News from Rea Valley

Jerry McKinnis

Remember how I've said in the past that I don't like the expression "Grow the sport?" The reason for that is the fact that, in my opinion, it's an overused phrase and one that is not acted on enough.

At the end of every bass fishing idea, those three words are thrown out there. Every new format or plan around our sports ends with "grow the sport."

Well, I think we should go about our bass fishing business doing as many right things as we can, work extremely hard and keep quiet about what we want to do. But that's just me.

With all that said, Toledo Bend Reservoir and Many, La., opened my eyes a bit.

Here's an area that has a fabulous fishery, but also has a fishing tournament every 15 minutes. Why should they turn out in mass to our weigh-in and activation area?

Well, I know we haven't been there for several years, but you would have thought that we had never been there and this was their last chance to ever see KVD, Alton Jones and Skeet Reese weigh in a fish.

The crowds were enormous and energized, I must add. In fact, our first four events of this season have all been like this. I expect good crowds at our events, but these first four have been off the charts.

Wonder why that is? Are we finally ... dare I say it ... could it be ... that we are ... No, I'm just going to leave it at that.

Yes, we are halfway through our season and the competition has been sensational with four outstanding champions. Shaw Grigsby, Edwin Evers, Davy Hite and Dean Rojas.

Look at those four names. They're all bass fishing super stars and all four are the kind that you'd want to teach your kids the lessons of life -- and bass fishing. Wow, that sounds like a good book title.

Let's set event champions aside for now though, and look closely at the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race.

This list is just as impressive as the event champions list. Alton Jones and Terry Scroggins have been relentless when it comes to consistency in the first four Elites. Alton keeps knocking it out of the park then looks around and there's "Big Show" Scroggins standing just a smidgeon away.

This is fun, because as you know these two bass fishermen are really, really good.

So, there you have it. Half of the season is over and Alton Jones or Terry Scroggins have pretty much wrapped up the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. Right?

You have to be out of your mind.

Get this, the next three behind Jones and Scroggins are KVD, Chris Lane and Jeff Kriet. All three are just one good day behind the leaders.

Folks, we've got a heck of a race going here. One that could help ... oh, I want to say it so bad, but I won't.

By the way, I want to remind you that the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year angler will be crowned after our eighth event in Decatur, Ala., this year and the following event will be one where everyone -- bass anglers and fans -- will get the opportunity to play.

It's Toyota Trucks All-Star week beginning July 23.

Here is the plan. You know that we normally take the top 12 from the Angler of the Year list into this week of competition. This year we have a wrinkle in the format.

The top eight will get a free pass and the last four will come from fan voting. We'll explain in detail how this will work in a few weeks, but for now you should be following the full 90-angler list to determine who you think probably won't be in the top eight, but you think should still be an All-Star team.

If you're a baseball fan, you know what I'm talking about when I say that's kind of how Joey Votto made the baseball All-Star team last year.

This whole All-Star week is going to be held on the Alabama River in Montgomery, Ala., and it will be quite an affair. One that not only will you want to follow on the internet and television, but you might just want to be there in person.

Well, that's the news from Rea Valley, Ark., today. Bassmaster Elite Series halfway home and absolutely nothing settled yet. So many positive things happening though and I really think we're ............ Let's just leave it at that.