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  • Bill Barlow of West Grove, PA writes:

    If you look at the final results, Brian Thrift finished 2nd and Dudley and Morgan fished the Knockout Round. They had way more former Elites below them in the standings than above them. Say what you want, but Thrift, Dudley and Morgan are as good as anyone fishing the BPT.

  • David Harrison of Huntsville, AL writes:

    I thought Andy won the Chick event last year? And Thrift just finished 2nd in his first event. KVD looks overmatched to me. Be interesting to see who else goes back to the Elites.

  • Brad Sands of Orlando, FL writes:

    While the changes to the BPT were positive, the inherent problem is the possibility for a blowout at a 1- or 2-pound minimum. At least Wheeler waited till the final period to make it uneventful.

  • Rob Wattle of Venice, FL writes:

    While I still prefer a five-bass tournament, the new Bass Pro Tour rules make it watchable. Being on a big-fish lake helps, but I’m sure guys changed their strategies also. On a side note, Thrift and Dudley sure looked overmatched, just like Andy Morgan last year going up against those Elite Series anglers.

  • Ken Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    RE: Balog on BPT changes – MLF in its original format filled a niche in our sport. It would have been successful and I believe would have grown to the point of being able to change the game.

    This war Boyd has with B.A.S.S. is out of control. It seems like Boyd's attitude is that if he cant have B.A.S.S., he will simply take it. Boyd's problem is he doesnt have a product to take B.A.S.S.. The B.A.S.S. brand is too big. 500 thousand members, Bassmaster Magazine, B.A.S.S. Times, Bassmaster Radio, Bassmaster TV, affiliation with the B.A.S.S. Nation, along with conservation, youth, high school and college programs.

    Boyd thought he could take it all by simply gutting the Elites. He must have thought that all of us B.A.S.S. members only cared about the Elites. Well Boyd, I got news for you, the new crop of Elites can catch 'em too. And the new personalities are very refreshing.

  • Gerald Andrews of Benton, KY writes:

    Kudos to MLF for revamping their format to eliminate the dink-fests. It’s now worth watching and holds my attention. Good job!

  • Al Perry of Lafayette, LA writes:

    RE: Forrest Wood's passing – What a great loss for the fishing community. The man was obviously loved by many, a gentleman and a Christian says it all. Heaven has gained a good one, for sure.

  • Billy Stadele of Littleton, CO writes:

    RE: Balog on MLF changes – To a point I think you are right. They were 100 percent about expanding the audience on new TV networks with a highlight reel-style tournament with almost zero down time between catches. This, teamed up with a live scoreboard, would give people the illusion of watching their traditional stick-and-ball sports and give it a more familiar sports format.

    There were two big problems that they ran into that I’m not entirely sure that they were prepared for (although if they didn’t see it coming they clearly weren’t looking very hard). The first was that the anglers figured out the game way too quickly ... and everyone figured it out. All they had to do was find the schools of smaller, and frankly more willing to bite fish, stay on them and you would do very well. You would see anglers go through the same area three or four times per day before moving to a new area because these lakes are absolutely loaded with bass, and the majority of the bass population are smaller bass.

    Secondly, the vast majority of their audience is still "bass nerds" like us who were used to the traditional five-fish formats. Even though they claimed to have greatly expanded their audience to non-fishing people, I would bet that more than 90-95 percent of their live audience were people who already watch fishing shows and tournament action. Almost all of the anglers made their names by catching five big fish and being able to adapt and find big fish … there was almost none of that here, which made the product get stale very quickly (at least for me). I think that because of this reaction by the overwhelming majority of their fans, they were quick to adjust their format. In pretty much any business, especially when they have put so much moneyinto the product, you are going to listen pretty heavily to the majority of your audience, which in this case was looking for a change. Honestly, I don’t mind that they did it because I think that this change will help them retain more of their initial bass nerd audience. I couldn’t even watch the second Table Rock event because I got so bored during the first one.

    One thing that I noticed was that early on in the season they listed the average fish weight on the live ScoreTracker … that quickly vanished after they began to catch a ton of flack for all of the little fish. It is also gone from their Cup events that aired last year as well as the couple episodes that aired this year.
    I’ll still watch the BPT events … but probably not quite as much as I did last year where I was locked in for the first four events every day. Love the column!

