Oh my, am I going to get in trouble for what I will say today.
Before I say it though, let me make a few points.
Here at B.A.S.S. we always like to claim ourselves the biggest and baddest when it comes to bass fishing information and education. And we are.
Along with that, I think we have a responsibility alongside of all state agencies to oversee the waters that all bass anglers use, and I think we do a pretty good job there as well. Our Conservation Director Noreen Clough is an absolute gift from heaven, and she leads an incredible group of Federation Nation directors. I’ll bet very few of you bass fishermen out there know about these people, but believe me, they’ve got your back.
I also want to point out that all of our Elite anglers are not only real bass pros when it comes to finding and catching bass, but they are tops in the areas of teaching and conservation as well. You know what else? They’re very accessible to the fans and just darn good people to be around.
My last point is this. There might be 25 million bass fishermen out there -- not all are members of B.A.S.S. -- but we still have the responsibility to speak up when something happens that’s unfair to any of these 25 million.
OK, here comes the statement that will surely get me sent to prison. (Not really).
All the people I have just mentioned, professional anglers, weekend anglers, conservation folks, and the B.A.S.S organization plus the tourism people in the state of Wisconsin, have been totally insulted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The B.A.S.S event that will happen this week out of Green Bay was our mystery event. It was to be something truly special because our anglers didn’t know where we were headed until the last few weeks before it kicked off.
On the day that the Green Bay mayor announced the location, the DNR hit B.A.S.S. with boundary lines for how far we can go from Green Bay that were absolutely silly. Although they will attempt to give good reasons for their boundaries, they are still insulting.
Folks get out your map, and take a look at how large Lake Michigan is and then realize our Elite anglers have been put in a little bitty box. We have been told that transporting bass over 25 miles in a boat livewell will kill fish. Well, we have to be dealing with people who have not paid attention to the bass fishing world. The modern day boat livewell is unbelievable when it comes to fish care, and the anglers themselves, well, there is no one on earth who takes better care of fish than an Elite angler.
They had more reasons for the “Boundary Box,” but let’s not get into them because they are all alike. They are insulting. We didn’t fight them hard at the time because I was afraid we would get in even more trouble. But now I am thinking what difference does it make.
We just got finished spending the week in La Crosse, Wis., where the crowds were off the charts, fishing was top notch, and the people were the best. It had to rank in the top two or three Bassmaster events I’ve ever been to.
Now we are just down the road at Green Bay, which has access to possibly the best smallmouth bass fishing in the world.
But we are not allowed to fish all of it. We’ve been excluded from maybe the best parts, which will stop us from really showcasing what Green Bay has to offer to bass fishing. At a time when every state needs every tourist dollar it can get, I’m bewildered by this “Boundary Box.”
I hope that when the fish weigh-in starts we blow the doors off this area with great catches, in spite of being regulated. The people of Wisconsin deserve that exposure.
I also hope someone from the DNR reaches out and says they’re sorry for making the bass fishermen feel so unwanted, and next time let’s work together.
My response to that would be, “I am sorry, too, and yes, let’s start working together.”
'Til then, the “Boundary Box” stinks.