Is there a magic pill for getting more people interested in pro bass fishing? Some people seem to think so.
Put me on that list because us guys at BassFan thought so: Build it and they will surf in. ESPN thought so, and ramped up TV coverage and production of its events to previously unseen quality levels. And most recently, I presume FLW thinks so with its $1 million fantasy fishing payout.
Starting next year, you don't have to be Scott Suggs to walk away with $1 million of Irwin Jacobs' (or Wal-Mart's?) money. But you do have to pay attention to Scott Suggs, along with the other pros and the sport itself.
I like that, especially if FLW's ginormous fantasy fishing payout ends up being more than a 1-year program. Because over time, you should hear people who've never uttered a word about fishing saying some version of, "What? A million dollars for fantasy fishing?"
That's right, bro. Fishing.
You, the non-fishing people, better know who Jay Yelas is. All those guys. You better know a little something about Beaver Lake and all those places. And in the course of doing that, you will find out who Kevin VanDam is and the other guys fishing that other big trail.
(And if you, the non-angler fantasy fishing player, need some advice from us fishermen and fisherladies, it's going to cost you – 20 percent. Okay, 10. Let's put that in writing....)
I hope, for starters, that FLW's bold move gets the millions of folks who fish but who don't follow pro bass fishing to follow the sport. Because it's fun, and now with the Internet, DVR technology and all the other tech stuff out there, it's easy.
Don't think they will? Well, they've at least got the tools: They know how to fish. And a million bucks gets people's attention. I wouldn't be surprised if you could make a couple-hundred-thousand just teaching a course on FLW pros and the FLW schedule to people in Vegas.
Which leads to my second hope: I hope people who don't know a bass from a mailbox also get into this. And they should: It's a million bucks!
Did I say should? They will. Because it's a million bucks. Insert your money cliché here: ______________ (money talks, whatever).
If FLW's new fantasy fishing program goes past a year, and maybe even if it doesn't, I wouldn't be surprised to see sophisticated mathematical models developed to predict who wins what event. People have done it for office football pools, and that's only for 50 bucks a week! (But I hope someone whose family needs the money wins it, not some gambler-type.)
If that type of culture grows up around fantasy fishing, and if everything else happens that could happen as a result of this, great – not the gambling, but the resulting visibility. Either way, my hat – or as my kids would say, my hair – is off to FLW for trying it. It takes guts to stick your neck that far out, and I admire that.
Plus it's a great idea, and exactly one guy in this business could pull it off. Good job, Irwin.
(And so what if he wants to sell some more boats because of it? If he does, he's that much smarter.)
Oh yeah: the magic pill. There isn't one, or at least there hasn't been one yet. Instead, there's a bunch, working together. Now we can add a million more to the jar.
Jay Kumar, the hide-and-seek founder of BassFan, is chilly right now in Jersey, but occasionally still gets fired up.