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All Topics   October 2018
  • Don Myler of Champaign, IL writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will continue to watch the Elites. I have read the format for BPT and it's going to be hard to follow. With no fish to bring in, it will not appeal to a non-fishing person. This is who they are trying to attract.

  • Jesse Cermak of Minneapolis, MN writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Serious tournament fishermen will follow Bassmaster and FLW. BPT is for kids.

  • Frank Lapinski of E. Moriches, NY writes:

    I think that we will be diluting the talent pool too much, like in baseball. Instead of the best being in the Elites and a handful of top-notch guys in the FLW, now its spread real thin across three leagues. I also see MLF as a TV-based organization. B.A.S.S. has a great website, fantasy fishing, lots of things to keep you going when there was a lull in the season. MLF won't have fantasy because all results will be kept quiet for TV reveals.

    BassFan says: Results for the four MLF Cup tournaments will be embargoed for TV broadcast, but that won't be the case for the Bass Pro Tour events. Those will be available as they happen.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    I can’t believe Clent Davis is returning to B.A.S.S., after his story about failing at the Elites and how he was selling his tackle until Bill Taylor talked him out of quitting, which resurged him to come back to FLW and he gets lucky to win the FWC. Not a good team player.

  • Shawn Wallace of Gaffney, SC writes:

    RE: Tour poll – We would not know who the BPT anglers are if it were not for Bassmaster. Most of the pros have become arrogant in not believing that there are thousands of anglers as talented or better that don't have the financial backing to have the opportunity to compete as a pro angler. Don't bite the hand that feeds you! I'm with Bassmaster.

  • Michael Mooney of Grovetown, GA writes:

    RE: No entry fees for BPT – This news makes me like MLF even more. MLF is already the only tournament show I watch anymore. It is almost constant action and every bass caught is protected as best as humanly possible. Now our pros will be cared for too. That's great!

  • Barry Scarborough of Knoxville, TN writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will following B.A.S.S. No. 1. I think watching the weigh-ins is more exciting.

  • Robert Wisin of Tallahassee, FL writes:

    I hope FLW goes back to using co-anglers. Distinguish yourself from the other tours. I think they can work out a formula to make the pros happy, and if not they have other avenues. FLW was always about inclusion, not making TV stars. Change is all good 'til it's not.

  • Mark S. Poulson of Oakley, CA writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will follow whichever tour has free Internet live coverage.

  • Dean McKenzie of Tulsa, OK writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Bass Pro Tour and B.A.S.S. Elite.

  • Johnny McLean of Little Rock, AR writes:

    The bracket format that allowed Chris Lane, Avena and Swindle to get to the Classic is pathetic. How is it that anglers who catch heavier weights than other competitors on the same lake on the same day are eliminated? Also, winning an Invitational tournament is much more of an accomplishment than winning a crazy formatted tournament such as this one.

  • James Watson of Lampe, MO writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Bass Pro Tour.

  • Dave Robb of Grand Haven, MI writes:

    BPT has no entry fees! I just heard the remaining tours let out a collective "Oh, crap!"

  • Patrick Ross of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    RE: Tour poll – It is capitalism in its purest form. To compete and prosper you must adapt, improvise and overcome. If you don't, you will perish. The opportunities for anglers to advance to the top level are increased and the importance of the triple-A tournaments is increased. All three must create a unique indentity and brand of product. The competition between them is going to benefit the anglers immensely.

  • Danny Pollard of Titus, AL writes:

    RE: Tour poll – The more we have the chance to watch good fishing tourneys, the more I like it. Other than football, I don't watch network shows and record all bass fishing I can get.

  • Ron Livers of Collegeville, PA writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will be following all three circuits.

  • Steve Lindner of Lake Havasu, AZ writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Three tours? No problem. TV exposure will definitely increase the fan base. The question is, how big can it grow? It would be great to see out-of-the-industry sponsors get involved, and they will if the viewership is there.

  • Randy Brandenburg of Frisco, TX writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Is FLW in real trouble? Seems like it might be.

  • Bill Wedelich of Dolores, CO writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I'll be following all three tours – if BassFan covers these tournaments.

    BassFan says: We'll do our best to keep up with all of them.

