The pool of accessible tournament anglers in the West is not what it used to be, so why doesn’t the sport understand, there are not enough players to sustain two showcase events in a single year? Why divide them?

From casually following the Lucas Oil Summer Classic that concludes today on Lake Mead, it looks like they caught ’em pretty good (though had yet to produce a 5-pounder as daily big fish) and the winds were not so daunting. Furthermore, the promised media coverage was there and the prize incentives seemed pretty good–at least at the time the tournament was first announced.

And yet, there were just 63 boats for the shared weight event. That’s about what they are drawing for $600 “tour” events in the West–and Lucas cost $1600. The 63 pros compares to about half the number of boats in the current $1000 entry Everstart tour events.

Unlike some, however, I don’t think that 63 is such a bad number for Lucas since it was a first-time event and did not have access to “national pros” who are in the middle of their schedules. Yet aren’t those real liabilities: No track record and no attention-getting participants?

When it comes to “showcase” (non tour/points incentive) type contests, when potential contestants are allocating their discretionary income, they want to feel they have a chance and that they can be a part of something that is something (as in familiar and of some substance in the minds of the fishing community).

If Lucas Oil wants to develop a following, they will have to hang around for several more years and build up some equity with the bass fishing audience. But isn’t there a better way?

The biggest marketing failure I see this year is that Western Outdoors (in San Clemente) and Lucas Oil (in Corona) could not join forces and resources (make some compromises if necessary) and together, put on a mega show with all the glitz and perks becoming a U.S. Open, (now about to celebrate its 30th anniversary).

The “Western Outdoors/Lucas Oil U.S. Open” would be terrific for business and would breathe life into western bass fishing like nothing else. Or they can work against each other and let attrition do its work.

What do you think?


6 Responses to “Lucas Oil needs a committed fishing partner”

Interesting thought George.
Nothing wrong with American Bass doing the Lucas Oil Event; but I see your point. Combining the Lucas Oil event with the WON U.S. Open would have made the U.S. Open that much more …….. well everything.

The lower draw may also be part of the shorter than usual notice to potential anglers.

by Pete Gardner

I think the heat at Lake Mead at the time of both tournaments has something to do with attendance, at least it is for this old guy.

by George Kramer

Probably a number of issues, Pete, including, as mentioned, the short notice, and the fact not everyone has the resources or time off to fish two “large” entry events within four months. But all the more reason to have just one really big deal a year.

Solid points George. WON Bass is seasoned at hosting big events with lots of fanfare. Combined with the US Open or another big event, it could be a “mega” event. WON with its newspaper, marketing machine, and promotional staff would have been more logical.

I think it’s important to note all of the above comments and to learn from them. However, having coordinated events of all types and sizes I must point out that, as with most businesses, first year events are complicated and rarely perform like those with experience. Everything has to have a starting point. Establishing the foundation of the event is a given in order to move forward towards any future endeavor.

by George Kramer

I believe you are dead on, Jeff. But one and done is about all anyone is willing to commit these days.