I think back to the olden/golden era of tournaments and see a likeness between a venue such as Roosevelt Lake in Arizona and Clear Lake as we are witnessing now. Although Southern Californians would view either as a long haul to waters somewhat unfamiliar, the one thing that used to draw contestants was excellent fishing.

In fact, I don’t know how many times John Murray or Fred Ward would happily take everyone’s money over at Roosevelt, yet the losers (catching limits upon limits) could also happily go home to tell their wives, “I just couldn’t get a kicker.”

Today, Clear Lake sports about as good of bass fishing as anyone might want, and I still hear the “missing kicker” alibi (8 to 10 pounds at that freakish water), but what we don’t see are the guys lining up to enter.

Now, of course, we know one of the culprits (“It’s the economy, stupid”) but what other factors are playing these days? Here’s a few I thought of:

1. REALITY OF FAME–Or make that, the unlikelihood of fame. There was a time when not just a handful of young guns thought they had a chance in the tournament game, but we all did. But now it’s a game of elite anglers and a tight circle of success.

2. BUDGET TRUMPS EGO–Having limited resources is nothing new to bass fishing. There was a day when a $3500 rig and $2400 pick-up and $6 a night at Crazy Horse Campground was a maxed out tour visit. That those numbers have soared to $50,000, $35,000 and $72 a night in a motel hasn’t changed the fact it still costs to play. But now you can secretly think you can beat those other guys, but it’s cheaper to just think it.

3. SOPHISTICATED ANGLERS–You can be the best frog fishermen in California and it won’t help you at Lake Mead. You can be the best splitshot fisherman in Lost Angeles County and it won’t help you on the Delta. There are specialists in every region with virtually every technique, but today more of those experts have the sense that they could be out-gunned if they step out of their backyard. So they don’t.

Anyway, that’s my take. How do you see it?


2 Responses to “New angler attitudes=Tournament doldrums”

Yeah….that’s about it. I’ve felt all 3 of them!! Years ago I fished a bunch all over….then I got a family. I kept fish’n but carried my son….when he got older we did some good and when he got grown he went out on his own. He’s just about gave up on derbys too….CYA

One other factor…the HP limit was lifted first by BASS and other org’s followed. This raised the cost of “keeping up with the Jones'” significantly. Higher cost of boats/motors means less $$ to spend on things like tournament entry fees.