Must have been. The buzz suggests the National Guard Series in the West was a little short on pros for its Lake Havasu event held the last week in March. Playing it cool, the tournament department made personal calls, trying to recruit a few more pros to match up with their co-angler list.

But I wonder, doesn’t anyone in the tournament biz understand the term demographics? You don’t just pull $4000 entries out of a phone booth, in a recession.

No other part of the country operates on a thinner margin of available competitors. Even in good economic times, we have skilled guys–but few of them are sponsored or fully committed to the risks of chasing a pro circuit.  In fact, you find me 400 names out here that still fish on the B.A.S.S. or FLW Series level and the Registrar will call for a recount.

Yet eyes well up and jaws get tight when I bring up the possible failure of any major tour on our side of the country. “We should be sponsored. Look how good the western guys have done,” they protest.

But you’re not Skeet Reese or Dean Rojas or Jay Yelas. Those guys have established themselves on the pro circuit. They’re not worried about their mortgages, car payments or their sponsorship deals. They can afford to live in the West and travel to fish.

A pro tour is just a numbers game. If you don’t want to hear it from me, look what the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is saying in advance of their annual ICAST trade show this summer: “One in every 10 dollars spent in the United States on fishing is spent in Florida.”

More that that, they say, “43 percent of anglers in the United States call the southeastern region home,” and get this, “more than half of the United States sportfishing dollars are spent east of the Mississippi River.”

Sure, California has more than 2 million fishing license holders. Unfortunately, most of them are waiting for trout season to open next month.

So what do you say?