The Department of Fish and Game is currently holding meetings to get public input regarding the fisheries and the flush of bass tournaments. The short of it is, there are going to be some severe changes. The only question: who is going to make the hard decisions?

It’s sure not the competing organizations, so let me take care of that. Here are the adjustments we’re going to make. The DFG is going to decide how many weekends it is going to allow a tournament on a typical team tournament lake. I figure that number is going to be one a month outside the June 15 to Sept. 15 window.

If they do this on a regional basis, for example, San Diego County, Riverside/San Bernardino counties, Los Angeles/Kern counties, Ventura/Santa Barbara counties–whatever the common groupings might be–there will be a fixed number of permits available–8 all-day permits per lake, per year.

Instead of the Jamboree calendar melee, I propose that in Southern California, for example, there are 12 primary tournament waters that require equal protection. Twelve lakes times the requisite 8 permits per venue and there will be 96 tournament total permits available during the calendar year.

It doesn’t matter what lake, there are only going to be 8 permits each on the most popular waters such as Diamond Valley, Castaic or El Capitan. But nobody is going to be able to put “the grab” on those lakes or dates. Instead, the key will be to establish pre-determined circuits, ie. 4 lakes on 4 pre-determined dates or if there are enough available waters, 5 lakes on 5 dates. You don’t buy a vowel, you get the whole sentence.

Now, when they hold the lotto at the Bass Jamboree, the organizations will only draw for the order in which they will pick one entire (SoCal, Inland Empire, San Diego) circuit with dates already decided.

For example, circuit selection “A” might include Feb./Otay, March/Hodges, June/El Capitan, Sept./ Otay. While selection “B” might be March/Otay, April/El Capitan, May/Hodges, Sept./Hodges. Once those 8 permits are accounted for on a given lake, it won’t be included in subsequent, pre-determined circuit schedules.

And there is more. Since the DFG has been the keeper of the permits, the department knows how many specialty event permits have been issued (benefits, regional championships, club championships, and add some “fail safe” dates for unforeseen lake closures—40 boat type events) so before we even start the drawing, we will first subtract the percentage of specialty event permits from the 96 total available permits. This keeps the orgs from dominating all available dates.

Since the organization schedules will be pre-determined, and no lake can have more than 8 events in a calendar year, and no organization, except by the luck of the draw, can likely have more than two events on the same lake except it was available in a second region offered by the same organization, the fisheries get protection, and the competing organizations will be on equal capitalistic footing to draw contestants.

PS: Sure there are questions, but the key to this plan is 8 events max on any lake, and those event dates need to be packaged as a circuit. Also, no new circuit may be formed to get an extra draw for a lake/date. Any circuits to draw must have existed in the last two years.


6 Responses to “Tournaments in California? Here’s my plan…”

How will that change affect small club tournaments? 20 boats or less?

by George Kramer

In my world, vonspreck, they would not require a permit. However, the clubs need to announce their intended destinations and continue to use proper care in the handling, weighing and live release of their fish.

by Rich Lingor

Big fees and onerous regulatory intrusion might drive small clubs “underground”. Common adjustments might range from paper weigh – ins to secret hidden weigh in sites. Care for the catch, driven by conscientious anglers and peer pressure, is standard among club fisherman. Club anglers are fanatical catch and release advocates. Legislating extra layers of regulation on the backs of the group of anglers with the greatest respect for the resource is a misguided mugging.

What has DFG ever done for Bass fishermen anyway? Or for warm water fisheries at all for that matter. If there are ongoing programs, they sure do keep them quiet. They’re right there for salmon, getting rid of northern pike, maybe getting rid of stripers in the Delta, etc. But what have they ever done for recreational fishermen other than stock trout? They may have, but I’ve never heard of them stocking largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill, crappie or anything else other than trout. I think the stocking program at DVL was funded by the water district – not done out of the goodness of their heart. DFG has some great people – but how about doing something for us. Maybe they could stock some bass in Elsinore to start 😉

Just MORE bureaucratic rights grabbing. BUT THEY’LL TAKE YOUR MONEY!! Instead of expanding availability of recreational opportunities, it’s restrict, fee jack, study closure, and butt kissing…… pretty soon y’all will be fishing in your bathtubs. I do like George’s idea for a ‘temporary’ solution, if they MUST. Good Luck guys, no REALLY…..

Orgs should scale back the number of derbies held on any one lake and also limit the number of events to qualify in a particular region. Honestly, do you really need to have 5 derbys in a region to see who the true AOY is? How about cutting that down to best of four with maybe one throw out. A few of the three-letter acronym orgs out there are infamously “feisty” when it comes time to get permits.

IMO the CA TBF is another org that needs to cut back with sucking up the States permits. The TBF is suppose to be a qualifying mechanism for club anglers to move to the next level of competition, NOT become a tourney organization with well over 30-pulled permits.

As stated earlier, another alternative for clubs is to host more paper tourneys.