  • Jimbo Vines of Paris, TX writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I'm pretty disgusted with the BPT attempted takeover, similar to the taste in my mouth watching all the political ads. It's not about conservation (or you wouldn't be seeing future BPT pros flipping and grabbing fish between their legs in the Classic Bracket). It's about money and that is fine – make all you can. It's about the drama that has turned me off from the NBA, MLB, NFL and soon to be college football. I could always count on B.A.S.S (since the late '80s and still will). I vote with my checkbook and will cancel all the outdoor channels as soon as the championship of the Texas Team Trail airs. I think the younger guys like the BPT and I guess as a 50-year-old business professional I have good ol' days syndrome, but I just cant see it any other way.

  • Shane Burns of Durham, NC writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Yes, looking forward to having three tours. I’m anxious to see if the BPT is all that it advertises. Probably won't pay to watch online if there are charges for viewing streaming.

    BassFan says: There will be no fees associated with the live-streamed coverage and archived shows will also be available.

  • Bill Bynum of Bethel Springs, TN writes:

    RE: Tour poll – BPT will be my pick.

  • Paul Hession of Pittsburgh, PA writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I'll be watching the Bassmasters.

  • Jerome Keller of Elkhart, IN writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I refuse to pay to watch the Bass Pro Tour.

    BassFan says: You won't have to pay, as coverage will be streamed online.

  • Tim Teale of Hot Springs, AR writes:

    Seems Bassmaster Classic qualification has always been the ultimate goa,l even with FLW anglers fishing Opens. What is its future and what is the big prize for BPT departees?

  • Steven E. Esser of Adolphus, KY writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will follow all three trails the same.

  • Ed Thayer of New Castle, PA writes:

    With 68 anglers going over to BPT, was that a sign how bad it was at B.A.S.S.?

  • Brian McClernan of Sicklerville, NJ writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I will stay with B.A.S.S. and FLW and I could care less about the BPT. I hate the format and I can’t stand how so many departed so many fans, from high school and college fans to the tournament angler fan.

  • Max Bauer of San Diego, CA writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Bass Pro Tour and B.A.S.S. Elites.

  • Gordon Paul of Anderson, SC writes:

    RE: Tour poll – With the addition of the BPT, I will continue to follow the Bassmaster Elite Series the closest with B.A.S.S. Live! and attendance at multiple Elite events. Heading into their 51st year as an organization and second decade of the Elite Series, the Bassmaster Elite Series is second to none in my book. From the spectacle of the morning launch to the excitement and drama of the daily weigh-ins, I can’t imagine anything better than the pursuit of the five biggest fish.

  • Larry Foster of Greensboro, GA writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I have no interest in the new Bass Pro Tour or the format for it.

  • David Gosper of Kissimmee, FL writes:

    RE: Tour poll – I've liked MLF from day 1. Wish all the tours would adopt this format, if they cared about the bass. Also, most exciting to see the pros react to every bite.

  • John Berg of Maple Lake, MN writes:

    RE: Tour poll – Will follow all three but won't watch any MLF BPT. Couldn't care less about a dink-fest.

  • Tom Cox of Canton, GA writes:

    When does the BPT expect to publish a schedule?

    BassFan says: No word on that yet.

  • Riles Rick of Baton Rouge, LA writes:

    Now that the dust is settling, FLW is left with little or no star power. It’s a no-brainer to switch to B.A.S.S. with smaller fields and little to no fees. The few who chose to stay must’ve been incentivized. Can’t imagine much sponsor money will stay with that circuit. They may become the feeder circuit Boyd’s wanting to create.

  • Kevin Crabtree of Sellersburg, IN writes:

    RE: Classic Bracket – Another tough break for Pipkens. The guy qualified for the Open Championship and just missed the Classic. Then on to the Bracket Competition, where he faces Chris Lane. If he was competing against most of the other folks he would have advanced. But that was how the game was set up and the way it goes.

  • Todd Langford of Great Falls, VA writes:

    The Classic Bracket thing is a debacle! What is Bassmaster thinking? That’s an insane way of punishing anglers in an awful time of year to fish, much less that’s how you’re going to qualify for the Classic. I feel bad for those guys, the decision to do that this time of year was purely a marketing driven decision and a bad one. How about normal points qualifying on good lakes at good times of the year. All those guys should make it just for driving there!

