Pete Robbins' wish list

It is the nature of bass fishermen to be unsatisfied with the status quo. If you ban the Alabama Rig, there will be a vocal contingent that wants it allowed. On the contrary, if you allow it, there will be an equal number of anglers who are convinced that the end of the world is near.

Make a schedule that’s diverse and doesn’t seem to favor anyone? Everyone will be mad at you.

DQ someone for breaking a law? Anglers, fans and even casual anglers will come out of the woodwork to complain about the law itself (although few will actually take the time to contact a legislator).

It’s not necessarily that we’re a bunch of whiny crybabies, although there’s a fair number of those in the mix. Instead, it’s the fact that we participate in a sport that doesn’t reward winning as much as it mentally punishes the failure to reach some unattainable level of perfection. The pitcher who throws a no-hitter or the team that wins the Super Bowl is satisfied that they’ve reached the pinnacle of their sport, but the guy who wins a tournament always seems to rue the fact that he could’ve won by more. No matter how much your five weigh, it’s a near certainty that they’re not the five biggest in the lake.

I’m no different. There are things in professional bass fishing that I’d like to see changed. I don’t think any of them is outside the realm of possibility, and I take pride in my belief that all of them would better the sport, and not at the expense of any individual or group. With that in mind, the following is a wish list of four modest changes I’d like to see in the not-too-distant future. I realize that the schedule and rules have been set for 2014, but I’m thinking long-term, as I think we all should. Mostly, I just want more of the good stuff and the opportunity to iron out a few wrinkles.

  1. I’d like to see B.A.S.S. go to a 10 tournament regular season for the Elites. Eight just isn’t enough. I believe that the change from 11 to 8 was made with the anglers in mind, allowing them to muddle through a difficult economic situation, but it simply doesn’t allow enough variety in waters or in seasons. As a second part of this wish, I’d like to see at least half of the events on the schedule be on lakes or rivers that B.A.S.S. hasn’t visited since the start of the Elites. I know that logistics and mileage need to be considered, but what’s stopping them from going to old B.A.S.S. stops like the Columbia River, Havasu, Minnetonka, Buggs Island or Lake of the Woods – or preferably even a few that B.A.S.S. has not yet visited?
  2. I’d like to see B.A.S.S. find a way to get television coverage for the nine Open events. Having worked a few Opens in recent years, I know that they operate with a skeleton crew and that finances are tight, but it would be great to add these events to my ever-filling DVR. The reasons are simple – first, I think the Open level guys need some coverage, too, not only because they’re out there working hard, but also because otherwise some of the stories will be lost to history. On a more selfish note, with only Classic coverage, eight Elites, All-Star week and the Winning Ways shows, there’s far too little Bassmaster on TV to hold me over from year to year.
  3. I’d like to see B.A.S.S. do away with the pounds-and-ounces scale and go to one that measures in hundredths of a pound. This wouldn’t eliminate ties, but it would substantially reduce their likelihood. On several occasions we’ve been confronted with how or where an overtime period would be held with no good answers. At the Classic, for instance, there’s no way to send the anglers back to the lake after the Day Three weigh-in, and by holding it on Monday you’d lose most of your crowd. Furthermore, I think the arbitrary nature of the tiebreakers weighs against invoking them whenever possible. If I catch 15 pounds a day, why should you win or make the cut because you caught 18 pounds one day and 12 the next? Or why should you win because you caught more fish of a lesser average size? You might as well reduce it to whichever of the tied anglers can tell the best “Yo Momma” joke.
  4. This is the one that gets me the most. It’s the “Bassmaster Classic” – not the “Bassmasters Classic” or the “Bass Masters Classic.” Any outdoor writer who doesn’t get it right should lose his press pass. Any angler who makes the mistake should be docked 5 points in the AOY race for each occurrence. It’s still the biggest and most prestigious event the sport offers, and being a word geek that one drives me crazy.

Simple stuff. Let me know what we can do to make it happen.

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