LAKE MEAD is an excellent tournament venue...

Watching the trail of fishermen head east from California or west from Arizona, it could be said that temperatures of less than 100 degrees don’t hurt. After all, some 230 or so fishermen made their way to the Colorado River for both team and pro-am events this past weekend.

If you were to project similar conditions for the 2012 U.S. Open (now moved to September from July), the numbers suggest you could have a pretty strong base field before you go north of Bakersfield or tap any of the national pros from Texas and beyond.

Of course, to be accurate, most of those fishing on the weekend were small lake, team guys, who were enjoying their roles as “qualifiers” to a championship, while only wistfully thinking they might crack money spots assigned to the Havasu (and River) locals.  And while many teams caught fish at Havasu, it was pretty evident, the money went to those with the most time on the big water.

So after watching the standings and assessing a couple of years worth of controversy about the border water, it seems the suggestion put forward by Rick Grover of Anglers Marine (or the concept it implies) is a good one. He says Lake Mead is the answer for a level playing field–and it is.

But, if the organizations insist on Lake Havasu, then the only reasonable approach is to turn that stretch of the Colorado River into an actual lake. Simply cut out the river at either end using a figure like 500 yards as the narrowest inlet/outlet. Mark the end boundaries to eliminate most current and all backwaters.

And why?

Because tournament winners should not only play by the rules, they should also avoid any appearance of not playing by the rules. Doing everything in open view makes everyone out there feel more comfortable. And, of course, by turning the river into a lake, it creates a championship venue that is more similar to the waters most of the teams qualified from (the proverbial level playing field.)

Of course, in a pro style event, it all needs to be open and the contestants know that. A year from now, with the ever rising Lake Mead likely reaching the Grand Wash and Muddy River, it will expand opportunities and require much more than a drop-shot rod to earn an Open title.

And it’s quite a title–just ask Aaron Martens.






3 Responses to “Weekend musing from the desert lakes”

George, there seems to be a trend with these org’s that the status quo is ok. Yet all the TOC’s so far for the team events seem to be off about 18-23% in participation. The Org’s that do have boats to give away might want to go back to the old days of the huge field Champion owners events where there was a good payday for the better teams to win some hard earned money for catching fish, but the big prize [boat and motor combo] was raffled off and ALL the Teams had a chance of winning. Keep everyone in the game all thru the year and big fields at the TOC’s, where the guys that get to practice for a month, dont have any better chance that the guys that show up the night before. After all, dont you think these boat factories want a big turnout?

I like that idea Rick. For a lot of us guys the Havasu events are more of a fishing vacation than an all out competition becasue of the reality of the local advantage. I do prefer having the TOC’s on Havasu though becasue of the quality of the fishing and convenience of having your hotel 5 minutes from the ramp. So fishing for cash and raffling off the boat might just get more of us weekend warriors out to the TOC’s.

Oh and George, I’m pretty sure that these tournaments are being won in the lake so I’m not too sure that closing the river to competition will level the playing field that much.

by George Kramer

Close it and in 2 years it will be the I-5. GPS the habs until then. Really. 😉