  • Steve Brown of Riverton, AL writes:

    RE: Balog on records – Good read, but I think there can be a “quick thaw” if the billionaires who own MLF can finally convince Anderson Media to sell B.A.S.S. to them.

  • George Fiorille of Moravia, NY writes:

    RE: Classic Bracket – The whole format sounds kind of confusing and boring!

  • Ryan Marino of Dallas, TX writes:

    It's almost November and BPT doesn't have a schedule yet. Some details should have been worked out before invitations went out.

  • David Stephens of Bowling Green, KY writes:

    RE: Balog on records – Sad to see the record books close, but I agree with Balog's statement that some of these records will now never be broken.

  • Kevin Crabtree of Sellersburg, IN writes:

    RE: Balog on records – Roland Martin and KVD fished in two entirely different eras, even though there is some overlap. Martin's official record of nine AOYs will never be officially broken, but I've always had a different take on it. KVD also has an FLW Tour AOY, along with two E-50 points titles from the early 2000s. To me that makes him the all-time great.

    I believe in my heart that Roland himself acknowledges KVD's consistency and domination as insurmountable when discussing status. And that's okay. Without Roland Martin, there may not be a bass fishing industry at all. I'm sure KVD acknowledges that.

    The BPT will no doubt have an effect on B.A.S.S. history books. The Classic records will be the most affected. If KVD doesn't win the coming Classic, then the 4-4 tie will remain forever.

  • Ken Welsh of Oshawa, ON, Canada writes:

    When are the boy wonders from Canada (the Johnston brothers) going to get the Bassmaster Elite invite? Both are ranked in the top 100 according to BassFan, and neither are in the BPT or Elites?

    BassFan says: Chris Johnston told BassFan today (Oct. 24) that he and Cory will compete on the Elite Series next year.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    Funny how B.A.S.S. says “the Opens are the main pathway to the Elite Series.” I think they meant after they scrape the bottom of the pool with invites. I wonder if the new “Super Elites” will be treated differently among their peers for not qualifying for the rank. Maybe call it the Invite Series.

  • George Kramer of Lake Elsinore, CA writes:

    RE: U.S Open coverage – Was glad to read results on the 2018 U.S. Open. Having a day blown out was disappointing, but necessary. And Lake Mead proved its stubborn self, yet again. Still, I understand there is a nagging feeling that sharing weight with a different partner each day is somehow unfulfilling. But pro anglers should look at the event for what it requires of them: fish, time and co-angler skill management (and cooperation). Like that game played in Canada on a longer, wider field with goal posts but with fewer downs of possession – that game is one of passing, running, blocking and tackling – it’s still football.

    The U.S. Open, shared weight or no, is still tough tournament fishing. With the Elites and the MLF series diminishing pro access, the Open is a rare event. Indeed, in the West, it is the seminal bass fishing competition. The record-setting field of 224 pros suggests what we often say out here: U.S. Open champion – the best title in fishing.

  • Richard Bowers of St. Louis, MO writes:

    RE: Balog on standards – "I take myself seriously enough to think that I may make a difference in the sport. True, I’ve observed a few key changes within the tournament organizations thanks to hot topics originally discussed here."

    Balog: I sometimes enjoy reading your column. However, I can assure you that your opinions and writings are not the cause of any changes in the sport of bass fishing.

  • Chad Keogh of Penticton, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: Gustafson's decision – Congrats to "Gussy" making the leap to the Elites!

  • Greg Lineberry of Galax, VA writes:

    I fished as a co-angler on the FLW Tour for several years. I used the new pull-cord PFD,s but what happens if you are thrown from your boat and knocked unconscious? I think the old school zip-up PFDs would at least keep you afloat. Just a thought.

  • Karen Hall of Columbia, KY writes:

    RE: Bland's safety message – Hunter is top-notch all the way!

  • Errol Duckett of Charlotte, NC writes:

    Congratulations to both Major League Fishing and B.A.S.S. alike. When the New York Times publishes an article about tournament bass fishing, the bar has exponentially been raised. It may not be NASCAR quite yet, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

  • Steve Brown of Riverton, AL writes:

    RE: Sealy Big Bash Splash – Sealy hopes/predicts up to 10,000 entries for the 35th anniversary tournament? When do we reach the point of diminishing return by putting too many participants on a body of water all at once?

