Posted by TroyJ on February 14, 2002 at 00:42:26:
In Reply to: FLW on Wheeler posted by Kerry Grissett on February 13, 2002 at 21:18:08:
I guide nearly 200 trips each year, fish tournaments and I spend over 250 days a year on the water. I know a good number of top pros and many of the lower level tournament anglers. I see a lot of scary behavior on the water every year.
There is no question that some "pros" do not show courtesy when fishing. It seems worse with the younger and less experienced anglers who are trying to make a showing. Dealing with it properly will be the only way to help solve the problem. While writing to the marine police is a good idea, writing a written complaint and giving copies of the complaint to the tournament director at the weigh-in is another good idea. You must have accurate details, boat description, name if possible, etc. Many of the FLW boats are distinguished by sponsor logos. The sponsors do not want bad publicity, and will listen to complaints if they are responsible complaints with details of the occurance.
On the other hand, there are many pros who do work hard to show courtesy on the water, and display professionalism. It's not accurate to lable all of them as bad. It's worth pointing out that during guide trips, the worst offenders I've witnessed have been weekend recreational anglers and fishermen, not tournament anglers. Many weekend anglers are not experienced and do not know courtesy either, as myself and my clients see all too often. I've been nearly run over, cut off, etc. numerous times already this year by non-tournament anglers. I see things that are truely unbelievable from all types of fishermen, not to mention jetskis, runabouts, yachts, etc. We all have a lesson to learn in this.
Most fish in tournaments are treated well, and there are improvements being made each year. Livewells are much more advanced, with multi-pump systems, and now with O2 and cooling systems in the works. At least tournament bass are released, and I see as much poor handling by non-tournament anglers as I do from tournament anglers. I also see poaching from meat hunters who are not-tournament anglers each year. I do agree that the off site weigh-ins are not a good idea. And, I really don't like the way the weigh-ins in the FLW in particular are drawn out for drama on the last day. BASS does not use that format, and most tournaments are direct release events. Some use dedicated release boats, medicated holding tanks, an on site fish specialist, etc. Protecting our resources should be a top priority.
Large events such as FLW and BASS bring in added money to the tune of millions to the local businesses and economy. Fishing is a 108 billion dollar per year industry, far out pacing even golf and tennis combined in terms of revenue. Big tournaments are here to stay, we just need to keep cool heads and figure ways to co-exist on public waterways. Again, there are solutions. When you see an occurrence of bad boating, report it, make copies of the report and get it to the marine police, the tournament directors, and find out who sponsors the individuals who commit the offense and get a report to their sponsors. They all have their name on their shirt, and a list of sponsors on their boat and shirt. If they know they are going to lose sponsor help they'll slow down the next time they go by you. And by the way, if they are caught breaking state regulations, or ticketed on the water they are disqualified, which is another reason they should follow safe boating law.
As a guide on any of the North Alabama waterways, we are required by law to carry a OUPV license. Enforcement begins this April on the federal regulations. (It won't be pretty for those who don't have the license and are guiding) Information will be on my website soon regarding the license process. I have sent in my packet, but the main thing is we are required to take USCG saftey classes through the USCG Auxillary. The Auxillary classes will benefit anyone who spends any time on the water, and I highly recommend them to all boaters. They do a fantastic job and it's worth the time no matter how much experience you have. None of us can be to safe. Unsafe boating is a problem with both tournament and non-tournament anglers, and there is no excuse for it. It's easy to blame the big fast boats, but I see my share of unsafe boating by people in small boats with little motors as well.
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