  • Mike Cheeks of Kingston, GA writes:

    RE: Sonar salvages Rayburn – Miles, way to go, buddy! Glad You were able to have a good finish and keep your sanity through all the insanity! Have a great season!

  • John A. Argese of Greer, SC writes:

    Q: How many times did B.A.S.S. tweak it’s formula until it got it right?
    A: It’s still tweaking it 50 years later.
    Q: How many times does a professional sporting event stop to give an in-depth explanation of how to do something?
    A: Never. That’s what the post-game show and related content is for.

    The wheel has already been invented. Transportation vehicle companies don’t have to do it again. This anti-MLF bias is getting to the point of ridiculousness and tiresome. And honestly, it makes it easier for B.A.S.S. to ignore the glaring shortcomings in its business model.

  • Kenneth Bassler of Clarkston, MI writes:

    RE: Repeat venues – Some lakes and surrounding areas can support a tournament stop better than others. I understand trying to get exposure to fans in new areas, but facilities and lake production have to factor in as well. If an area spends money and does a nice job supporting/welcoming a tour event you may want to sign a multi-year deal or it may make sense to return in back-to-back years.

  • Ken D. Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    RE: DeFoe clears the air – I wish you well, Ott. We are all looking forward to the Classic and the Elite season in 2020. Good luck in the next chapter, bro!

  • Ronnie Festavan of Vivian, LA writes:

    RE: Forrest Wood's passing – I was blessed several years ago to be a small part of the Ranger family. For four years I ran a Ranger sponsored boat. We were required to attend sponsor meetings in the winter to tour the plant and learn about the new boats and equipment. As insignificant as my role may have been in the overall marketing plan of sponsor relationships, we nonetheless were treated like royalty. Forest Wood would meet and greet every one of us and take the time to visit and share some story with us.

    My first boat was a 1969 TR3 Ranger. I shared with Forest how I bought it when I graduated from college, before I even bought a home to live in. Meeting with him many times after that he would always ask me to tell that story again and would always laugh just as hard as the first time. He was a rare individual that the world may never see duplicated. My prayers are with his family and let them be comforted by their memories of such a great man.

  • Bryan Heaberlin of Deland, FL writes:

    RE: Balog on spraying – I would like to add that operations did not cease for the Army Corps of Engineers, who went right on spraying like nothing ever happened, and any agricultural sprayers also continued spraying.

    Spraying is beyond out of control in Florida.

  • Steve Craighead of Mt. Holly, NC writes:

    RE: Wood hospitalized – Forrest Wood is one of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. When the Classic came to Greensboro the first time, Forrest was sitting in the lobby one night and it was almost closing time and you could see he was tired. But as I was leaving with my 6-year-old son, Forrest’s eyes lit up and he asked me if he could show my son around the Ranger boat that was on display. Forrest really looked refreshed to be able to talk to and show my son around the boat that he was so proud of. My son still speaks of that experience as one of his favorite memories of Mr. Wood. Prayers have been sent.

  • Joe Balog of Deland, FL writes:

    RE: Balog on spraying – Please note: The pause in operations was temporary and well-documented throughout Florida. I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear.

  • Dennis Pentecost of Milford, IL writes:

    Some of the big names are gone from the Classic, but i would still spend my money and time to go, but not the Redcrest or what ever they are calling it now.

  • Doug Saunders of Lenoir, PA writes:

    RE: Repeat venues – If the venue is right, the fishermen are successful and the fans are supportive, sure, why not. But that doesn't mean these places should become annual stops. Lots of good lakes and lots of good venues to go to around the country.

  • Gary Stanek of Naples, FL writes:

    RE: Balog on spraying – How is it that the CFO of Applied Aquatics is allowed to be on the FWC board that makes the decisions about spraying? Talk about a conflict of interest!

  • Jim Finley of Coconut Creek, FL writes:

    RE: Balog on spraying – I normally like and enjoy Joe Balog's articles, but I'm not sure he did his full due diligence on this one. Anyone who believes Matt Phillips' statement that "they have stopped or paused spraying" is kidding themselves. FWC continues to spray daily on Okeechobee, Istokpoga and from what I understand, Lake Kissimmee. Lots of video proof to discount Mr. Phillips' statement.

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