is apparently making a copycat.

  • Ken Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    RE: Last Classic for ex-champs? – I have to say I'm sad to see these guys go. By next year we will be following the next generation of Elites, and there probably won't be much thought about the anglers who left for the BPT. Time usually heals all wounds.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    RE: Last Classic for ex-champs? – Great article, great guys and a little sad. An end to an iconic era for B.A.S.S. but also a new start for all.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: Balog's Classic predictions – I would think the odds are with the pros who, as Joe states, jumped ship. Come on, Joe, they switched to someplace where they thought they could make a better living! B.A.S.S. should have taken better care of the anglers they had, but their greed and profits got in the way.

  • John Kelbe of Garland, TX writes:

    The rule stated about the winning Classic Champion returning for 2020 seems to only apply to Elite anglers. What if a non-Elite angler wins? Does the rule still apply? And wouldn't the MLF guys not be an Elite angler?

    “To be eligible for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic, Elite pro anglers must participate in all 2019 Elite Series events in which they are eligible unless an exemption is approved by the Tournament Director.”

    BassFan says: A non-Elite Series Classic winner would need a special exemption from B.A.S.S. (outside the written rules) to return as the defending champion.

  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    RE: Balog on venue pressure – I have been tournament fishing since 1970 – that is 49 years, folks. I have, especially recently, kept my head in the ol' ostrich hole, but it is time to admit that tournaments are killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Time to just go fishing. No hurry, no clock, no worrying about the other guy, just go fishing and relax. Take it easy out there, fellow bassheads.

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