I saw the fuss over some apparent sub-standard practices by one Upstate tournament organization. Around the same time, Kent Brown (Ultimate Bass Radio, Aug. 20) went on the air hosting former San Diegan Terry Foreman of the DFG, talking on the same subject: handling of tournament caught bass.

Foreman’s charge: all participants (and organizations) need to heed the details specified in the tournament permit–that regardless of the way it used to be done. Nothing new, but more important than ever.

Still somehow, my sense of the general response toward regulation (listeners that day or from those contestants spread all through the state) is something out of Shawshank Redemption, especially that question: “What are you in here for?” The universal response was, “Didn’t do it.” Denial is of no value today.

The fact is, “The Warden,” the Department of Fish and Game as an agency, is neither run by nor accountable to fishing interests. The political environment is environmental, in a sense that couldn’t be more contrary to American tradition or even good ol’ horse sense. However, when anglers balk at following the guidelines they put themselves in a position where a truly heavy hammer could fall on the sport.

Believe me, the animal rights movement is moving forward–not backward–only instead of choosing a reasonable discussion on the role of wildlife and its historic and lawful use, the opposition has chosen to forego reason and utilize every possible means of swaying public opinion. That PETA is reported to be going to an XXX-rated website format, tells me they think perceived outdoorsmen will give up their standards for any base approach.

Of course, I know how it feels. The other end of the stick is getting longer. But at least we’ve still got hold of it. If tournament fishermen don’t uphold the rules, I’m telling you, we can and we will get shut down.