    I’ve been involved with youth and high school bass events for years and I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the number of tournaments that have unlimited entries. The business of bass tournaments is good and the demand is strong at all levels, but I think we’re doing so at a very high cost.

    Placing hundreds of boats on any body of water is irresponsible and short-sighted. The local tourism boards are going to hurt themselves in the long run.

    We all say “grow the sport,” but at what cost?

  • Chris Boston of Tampa, FL writes:

    I don't see the BPT as the future of tournament fishing. Many I know love the weigh-in structure. The other is great for an edited TV show. I also think the conservation angle is being overstated – weigh and release, if done right, does not ruin a fishery.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    RE: Dudley to decide – Just when you thought the employee bidding war was over. At least Dudley will be bringing fish to a stage to awe the crowd instead of a video of someone weighing in 10 fish for 13 pounds to advance to the next round. Maybe the push-button reels will make a comeback.

  • Rob Hicks of Lula, GA writes:

    Would like to see Charlie Hartley back on Elites!

  • Brian Hopwood of Ridgeley, WV writes:

    RE: BPT's game day experience – The weigh-in and livewell fish days have passed. It is time for BASS and FLW to get with the program and out of the old format. Catch-weigh-release is the future of the sport and they all know it.

  • Jim Finley of Coconut Creek, FL writes:

    RE: BPT's game day experience – Why would anyone show up and watch a so-called weigh-in that's not even at the site of the tournament? The BPT believes that 40 anglers pulling into some offsite location with their trucks and boats, blasting showtime music, is going to be interesting? Oh wait, the exciting part will be getting to watch the anglers catch pre-recorded fish on a big screen TV. Now that's exciting! Why not just stay home and watch it live on TV?

    I think the BPT has a lot of work ahead of them if they believe people are going to come out to a post-game show just to see who the sponsors are. Good luck!

  • John Charles Cregger of Hardy, VA writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – People want fish, let's do build-a-bag. Have very realistic fake fish. 17 pounds? No problem. Load the bag with a 5, 4, 3, 2, another 3. Boom shacallaca, 17 pounds. Have live feed recorded for actual catches and angler can narrate each catch. People want fish, we got fish. Conservation all the way.

  • Tony Hill of York, SC writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – Don't understand why they didn't take a year and get all of this sorted out. Then, roll out the program and full details. Furthermore, I can't believe these anglers committed to an incomplete program that has about as many questions as answers.

  • Dean Martin of Westport, KY writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour –I think the whole deal has a bad smell to it. When the do-gooders get ahold of this it will hurt the small tournaments.

  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    I agree, pro bass fishing is a niche sport, as ESPN finally found out. The pros all sounded bitter toward the owners of B.A.S.S., but they are not running a charity event. Pros will be fishing for mainly their own money, unless a rich entity like Johnny Morris or another comes in with their check book. This appears to what has now happened with BPT. The next thing BPT is betting on is a big increase in TV revenue. They better check with ESPN on that one, even though they claim their model to be superior.

  • Ken Ballard of Lincoln, AL writes:

    RE: Favorite Zoom bait – My most current Super Fluke story is as follows. I live on Choccoloc Creek on Logan Martin Lake. I have a pontoon boat I fish off of (lost my bass boat to a fire ). I walk the bank every morning when the water starts coming up. This one morning I walked the bank for about an hour and I had over 20 pounds with my best seven fish.

  • Jimbo Vines of Paris, TN writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – I've already cancelled my Outdoor package on Dish and will not watch. I don't like drama in pro sports and fishing has been relatively immune until now and I don't care for it. If I have time to watch 2 hours of fishing, I'll just go from now on.

  • James Lee Ogstad of Caldwell, ID writes:

    RE: Ike's new show – I would not watch this little cry baby. Let him throw our flag in the water. We are tired of his screaming and yelling.

  • Charles Clary of Hattiesburg, MS writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – My hat is off to you, Bill, for following your heart and keeping your word. So many people nowadays are wishy-washy (two-faced).

  • Larry Gardner of Terre Haute, IN writes:

    RE: Favorite Zoom bait – The only worm I use is the Trick Worm, but I voted for the Brush Hog as it landed my only 10-pound bass.

