While there were incredulous looks as the California Bass Championship announced that since only 10 competitors signed up for the final event in Region 1 (Southeastern), those 10 would automatically qualify for the regional fish-off. But those were the rules: the top 10 in each qualifier would move on to the next level.

Still, the fact that there were only 10 willing anglers on the final event, when, theoretically, the 30 top fishermen in the region would be absent having already qualified, points up (again) that the number of avid players is much smaller than anyone wants to admit.

Similarly, while there are more total team fishermen, you don’t see them all grouping up on one mega-circuit.

It’s hardly a revelation. Team events remain popular, but the regional corps is splintered with pockets of anglers tethered to their home waters. And with each pocket there are particularly strong teams who dominate and that’s why the fields never seem to grow very large. It’s tough to match up with the top home teams but there is no alternative. Second tier players can’t go to a strange lake and expect to crack the money against that water’s best.

I’ve heard all the complaints. One circuit or another doesn’t pay as much or as deep. But those arguments are as hollow as a Basstrix. The teams who actually have a chance at the top prizes and the most points always show up. And they almost always get rewarded.

Those who can’t cash consistently find another circuit on their home water that’s more amenable to the team’s skill-set (usually one with a much smaller field) and that’s where they end up.

It’s the reason 100 percent payoffs or even 500 percent payoffs won’t dramatically change the size of the fields. If the best (or better) always finish at the top, when you increase the carrot, you merely draw more of the “guns” (until there are no more). Think about it. What incentive is there for a lower level team (based on average finish) to enter and swell the field to 70, 80 or 100 boats with an even smaller percentage chance of success?

Maybe the organizations could do what they do in golf–start handicapping teams. But I can’t see angler egos allowing for something like that.

So back to the CBC situation. It played out just as I anticipated. Although the entry fee was reasonable, the travel limited and the promise of something bigger down the line, they still ran out of willing participants. I expect the CBC state final will be interesting, but out of the top 10, would anyone be surprised that eight of the 10 top finishers will likely be from the Upstate.

Is winning at Big Bear Lake any indicator of success at Clear Lake? We live in an era of low risk/high cost consciousness, which is likely to continue for years.  It’s a feudal system, and we probably need to get used to it.


6 Responses to “Opinion: CBC, teams have the same issues”

Until there are less events per lake [limit it to 1 per weekend] there will always be lower turnouts as there is just not a lot of folks that can afford to fish all the trails. Plus you need to factor the quagga tag factor into your home team scenario equation, George as guys just don’t want to go thru the hassle of being locked out if you get a tuff inspection. Maybe CBC should have gone to a percentage of participants qualifier because the bottom line is that they are going to get more than 10 for Big Bear to make the Clear lake championship. Those CBC Perris guys should have had to at least caught a fish to qualify IMHO. Rick G.

by George Kramer

Quaggas are a nice built-in excuse. But anyone could travel as the non-boat partner to a different water–but how many times did that happen (in teams)? Maybe two or three? This is the heyday of the “big fish in a small pond.”

by Robert Schneider

I would have liked to have fished the event but such is life. I think I read that there were 23 angler’s signed up but that it dropped to 10. I think DVL Quagga played a big part in that. I know that at least one angler wasn’t going to use their own boat and was going to borrow a boat so that they could keep their DVL tag.

I agree that there is more and more of this big fish in a small pond thing going on. More and more of the regions are becoming single lake regions and it seems to be what those folks paying want. Quaggas, price of gas, teams with only one boat.

California Bass Federation is still more of a multi-lake format and cheap entry fees. Same with the Saltwater Bass Anglers.

You got it right George. Why DONATE to the same top dogs? A circuit should be just that. But when only one or two lakes are considered a circuit it takes some of the fun out of it. When you go to the same lake every time you see where everyone is fishing. I won’t poach someones spot, but it sure makes it tempting to when you know they are going to win. Again!
Let’s break up the lakes into holes and everyone gets a certain amount of time at each hole. Haa

I look at it as an excuse to fish a tournament with work and family I need an excuse to get away. Great format hope it works out.

It sucked to have to do that last week at Perris. I appreciate the honest report George. Unfortunately, we had 27 boats registered on Monday and by Wednesday we were down to 11 or 12 with only 8 paid in full. So I called every angler that was not paid in full and simply asked – are you fishing it? 2 said yes – 2 said no. That leaves us at 10 boats. We could have ran the tournament – and qualified all 10. As Rick suggested, we could have made them catch a fish – but, nowhere in our rules does it say they have to catch a fish – so that would be a very gray area. What we decided was – the $500 that we would spend driving down – running the event (or having someone else run it) would be better off put into the pot at the championship – then making 10 guys fish for 10 spots essentially for fun.

It sucked to have to make a decision like that, but I believe we looked at all the angles and made the best decision we could.

The good news is – we have about 35 boats for Pyramid and over 45 for Nacimiento – which are our best numbers for So-Cal so far.

On another note we are discussing the following 2011 regions for Southern Cal. THESE ARE NOT FINAL – just a discussion we are having amongst ourselves here at CBC.

Region 1
Potentially Hodges Regional

Region 2
Pine Flat
Potentially Isabella Regional

We believe this broadens the area to draw anglers from and making an angler have only 1 real local event. Right now in Region 1 – most anglers were within 2 hours of all 4 events…. making them all relatively local and spreading out the anglers pretty thin.

Thanks again for all the support from everyone. We consider 2010 a huge success with the numbers in 3 of our regions being excellent for the first year! There are many outstanding anglers already qualified for the regionals with more to come. Our State Champion will be a well rounded angler with the ability to fish local, neutral off the wall lakes and a power house lake like Clear Lake. Whoever wins will be well deserving of the title!

We look forward to 16 FULL Fields in 2011!