UPDATED–Sorry I missed last Wednesday’s announcement of the demise of the Clear Lake Open. It doesn’t matter how they spin it–it had no chance. I just didn’t get to make that prediction…

ORIGINAL POST: Crazy, California bass fishing. From a roll-the-dice showcase event ahead of a new tour upstate, to stacked prizes for year-end events in WON, everyone is hoping to hit a home run as we close 2010 and look ahead to the New Year.

But rather than wait until those results are in, I’ll say it right now: I’m skeptical. There is no way the BassWestUSA Clear Lake Open (click here) can draw more than 70 boats without repercussions for its announced 2011 schedule of pro-ams.

The new Open costs are not overwhelming, but with such short notice for the event (a couple of months is all), no tradition to stand on (this ain’t the U.S. Open) and with the lake not showing all that well (thank you, CBC), NorCal anglers are probably not taking any financial risks. Consequently, look for a poor showing.

Although there is some difference between “weekend” tour and showcase or touring anglers, the fact of the matter is, discretionary income seems at an all-time low. If 20 or 30 more pros (more than I expect) show at Clear Lake, figure a like number will merely suffer the loss of $1500 in entry fees, which could get them three starts in the much-heralded US Anglers Choice pro-ams debuting at the end of January.

Which brings me to the situation with WON Bass. They are going all-in for the end-of-season contests at Havasu in September and the Delta in October, putting up a fully rigged Nitro on a $350 gamble for each pro. True, a couple of guys have a shot at a second boat for Angler of the Year honors, that’s no carrot for the rest.

What this means is those who fish these two events have probably planned to fish, or not, ever since they learned of the prize boat and have been saving accordingly. And while it has been duly noted that the Nitro is, indeed, a very nice trinket for the entry, the market–that pool of guys who would be willing to lay it down–is just not that motivated right now.

Stepping back, you can argue that one organization or the other will have a “better deal” next year by padding the purse with options or by additional sponsor prizes. But what you can’t guarantee is that enough serious fishermen see any difference in their own financial situations of say, two years ago, compared with how it may be in the next 10 days to six months. Or if they expect any improvement in their situation should they finish even a respectable 25th at any given event.

I could be wrong. The winners always smile. But as long as National Guard persists in the territory, expending angler resources for a shot at the Forrest Wood Cup, expect a lukewarm response for the weekend tours, especially in the South.


6 Responses to “USAC, WON late-season contests revealing”

Could be wrong George but there are no boats to give away for WON at the Delta and Mead, just cash. Also, Anglers Choice cancelled their Clear Lake Open already.

by George Kramer

Kevin: That cancellation, then, will actually bode well for the new circuit. That Open really wasn’t a good idea relative to timing or the track record of the regional anglers. As for WON and the boats, two days ago, Mike Folkestad was of the understanding that he was going to be fishing for two. Perhaps he was looking at Angler of the Year and Western Classic opportunities…although the Delta announcement does say a boat goes to the winner. Havasu without boat (and it looks like my mistake in reading the promos) will probably draw the usual “last event” type of numbers–maybe 60 or 70? My point is still valid: incentives are not enough to change the face of tournaments right now.

Wo News had a retraction in this weeks paper of the Nitro giveaway at Mead. Still that derby might be a good pre-fish for the upcoming team championships at Mead.

by George Kramer

Yikes. Not a good week for the tournament biz. Not to mention, it’s killing my blog! 🙁

by Guy Williams

Dang GK, you sleeping the days away? Don’t make me keep you informed on what’s happening in the “bass” scene!!:)

by George Kramer

You got me.