No help is real help, part 2

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Steve Bowman

I don’t claim to be perfect. Regardless of what I said in part 1 of this column about not getting help. There is another point of view. I’m told that something like 20 percent of the guys voted against the new “no information” rule. I don’t know why, but I’d like to hear their explanation. Maybe they see something I don’t.

While I’m on my soapbox I’d like to talk about something else — prefishing.

We can still prefish up until a month before the tournament, or at least that’s how I understand it. The thing is, you can’t fish with anyone else. I respect B.A.S.S. and the way they handled that part of the rule. They have to be fair to everyone. Nevertheless, I think that it might be too much.

If I were making all the decisions, I’d restrict it even more. Truthfully, it’d be fine with me if we couldn’t fish a lake or river at all from the moment a tournament site becomes public. We’d just show up on Wednesday night, have a rules meeting and get up the next morning and go fishing.

I’d like that because it suits my style of fishing and I’m in favor of almost anything that puts me closer to the winner’s circle. Another thing in my favor is that I’ve been around long enough that I have a pretty good working knowledge about where we’re fishing and what’s there. Maybe that gives me a leg up on some of the other guys who are new to the game. Here’s the deal, though: It’s not about me.

To make things fair for everyone — especially the newer guys who haven’t been to all of the places we fish — what if we could only fish three days on a place after it was announced that it was going to be a tournament site the next year? Or, if three days isn’t enough, we could make it five or 10 or whatever’s right.

What we’d do is get to pick out our own days, call or email Tournament Director Trip Weldon and tell him when we were going to prefish, and the tournament staff would keep a record of everything. That would be fair. Everybody could fish according to his own schedule and get whatever information he thought he needed.

At the same time, though, we’d have a winner based on who could bass fish. Lord knows, I understand the importance of preparation and planning, and prefishing is part of preparation. I’m not against that. But I don’t think allowing our anglers to live on a lake for weeks at a time is the way to advance our sport.

Anyway, those are my thoughts about the whole information thing. Like I said, we’re professionals. We shouldn’t need information from anyone before we go fishing. We’re expected to be able to find them and to make them bite. If we can’t do it that way, we need to do something else to earn a living.

That’s why I say that no help is real help — real help that forces us to get better individually and real help for the sport.

What I’d like to do next week and for a few weeks after that is answer some of the questions you might have about things — lures, tackle, techniques, boats, motors or anything else. I don’t care. We’ll get into whatever’s on your mind.

If your question is about an area you fish, ask it. But don’t identify the place by name. Just describe it in detail. I’ll take it from there. I want things to be as generic as possible.