Of B.A.S.S. and Cheese

Category: article

 Jun 29th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Jun 29th, 2012 at 12:00 AM

I rarely jump into the controversial side of professional fishing.

Actually, that is false. For years, I’ve been a prodding spear in the side of professional tournament fishing, highlighting both good and bad. I’m never one to shy away from controversial subject matter, but this B.A.S.S. controversy regarding the Green Bay event currently underway was something I wasn’t sure was worth adding my pre-tax two cents.

Moments before take-off on Day One on Green Bay. (Photo BassFIRST)

I can’t help myself, so here is.

My opinion, not
OutdoorsFIRST Media’s opinion, but mine. It is a pathetic situation, on many levels and on both sides.

First off, there has been extensive research regarding the mortality rate of bass at pro-level fishing tournaments. A variety of legitimate institutions and not just the tournament organizations conduct research on this subject. Just surf the internet and you can read all about it. Not the weekend warrior events where the money is not there to fund the best equipment to preserve as many fish as possible, but the pro organizations where healthy bass equate to dollar signs. You bet they fight to save the fish.

If these events were so darn detrimental to the fishery, in this case Green Bay, why was the permit allowed in the first place? Perhaps the controversy emerged late in the game because of another lame attempt by the anti-tournament, anti-sportfishing, faux conservationists to impede a group who do nothing but support, promote and protect sport fishing throughout our country?

Now, one assumes B.A.S.S. went into the permitting procedure and finalization of the event with knowledge of the outcome. One assumes that would include what the boundary limitations would be for the anglers during the event while finalizing contracts and legal paperwork.

If this information wasn’t finalized prior to giving the event the okay, what was B.A.S.S. thinking? How could they leave any chance for the notoriously politically influenced Wisconsin DNR to drop the hammer on them? Don’t we all remember the battle to allow culling a few years back?

To add to this, many, if not most of the B.A.S.S. Elite Series pros seem very ticked off about this. In fact, the lead dog of the bunch, Kevin VanDam penned an article on the B.A.S.S. website expressing his disapproval, which is understandable.

Kevin VanDam (Photo BassFIRST)

However, one of the owners of the organization, Jerry McKinnis, also fired off a note regarding the Wisconsin DNR decision on the company website. I was somewhat surprised by this. Not his opinions, which are valid for sure, but the fact that this came as a surprise to anyone involved at any level at B.A.S.S. who deals with the Wisconsin DNR regarding tournament fishing, especially at the pro level.

Where was the oversight at B.A.S.S. management? How could they place the anglers in this position? Sure, the Wisconsin DNR did not have to place these ridiculous restrictions on the event, but at the end of the day, it sure seems odd nobody saw it coming. It’s like drinking a bottle of Beam on an empty stomach and being surprised you got hammered!

Of course, B.A.S.S. will produce an awesome television program highlighting this tremendous fishery, Green Bay and the rest of Wisconsin’s tourism industry will benefit from the added exposure. The Elite Series pros will find ’em and catch them.

Ideally anglers will be motivated to come and spend money in Green Bay, as a group we spend a ton of dough, don’t ya know. I just hope the negativity that both B.A.S.S. and the Wisconsin DNR have instigated doesn’t leave a taint on what otherwise is an incredible event in one of the finest fishing states in our Republic.

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