  • Jimmy Yarbrough of Hartselle, AL writes:

    Probably won't change your opinion, but in fairness to B.A.S.S., the anglers requested the reduction in Classic money and the $200,000 went to the AOY Championship. B.A.S.S. lost money for the 10 years ESPN owned them and the first three years that Logan, Copeland and McKinnis did. I also found McKinnis' statement regrettable, but he is no longer one of the owners of B.A.S.S.

  • Jim Lamb of Williamsville, NY writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – Loyalty to friends and to the organization of B.A.S.S. speaks volumes of your character. Just became a Bill Lowen fan.

  • Scott A. Cremeans of Albany, OH writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – You, my friend just got a new fan. Well said and good luck in 2019.

  • Dan Phillips of Lawrenceville, GA writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – I was a marshal at the AOY tournament and drew Bill Lowen on day 1. I've fished all my life, 74 year old. Bill was very much accommodating. He fished 100 percent all day and explained why he was fishing with different lures. He treated me very well. I have great respect for him, He will win soon.

  • Lori Eggleston of Versailles, IN writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – Such a great article of a great guy and the love of his friend who is gone but always right by little Billy's side while he is fishing.

  • Chris Besselman of Warsaw, KY writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – Well said, Bill. Best wishes from the Gallatin County Bass Club!

  • Brent Story of Atlanta, GA writes:

    RE: Lowen's decision – Hats off to Bill Lowen’s conviction. I have friends who fish all the tours so I don’t take sides, but that article and Bill’s comments are moving. There is blame to go around in a lot of directions on why anglers have been struggling to make a living at the top levels of fishing. I commend the MLF guys for sticking up for what they felt was right and I commend guys like Bill for sticking with their gut. Only time will tell. I don’t think anyone can argue Ray Scott and B.A.S.S. were the ones who got us here. I say good for Bill and the best to luck to that man. I hope all three tours can thrive.

  • J.W. Hembree of Blue Ridge, GA writes:

    B.A.S.S. should cancel the 2019 Bassmaster Classic. Why would you want to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to guys who have left you high and dry? Why let them cross your stage, carry off your world championship trophy and promote their sponsors? Most of the Classic participants are leaving, never to return – let them leave in silence. Give the guys who are staying and have qualified for the Classic a golden ticket to be used in any future Classic, or is redeemable for $20,000 cash. This will take some guts from B.A.S.S., but Ray Scott would have done it if he was still in charge.

  • Charles Tyrrell of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – Livewell? Don't need no stinking livewell!

  • Edward Dyer of Alto, MI writes:

    RE: Jocumsen's opportunity – I was a co-angler with Carl in 2014 on Douglas Lake. I have seen his skills and knowledge grow the past four years through his hard work. Carl was an awesome guy to spend the day with, and I hope he can make his dreams come true soon. Good luck, Carl!

  • Mike Tubbs of Denison, TX writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – I, for one, “do get it”. B.A.S.S. did not step up until they were forced to. Does this mean in the past that they have been taking advantage of anglers who had fished with them for many years and were struggling to make a decent living?

    I believe the answer is yes. B.A.S.S. has become a self-promoting entity without regard to the anglers.
    Classic payout used to be $500,000, now it is reduced to $300,000. Not hard to understand.

    On a last note, it wasn’t too good for Jerry McKinnis to make the statement that only KVD will be missed. I believe that remark solidifies my opinion.

  • Jason Harris of Marianna, FL writes:

    It is amazing to me how FLW can increase their fees, especially in the Costas and BFLs, with the current issues that are going on. One of my best friends was offered to fish the Tour and turned it down. Many anglers are moving away from FLW, myself included. Coming in tied for 10th on Kentucky Lake out of almost 200 boats in the Costa event, the payback was only $4,200. This is exactly the reason for guys leaving B.A.S.S. What in the world is FLW thinking by increasing entry fees?

  • Bill Taylor of Benton, KY writes:

    RE: Jocumsen's opportunity – Great read on a truly great angler and an even better person. Wishing Carl success in the two championship events ... especially the Costa Series Championship on Guntersville.

  • Roy Barrow of Salisbury, NC writes:

    RE: BPT angler excitement – Andy better watch out, throwing words around like "non-endemic" ... really going to screw up his image.

