Same place, different time

There may be a lot of folks who want to compare this event with the 2008 derby when Paul Elias set the record for the all-time weight record.

Truth is there’s not a whole lot to compare.

Yes we are in the same place. But really? It’s not even the same time of year. Change the timing on a lot of great events by a week or more and things start getting a little dicey.

By any account the Day One catches of this event, any place other than here, and the pundits would be singing praises so high you would think it was the second coming.

When is the last time Day One was led by 34 pounds, 13 ounces or more? When was the last time 20 pounds didn’t turn a head and only left you in 45th place?

Most of us can’t fathom such a thing. Even those of us who have chased these guys for decades and set on the sidelines for the seven-fish limit events, followed by the Amistad events, then the 2008 Falcon event and all the California events. I don’t care about your expectations, you don’t ever get used to 34 (almost 35) pounds leading an event: That’s almost a 7-pound average.

Yet, angler after angler walked up to the stage on Day One with what most of us would regard as a truly impressive stringer of fish and held their heads low in some semblance of shame.

What is wrong with this world?

I won’t even start to answer that question. If you were to look at 2008 versus this year, you might get a little start to the answer. Even then you have to wonder.

Let’s take a look at that event versus this one. The most obvious thing is the top five after Day One weren’t even fishing the Elite Series in 2008. Their expectations were those placed on them by the words of those who fished that legendary event.

The top guy after Day One, who actually fished in 2008, is Rick Morris. He had a limit weighing 27-14 and is in 6th place, which is amazing in any fishery. In 2008, he had 25-7, which put him in 46th place. He may actually be the most pleasantly surprised of any angler in the field at the moment. Just five years ago he would have been in 28th place.

Given those numbers it’s hard not to compare. For instance, 50th place (the all-important position to make a check) was 24-11. You would barely make the top 20 this year. But if you were to look at almost every Elite event, sans these Falcon and Amistad events, with a Guntersville thrown in, you would be leading Day One by a wide margin.

The 50th place position after Day One of this event is 18-12, held by Cliff Crochet. That would have put him in 89th position in 2008.

There is an obvious huge disparity in 2008 versus 2013. But there is also an obvious case to make that Falcon remains one of the most amazing fisheries in the country. Where else could some one walk to the stage with a 20-pound stringer and hang their head in shame? But where else could that same shameful angler walk from the stage and feel like he still has a legitimate shot at catching a 30- to 40-pound stringer the next day.

As we watch this derby progress we will see some of both: The shame followed by the unheard of heroics.

We have to remind ourselves that this is not 2008 (obviously the top five first-timers were able to do that) but realize it is still the amazing fishery most of us were introduced to just five years ago, just not record-setting amazing.

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