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  • Steve Krakowski of Chesapeake City, MD writes:

    RE: Balog on starting over – If bass fishermen were salaried athletes, I'd agree with zeroing on the final day for fan excitement. But they're not. They are competitors paying to compete. Opportunities to win are infrequent, and discounting 3 good days is a huge injustice. Ultimately, payday is greatly slanted to the winner, so until anglers are paid and not fishing for their own money, all days should be counted equally. As a fan, I actually find the "win from the back of the pack" very unsatisfying.

  • Mike Entile of Aurora, IL writes:

    RE: Sonar on Scott – A very well-written, heartfelt piece.

  • Tom Tanner of Jonestown, PA writes:

    Ray Scott's contributions to the sport of fishing are almost hard to put into words. I read about the very first Bassmasters Classic in a Sports Afield article back in 1972 and joined bass at age 17. Trout fishing was the big thing back then, but I was immediately captured by the new bass fishing wave and getting my Bassmaster magazine in the mail was like Christmas every month.

    My interest led me into a lifelong career in the fishing industry where I had the opportunity to meet Ray Scott and many other legends of the sport. I hope that the younger generation of fisherman can remember and appreciate everything that these great men did for us. Fishing would certainly be a lot different today without the men like Ray Scott, Jerry McKinnis, Forrest Wood, Darrell Lowrance, Tom Mann, Blake Honeycutt, Ron Lindner, Jim Bagley, Lonnie Stanley, Homer Circle and many, many others who pioneered the boats, tackle, and techniques that we have today.

  • Chad Keogh of Victoria, BC writes:

    RIP Mr. Scott. Thank you for starting bass fishing down a reputable, environmental and safe road.

  • Jason Reid of Medford, NJ writes:

    Balog on big baits – It's addicting, my friend. I got into the big stuff a few years back because, like you mentioned, it was an uncharted area for me and I wanted to learn a whole new way to catch better fish. It's still a learning process, four years into it. I may have destroyed my savings account, but the number of bigger fish makes that okay with me. I could never put all other tactics aside and fish big baits only, however. That is just crazy to me.

  • Linda Clapper of Port Clinton, OH writes:

    Aaron Jakub, regarding your comment on the article about Steve, I still remember that tournament very well! Did you ever stop smiling after that exciting catch you had, catching that bass on your very last cast that gave you the win by just 1 ounce for the co-angler side! I still remember you saying your face hurt from smiling so much. We still talk about that unbelievable and exciting tournament you had.

  • Robert A. Priest of Clarklake, MI writes:

    RE: Balog on Clapper – Joe, thanks for the article on Steve. Always best to do this type of tribute while a person is still with us, too often done when it is too late.

  • Jon Bondy of Windsor, ON writes:

    RE: Balog on Clapper – Awesome article about a great man. Last time I spoke with him he was as excited as he could be about all the bluegill he had recently gotten into. Lots of fans of his here in Canada.

  • David Reault of Livonia, MI writes:

    RE: Balog on Clapper – In addition to being a smallmouth legend, Steve is one of the most considerate and friendly people I know. There couldn't be a better role model or mentor for all tournament anglers to aspire to be like.

  • Mike Guerra of Las Vegas, Nv writes:

    RE: Balog on Clapper – Great tribute to a great man. Excellent article, Joe.

  • Aaron Jakub of Lincoln, NE writes:

    RE: Balog on Clapper – Mr. Clapper is one of the finest men I have ever met, and his fishing skills are second to none. I had the pleasure to fish with him on his lake in an Everstart tournament about 20 years ago, and I remember every minute of the day. Had to leave over two hours early to get back to Elizabeth Park. Master of handling the boat and we both had big bags, including me catching the winning fish on the co-angler side on my last cast as he was getting things ready for the long haul back. I believe Steve got 2nd with 22-plus pounds and I won by an ounce with 18-plus. Happy birthday, Steve. Glad to hear you are still at it.

  • Errol Duckett of Charlotte, NC writes:

    RE: Bonuses for former AOYs – The league has only been around since 2019 and this is the first year they have an AOY sponsor just like other leagues in the past. To go back and pay $50,000 to the previous winners is absolutely unprecedented. My hat's off to MLF and Bally Bet for stepping up in such a gracious way.