    DId you forget who you are talking to?

  • Sam Birchfield of Conover, NC writes:

    RE: Kendrick's response – Spoken as well as it can be said. Its time for a change in pro fishing and MLF has brought change to the table. Myself and many others will be watching and even more important, learning from the increased exposure available to us. Good luck to all three organizations.

  • George Mrozinski of Sarver, PA writes:

    ESPN, the largest sports network on the planet, couldn't do it because it's a niche market and it will never be a mainstream TV sport. The MLF guys are going to make more money but they still have to pay to play. The only way that entry fees go away is through TV dollars and the big non-endemic companies aren't going to spend millions on advertising to a niche market. You'll never see ads from Dell, Bank of America, Capital One, Nike, etc., advertising on these shows.

    After listening to interviews, I think the MLF execs truly believe they can make it mainstream, but my prediction is that in 3 years they'll be on the same networks and time slots as always. MLF will last as long as Johnny Morris is willing to fund it. I hope it works, but regardless, guys like me will watch them all on cold winter days.

  • Mark Lamb of Wake Forest, NC writes:

    RE: Kendrick's response – Bravo, Jay Kendrick. One of the best objective responses that I have seen to date. Good luck to you as well as you continue to compete and chase your dream.

  • Tom Cox of Canton, GA writes:

    It's going to be difficult for B.A.S.S. to field 80 anglers on the Elite Series in 2019. Hopefully, B.A.S.S. can find a way to fill the field with competent anglers.

    The next shoe to drop could be the Opens – entry fee is too much, and the new regional alignment IMO requires too much travel and time away from work.

    Hopefully, B.A.S.S. isn't in denial because having so many longtime anglers leave en masse should be a huge wake-up call.

  • Gene Nornhold of Mt Sterling, KY writes:

    The time is here. Choices. It’s time we separate the pros and cons of bass tournament fishing. I’ve fished for 30 years in tournaments from the Redman trail to the BFL. Those are my roots. The golden days.

    Today the game has become a job. Do we really stop and think how lucky we are today to be able to have a job that we can enjoy? The BPT is another door that has opened to further dreams of our upcoming generation. B.A.S.s. Elites have taken a hit for the moment, but I don’t see it as a defeat. I see it as a chance to move young and new talent forward. The new and upcoming talent now has new doors open to live their childhood dream and be able to promote new and upcoming sponsors and grow together as a team.

    I can’t begin to comment on the FLW Tour. I’ve had the privilege to fish the All-American. This is such a family group of people that will strive to make sure your future will be successful. My roots will always be BFL and FLW. But looking at the big picture, there are three doors opened now to share our sport of fishing. It may take some time to rebuild the tour where it was, but new doors are open now for the future of our new talent. In the wide world of sports there are more than three teams to play for. So I feel that all three trails will feel the excitement of what the new young guys will bring. Good luck to all.

  • James Russell of Cypress, TX writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – Of course fishermen will watch. We are already watching Bassmaster and FLW. I think, however, that they are way overestimating how many non-fishermen will watch.

  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – Joe says there is a lot about MLF we just do not know. This is truly the part I do not like. When Ray Scott formed B.A.S.S. and his tournaments, he laid it all out there – cost to fish, how a fisherman qualifies, exact prize purse. But MLF is keeping much of their league info secret. Signed non-disclosure agreements by all. I have worked for corporations my entire life ... this reminds of a corporate takeover ... LOL.

  • Charlie Hartley of Grove City, OHio writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – I agree, we don't know all yet. Something smells fishy ... LOL.

  • Chad Keogh of Penticton, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – I think the majority of pros on the Elite Series chose to go to BPT because they knew the top names of the sport were going there. It would be like when the Gretzky-era Oilers were in the NHL. If the top guys from that team said they were going to a different, new, for-the-players league, they'd all want to go and not be left playing with AAA players who moved up to take their place.

  • Kenny Covington of West Monroe, LA writes:

    I would like to see what the opinion is about this next year's Bassmaster Classic. I would have to believe it will have a completely different feel to it and I am curious to see how B.A.S.S. responds to the anglers' mass exit.

