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  • Steven Rockweiler of Luling, LA writes:

    MLF buys the FLW Tour. Okay, the Tour is now a feeder for them. But help me with this: Duckett originally stated in forming his league that pro fishermen have been getting the shaft for years. He complained that B.A.S.S. was charging entry fees and the pro anglers were struggling to make it. B.A.S.S. was supposedly raking in the coins. Now it is going to be 40 grand a year to fish the FLW Tour. What gives? Is it the older pros in MLF are the only ones to have no entry fees ... in order to get them over from B.A.S.S.? The guys over at FLW do not struggle with finances like those who were at BASS? Sounds like Boyd, Gary, KVD, and the two billionaires financing this want to be the ones raking in the coins in the future. Interesting.

  • Ken Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    RE: Balog on the big reset Great article, Joe! I believe that if the new MLF/FLW format is going to work, Boyd will have to cave and get back to a five-fish limit, or maybe at least have a larger size limit. I mean, Edwin wins 300K on a school of fish a 5th-grader could have found. I don't get why Boyd thinks this is so exciting. He should try watching a few hours of live coverage and I bet he would even be bored. I guess one thing that will never change in this game is drama.

  • Brian Garrity of Preston, CT writes:

    I do like the idea of immediate catch and release, not for TV purposes, but for delayed mortality purposes. But there has to be a limit on the number of fish an angler is allowed to catch. I have no interest in the MLF format, it is boring.

  • Steve Colvin of Huntsville, AL writes:

    For 30 years, I have dreamed of bass fishing being a legit, live sport being broadcast on TV on a Saturday afternoon. Channel 1, baseball. Channel 4, golf. Channel 10, bass fishing. B.A.S.S. and FLW were not moving in that direction. The shows were delayed several weeks and were more of a recap. BPT is moving in that direction and has actually had live shows on CBS. That is huge.

    First, you don't have a sport unless the viewers and the participants know the score while the event is going on. Golfers don't take off and find out who won when they get done with the 18th hole. You have to know where you stand in relation to the other competitors to be a sport and for people watching to understand it. That is where ScoreTracker makes the difference.

    Second, while watching a live event, whether the event is best-five or every fish counts is not the point. I would equate that to a golf event being low score versus match play. It is a competition and the competitors know if they are winning or not.

    I will admit, I love seeing big fish get caught and the 1-pounders get old at times. That is an easy fix ... BPT could simply add up the best five caught so far and that was the fisherman's score ... wouldn't be that hard to add 5 numbers up. At the same time, there needs to be enough fish caught to be interesting for TV viewers ... we wouldn't want long spells of no catches because the fisherman were fishing for fewer bites/better fish and not catching enough for constant TV action. Needs to be a balance there.

    All in all, I like where BPT is heading. I love that fish are released and not dragged around in a livewell all day. I look forward to someday having a good day of fishing on Saturday morning and coming home to my recliner to tune into the live BPT event.

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

    RE: Balog on the big reset I think ...could easily be wrong ... that MLF/Duckett are holding off on the five-fish/heaviest limit until it grows to a fever pitch. Then when the fans think they won't get that system, they do, releasing pandemonium in the tournament world and plenty of excitement and viewers. Like I said, I could be wrong.

  • Chad Hill of DuQuoin, IL writes:

    For anglers who live in parts of the country with well-managed lakes that are chock-full of bass, I sort of get the unwavering love of the five-fish limit. However, there are many "hardcore" fans and tournament participants who live in parts of the country where it is often difficult just to go catch some bass. If you don't believe me, check the BFL tournament results in the Illini Division. You'll find very few limits.

    I have no problem with the f-fish limit. I've grown up that way. But I see the new format as a conservation winner! Whether you count the biggest five or all of 'em, I could not care less about that. However, weigh them and release them. Dragging fish across a stage is slowly killing our sport, especially at the local level where fish care is often not that great.

    Also, I like to see the anglers work their way through the day, the ups and downs, the flurries and slow periods, making adjustments, changing tactics. I think that all of that is much more on display with the MLF format.

    What I really don't get is the hate toward the MLF format from the five-fish limit folks. Support the format you enjoy, but don't hate on those who chose something different from you. The sport of tournament bass fishing evolved to the five-fish limit format. Folks are foolish to think it will not continue to evolve.

  • John A. Argese of Taylors, SC writes:

    MLF has done in less than 10 years what B.A.S.S. has been promising for 50 ... and never delivered. Taking one's fate into his own hands is a wonderful thing. Good luck to all.

  • Chuck Tyrrell of Bella Vista, AR writes:

    RE: Blake's emotions Great interview! I can only see good things ahead for the sport. I've been a fan of the sport since before Ray Scott did his bus tour. Keep up the good work.

  • Jim Finley of Coconut Creek, FL writes:

    I love John Cox's attitude about wanting to fish at both tour levels, but I'm willing to bet that the powers that be at MLF will not allow him to fish both.

