There's a Bassmaster Elite Series event coming to town this spring, and this time they aren't letting any of us "non-professionals" fish out of the back of their boats. Well, you know what we should do? We should just hold our own tournament right on top of it – call it Beat the Elites. Same days, similar rules, the whole deal.

Let's find out if those wrapped-boat boys are really better than us, or if they just fish for a living because they've got the money and the time to do it. Heck, we've got nothing to lose: If we don't beat 'em, well, we shouldn't. After all, they're professionals. But if we do beat 'em, even some of 'em, then that'll prove what we've known all along – we're at least as good as they are, and maybe better.

We'll set ourselves up in direct competition with these yahoos. Man, this'll put a twinkle in the eye of every good stick this side of the Mississippi who's just never gotten the break he needed to become a quote-unquote pro, or never had the time or the money or the gumption or whatever. It's the perfect opportunity to test ourselves against the so-called best – what other sport gives us that chance?

Remember when those guys came up here in June 2 years ago? That rookie from South Carolina, that Ashley kid, won the whole deal, and he didn't even average 15 pounds a day. Heck, we can do that without ever leaving the docks. And this will be more than a month earlier, so the fishing will be even better.

Smith Mountain's a big lake – 20,000 acres. That's more than enough room for 200 boats. Let's get it on!

That darned BASS, they deserve to have a monkey wrench thrown into their tournament. They listened to those spoiled whiners' complaints about how some co-anglers behaved, and then threw the whole lot of us out of the game. And when that happened, the pros all yukked it up like they'd just won some lottery or something. Made me sick.

Yeah, so maybe some guy down in Texas just couldn't keep himself from casting to an 8-pounder on a bed that his pro had been checking on for 4 days straight, and he hooked that fish before the pro could get into position to cast, and he boated it. The pro missed the 50-cut by a pound and went home with nothing to show for the $7,000 he laid out that week, but so what? He had all that sponsor money to fall back on.

Then there was the guy in Alabama who watched his pro catch pig after pig on this one particular lipless crankbait. He didn't have one just like it, but he tried a bunch of similar ones with no luck. So he started badgering the pro to give him one, and the pro finally wore down and forked one over. He zipped his first cast out toward the front of the boat, right where the pro was fishing, and hooked a 9 1/2 that would've put the pro who found all those fish – not to mention figured out how to catch them – into the 12-cut with a chance to win on Sunday. But, hey boys, those are the breaks.

Hey, how about this: To add a little spice to our tournament, we'll offer a $1,000 bonus to any angler who beats the winning pro's total weight. That'll generate some added interest right there. If some guy collects it, well, for the rest of his life he can tell anybody who'll listen how he beat VanDam, Reese, Davis and all those other guys at their own game at the same time and in the same place. Man, wouldn't that be something?

You don't think that bonus thing has the potential to bring about any kind of funny business from our guys, do you? For example, let's say the guy who's leading our tournament after 3 days is some win-at-all-costs character, and he's within a pound or so of the Elite Series leader. He wouldn't, say, have one of his buddies go out and harass the Elite guy all day and then split the bonus with him if he won it, would he? Nah, it'd never happen.

And as tough as this economy is, that and the $12,000 we'll put up for 1st place sure would come in handy. I've read where some of these pros were carrying on about how hard this downturn's been on them, but heck, they're fishing for a living and we're not. They don't even want us fishing behind them when they're fishing for a living. The more I think about it, the more I resent their whole attitude.

So let's do this thing. Phooey on all this stuff about affecting guys' livelihoods, Classic berths, Angler of the Year chances, yadda, yadda, yadda. If these guys are as good as some make them out to be, then they should be able to overcome anything we do. We've got a lot on the line, too – mostly our pride, and that's worth a lot more than money.

Besides, whatever happens, BASS deserves it.