  • Doug Wilkerson of Little Rock, AR writes:

    I have a question that I cannot find an answer to anywhere. With the B.A.S.S. guys leaving, what does this do to the Bassmaster Classic field? Will these guys who qualified but announced they are leaving B.A.S.S. be able to fish the Classic?

    BassFan says: B.A.S.S. has stated that all 2019 Bassmaster Classic qualifiers will be allowed to compete.

  • Blake Simpson of Cape Coral, FL writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – How long are these new tournaments going to last? I read only 40 anglers will fish at a time. And since I am in the scale business, 80 individuals holding a hand-held scale on a moving surface could lead to some issues. If ounces can be the difference between a paycheck or nothing, there could be some problems. Also, if there is no weigh-in, what is the fans' incentive for attending?

    BassFan says: The eight Bass Pro Tour events will each run for 6 days.

  • Riles Rick of Baton Rouge, LA writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – Spot on, Joe. As the process went along and younger stars hadn’t announced yet, I too thought they would stay and become the new faces of B.A.S.S.. There has to be a big nugget yet to be dropped providing total clarity. And it has to be finance-related.

  • Tom Baldwin of Cedar Hill, TN writes:

    I get MLF but I don’t get a tournament trail with that same format. Will there be marshals in each boat to update the score tracker? How will this format grow our sport if there won’t be a weigh-in?

    BassFan says: There will be an official on each boat during Bass Pro Tour events.

  • John A. Argese of Taylors, SC writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – Have they lost their freaking minds? No. Frustration is a serious motivator. Frustration over a period of time is a greater motivator. The opportunity to chart your own destiny? Excellent motivator. What's that saying about walking in someone's shoes?

    Yes, Joe, you've been an Opens angler for many years. I get that. How many years have you fished the Elite trail? Honestly, I don't mean that in a negative way toward you personally.

    I also know these guys aren't splitting the atom, defending our country or teaching children. It's a profession many of us would jump at the chance to have.

    You address the middle group of the profession, the end of career, beginning of career and superstar as those who have the most to lose. Maybe it's the opposite, Joe. Maybe the sponsorships are shaky. Maybe they don't get the camera time or no publishing time. Maybe the middle of the pack finally have a chance to break out. Maybe they have the most to gain.

  • Tommy Cauley of Bee Branch, AR writes:

    RE: Balog on tour decisions – Joe, very good article, my friend.

  • James Berg of Guntersville, AL writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – I am baffled at the fact that Bryan Thrift and Scott Martin were not invited.

  • Neil Ward of Pineville, KY writes:

    I’ve heard that some of the former Elite pros are trying to get Rooster Tail for a lure sponsor instead of Zoom.

  • Matt Mattingly of Gravel Switch, KY writes:

    I would be interested in reading how B.A.S.S. will fill the rest of their roster. Start with 110 Elites, then 70 of them switch to MLF. That leaves 40 guys with 40 more spots to fill. They will already invite 10 from the Opens, that makes 50. Where will the rest of the roster come from, and how deep are they willing to go down the Opens list to call guys up?

  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    If the worldwide leader in sports, ESPN, could not make competitive bass fishing a successful venture, I sure do not see how Boyd, Gary, and the others will. ESPN threw in the towel, and called it a niche market. Their market studies showed it always will be. It sounds like MLF is sure making promises it perhaps cannot deliver on. One thing about MLF though, due to them creating a new circuit ... it increases the money in all pro pockets.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    B.A.S.S. /FLW/MLF! The reality is if you are not already in a pro tour you are lucky because normal guys who love bass fishing are not able to afford to do it. $80,000 for a boat, $60,000 for a truck, $500 reels, $6,000 electronics, etc. Growing the sport?

  • Michael Gibbons of Timmonsville, SC writes:

    RE: Declined BPT invites – Well said boys. Drew, Seth, thanks for standing by your beliefs! You don't bite the hand that feeds you and a bird in hand is always better than two in the bush.

    I am the father of an accomplished angler. He and his partner won the Bassmaster National High School Championship in 2017. He was awe of B.A.S.S. and all they do for the sport at the Classic dinner he got to attend.

    Thanks to all the anglers for staying with what brung 'em and I will be looking forward to seeing your five biggest bass on the stage at every tournament.