  • Paul Wallace of Cambridge City, TN writes:

    Agree with the need for non-endemic sponsors. All those you listed are absolutely used by fishing people. The need for a FedEx or ATT is necessary, but should be attainable. Thank you Mr. Morris and BPS for all you do, by the way.

    Google says 55 million people fish in the US, 25 million golf. That's a lot of buying power.

    TV viewing is problematic but golf does not have huge viewership, except maybe the Masters and US Open.

    Pro Bass fishermen/women deserve a bigger payday and I know B.A.S.S. and MLF are trying very hard. For a sport that costs so much to compete in ... boat, towing vehicle, electronics etc. ... there should be greater financial reward at the top.

    Also, winning a top level tournament should get you more than money. Exemptions for the next 3-5 years, automatic qualifications for Classic and REDCREST and other perks.

    BassFan says: There's no question that fishermen use a lot of those companies' products. The issue for the companies is how many people will be watching their commercials. A weekend golf broadcast on one of the major networks routinely draws in excess of 1 million viewers, and the companies are aware of the demographics of the viewership. For the companies, advertising to that audience pays dividends. They wouldn't do it if that weren't the case.

    The money in golf is so big that it's really not an apt comparison to pro bass fishing. Professional bowling, in which competitors are vying for similar purses to what they played for during the game's heyday in the 1970s, is a lot more similar. It also has similar viewership demographics. The PBA Tour was recently purchased by the Bowlero Corp. and, like fishing, has been successful in picking up a few non-endemics – Guaranteed Rate (also a sponsor of both B.A.S.S. and MLF), Kia, Snickers and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

  • Paul J. Wallace of Cambridge City, IN writes:

    Something that's always bothered me: Why are pro bass fisherman basically competing for the same or less money as they were in the 1990s? With every other pro sport going up in winnings, bass fishing payouts seem minuscule. If they would pay out 25 percent of what pro golfers get, it would be great!

    Maybe Joe Balog can do a breakdown of this.

    BassFan says: Where would the money come from? Golf's enormous prize purses are derived from its huge TV ratings and well-heeled viewer demographics, which attract non-endemic sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Citi, Charles Schwab, FedEx, Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Rolex, United Airlines and many others. It's really all about the eyeballs.

  • Tony Holzer of East Palestine, OH writes:

    RE: Lane's winning fish – Quote from Bass Pro Tour that the second weighing of fish the scale wasn’t zeroed, then why did the boat official say 1-15 three times, then 2-00 on the fourth try? If the scale was not zeroed you can’t announce the weight.

    BassFan says: There was no weight call, nor anything that could be mistaken for one, by the official the second time the fish was attached to the scale. "One pound, 15 ounces" was called twice – on the first and third attempts. The official quickly recognized a problem on the second attempt and directed Lane to unhook the fish and re-attach it.

  • Jason Reid of Medford, NJ writes:

    I honestly did not even know the REDCREST was going on. And I follow fishing. Is that bad? MLF has me confused ... still.

  • Tony Holzer of East Palestine, OH writes:

    RE: Lane's winning fish – I noticed it live that the fish was weighed four times, then I played the video on YouTube and yes, he weighed it four times. Go read Rule 11, Section F.

    BassFan says: Nothing occurred that doesn't align with that rule. As Tournament Director Aaron Beshears explained, the second time the fish was clipped to the scale (first re-weigh), the scale had not zeroed out, so that one became null and void. The subsequent official first re-weigh registered 1-15 and the second was 2-00.

  • Mike Maloney of Millstone, NJ writes:

    RE: Bonuses for former AOYs – It sure gives the appearance that the MLF has some major debt and can’t pay its bills. They now found someone to make good on overdue prize money. In business, optics is everything.

  • Maynard Logan of Fort Wayne, IN writes:

    Nothing against Bobby Lane or Luke Clausen, but did they change the rules for the REDCREST? In a normal BPT, after the fish is weighed twice and it doesn't make the required weight, the fish is released. Why in this case was it weighed a third time?

    BassFan says: Bass Pro Tour rules allow for a fish to be re-weighed twice. This applies to regular-season events as well.

  • James Melvin of New Wilmington, PA writes:

    So a fish weighs 1 pound, 15 ounces on a hand-held, battery-operated scale two out of three times, but because on the third attempt it was 2 pounds even, that is considered the difference between $300,000 and $50,000? I wouldn't feel comfortable with that scenario in a club event with $50 on the line. Good enough for MLF, though. What a horrible way to end your showcase event.

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