  • Cliff Peterson of Canton, KS writes:

    Funding for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been reduced in recent years and many of those contracts have expired as a result and the grass plowed up and converted right back to cropland. And, if you consider all the energy inputs it takes to grow the corn (planting/fertilizing/irrigating/harvesting) that is used to make ethanol, there is very little net energy gained or saved when burning ethanol fuels vs. pure gasoline. It is mainly a bone thrown to farmers by agricultural state politicians, while those with marine outboards and small engines (chainsaws, lawn care equipment, etc.) continue to pay the price of shortened engine life and repair costs.

  • Rodney Clawson of Nashville, TN writes:

    RE: Balog on ethanol I agree with you on all of this article except for the "Environmental groups have rallied against ethanol expansion for years, as such has been responsible for converting millions of acres of grasslands to farmlands". You might want to cross-check that with some info from a non-environmental group source. Through the Conservation Reserve Program, the government has been paying farmers to take marginal cropland out of production since the 1970s. There have been acres of existing cropland converted to corn production, but existing grassland hasn't been converted to farmland in many, many years.

  • Scott Bennett of Claremore, OK writes:

    RE: Balog on ethanol Great article! Ethanol is terrible fuel and should be outlawed. Nothing runs good on it!

  • Bobby Munlin of Hemphill, TX writes:

    RE: Balog on ethanol My first comment is when they first put ethanol on us, the price went up because they said they had to add it to regular gas and now when we buy non-ethanol the price went up on it too. It should be cheaper since they don't add anything. I too had to have a motor dried out from the water/ethanol mix in it. Ten percent ethanol in my 50-gallon tank means 5 gallons of ethanol to soak up any moisture in the tank. What a sponge!

  • Ken Snow of Spring Valley, WI writes:

    RE: MLF acquires FLW When this all shakes out the B.A.S.S. brand will still be king. I'm sorry Boyd, but the MLF format will not catch on with most of the weekend tournament anglers in the country. Six days and two formats just makes your game more confusing than it already is. And now the FLW Tour is a triple-A tour to the BPT. I wonder how Thrift and Martin are gonna feel about playing second fiddle to the BPT.

    This MLF/ BPT was set up to take B.A.S.S. down by most of the Elite anglers bailing at the last minute. My opinion is that the B.A.S.S. brand is alive and well, and the new Elites are catching them just as good as the old ones.

  • Ed Stiefel of Mahwah, NJ writes:

    I see a lot of boaters buying cheap gasoline. I mostly use Sunoco and if that's not available, Shell or Mobil. Lee Sanderson from Virginia, an outboard highk-performance guru, told me that many years ago, and I've stuck with his theory, to use Mercury Quick Care every fill-up religiously and Mercury Quick Clean every few months or 50 hours.

    Ethanol is a battle and you have to keep fighting it!

  • Ed Stiefel of Mahwah, NJ writes:

    RE: Balog on ethanol Every fill-up I pour Mercury Quick Care in my tanks. It's suppose to neutralize the ethanol. Sorry to hear about your engine problems. Keep up the good writing!

  • Kyle Dennis of Kalispell, MT writes:

    RE: MLF acquires FLW Careful what you ask for ... you just might get it. I haven't followed a single MLF event since the split and I don't miss the VanDams or Everses of the sport as I don't believe the format is legit.

    As long as B.A.S.S. has a five-fish limit, I will continue to follow their Elite Series tour and Opens tournaments.

    I see zero acceptance or club tournaments that fish under the format that MLF pushes and I think it will take another couple hundred million and many years to change the opinions of us like-minded anglers.

    Just a reminder that there's a whole world of anglers out there you're alienating. We spend just as much or more money than the ones you're pandering to.

  • Matt Vermilyea of Perrysburg, OH writes:

    RE: MLF acquires FLW Great news! Over the years as I have grown in the sport of bass fishing I realize more and more that the greed of the major organizations was an issue. Despite the political and the business aspects of our sport, it had been a lifetime goal to rise to the top level. My time in the B.A.S.S. Elites was short-lived. Don't get me wrong I did deal with a lot of depression following dropping out. But the bottom line is I was one of 150 guys over 10 years to qualify. I have many friends who have tried to qualify over the years who are great anglers. I guess the stars just lined up for me.

    I've been very quiet the last few years when it comes to fishing. I've mainly been dealing with life and working on recovering financially (I'm almost there). Reading the MLF article has really lifted my spirits when it comes to our sport. I'm looking forward to 2020 I am truly excited. Who knows, maybe I'll make it to the top level once again and this time maybe I can afford to stay there.

  • Tom Tanner of Jonestown, PA writes:

    RE: MLF acquires FLW This should be very interesting to watch as it unfolds. The big question will be where the top dogs from FLW go will guys like Cox, Dudley, Martin and Thrift be given an immediate opportunity to jump to the MLF circuit or will they have to qualify to fish it in 2021? I'm sure B.A.S.S. would welcome that kind of talent to the Elite Series. In the long run, it may come down to their sponsors and where they want those guys to fish because money talks. The next question is what happens to the Bass Federation and all the club fishermen who make up the fan base for the pros what kind of junior circuits will they provide? Last but not least is what they will do with the college and high school programs, as that is the future of the sport.

  • Chance Huiet of Hardin, TX writes:

    RE: MLF acquires FLW I hate MLF. They are ruining professional bass fishing. "Everything counts" is the stupidest thing ever. Just my opinion.

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