  • Bill Patterson of Owasso, OK writes:

    RE: Favorite Zoom bait – Quite possibly one of the best days I ever had, my son and his best friend were sharing the boat with me. It was post-spawn and we were fishing 8-15 feet deep with shaky-heads in the Shell Knob area of Table Rock. I can't tell you how many "triples" we had that day fishing the Zoom Trick Worm on the shaky-head. We had an absolute blast. Great memories.

  • Brad McMahon of Appleton, WI writes:

    RE: Declined BPT invites – New favorite anglers!

  • Charles Bowman of Kernersville, NC writes:

    RE: Drew Benton stated: “I probably overanalyzed it more than anybody. My sponsors looked at the angler deck [information packet] and determined it wasn’t beneficial for them. If I can’t promote and get out there the brands that get me down the road equal to or better than the names that sponsor the trail, we’re going backwards in professional fishing.”

    In all the MLF TV I've watched, I've never seen an angler with his own jersey or advertising. IMO, Benton is smart to stay with B.A.S.S., purely from a business model. If Benton wants to own his business and work for himself and drive his own destiny, he's correct to stay at B.A.S.S.

    BassFan says: The Bass Pro Tour will not have the same sponsorship restrictions that Major League Fishing Cup events have. Anglers will wear their own jerseys and fish out of their own wrapped boats in BPT events. In the four Cup tournaments, MLF jerseys and boats will be utilized.

  • Steve Henderson of The Villages, FL writes:

    Change is inevitable in all situations. Concentrating on the sport, recruiting the next generation of anglers will be/is tough with the onslaught of electronic toys. This isn't something new ... the Snoopy rods of yesterday may transform a child's interest in fishing, but today's growth of the sport is driven by money. I encourage all fans not to be armchair anglers and observe the results before making judgment.

  • Ed Thayer of New Castle, PA writes:

    RE: Declined BPT invites – Seth said he was sleeping on a couch in his buddy's run-down house basement, ut he was fishing Opens in a $70,000 bass boat. What am I missing?

    That's just as bad as Brandon Palaniuk crying he was sleeping in the back of a truck his first year. Yeah, the back of a $60,000 Toyota Tundra!

  • Chad Keogh of Penticton, BC, Canada writes:

    RE: Declined BPT Invites – I wish the guys who stuck with B.A.S.S. the best. The opportunities for all anglers in all three tours got better with the launch of BPT.

  • Rob Dixon of Lewistown, PA writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – Could turn out to be great. B.A.S.S. has made the Opens so unbelievably expensive to fish it's almost comical, which is my main gripe. So if MLF creates something similar with a $500 entry fee, I'm 100 percent behind it.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – After listening to an interview with a high-ranking B.A.S.S. official this morning, B.A.S.S. is in denial about why this happened.

  • Bob Micks of LaCrosse, WI writes:

    RE: Bass Pro Tour – I think that this opens up spots for other guys to move up in either the Elite Series or in the FLW Tour. This is still good for the sport.

  • Skip Bennett of Texico, IL writes:

    RE: BPT invites – My pick on last two are Ike and MDJ.

  • Terry Bonsell of Fruitland Park, FL writes:

    How in the heck can the #1-ranked fisherman (Thrift) not get an invite to the BPT?

  • Robert Chote of Tampa, FL writes:

    I predict Thrift and Scott Martin are next to join the BPT. Martin is sponsored by Bass Pro and Thrift makes sense now. With Andy Morgan on board, those two seem like likely additions.

  • Bobby Locke of Inver Grove Heights, MN writes:

    Clunn and Fritts are fishing Elites in 2019 in one of your articles but you don't have them on your list of which tour they are fishing.

    BassFan says: The purpose of the angler decision tracker isn't to compile full tour rosters. It's a listing of anglers who've made a public declaration via social media of where they'll be competing in 2019.

  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    Three years with zero way for an angler to get into the MLF? Is this so that the older anglers in it can reap the windfall?

  • Chris Bowen of Jackson, MS writes:

    How is it possible that the No. 1-ranked angler in the world was not invited to fish the BPT, and yet the likes of Gary Clouse was invited?

  • Jeff Mitchell of Springfield, IL writes:

    RE: BPT invites – Gary Clouse? Sounds like someone bought their way into an invitation and that ruins the whole invite process. Shame on MLF for this.

All Topics   October 2018

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