ANGLERS or circuits may have to adapt this winter…

“Adapt or die,” Billy Beane’s response to an old-time baseball scout in the movie Moneyball, takes on a new meaning as I hear the cries from anglers over the new Diamond Valley 3-fish tourney bag limit. This lake specific regulation recently kicked in at the busiest tournament lake in the area in attempt to better assess post tournament mortality.

According to DFG biologist Quinn Granfors, DVL was the target for the study because of “its high volume (80 percent of all events in his area are held here) and because of an abundance of deep water habitat.”

While he admitted, there are some fish in that deep water all year long, he noted there is a “focus on winter time because that’s when the number of deep caught fish goes up.” And that’s when we see  the fish showing “barotrauma symptons” being brought up from depth.

But the move also reveals classic bass angler symptoms. The tournament culture is always at the forefront of conservation issues–as long as they don’t have to change the way they do things. In this case, trying and win money on the strength of three fish instead of the usual five.

How can I say that? Looking at the seasonal kick-off attendance this month compared to a year ago, the number of participants has dropped severely. While this may have been an aberration, it won’t take but a few more events to prove my point. Since many fishermen won’t want to concentrate on techniques that typically catch larger fish–or expand their use throughout the water column–they will fail.

And when that failure becomes apparent to all, they will stop participating–which can’t bode well for the tournament organizations. If the most popular circuit loses half its players, what will happen to those others that draw 10 or 12 boats per event? Yikes!

But here’s a thought–though maybe too radical for most. If fishing for three bass means anglers are forced to adapt out of their comfort zones, how about a tourney organization gets smart and appeals to the greater number those who want to fish their conventional methods?

Why not set up a tournament ceiling limit with an 18 or 20- inch maximum limit length, so in effect, the guys are fishing for three “unders?” Or, if you want to have a chance to weigh some bigger bass, allow one bass over 20 inches in the 3-fish tournament limit be scored. It’s a different dynamic (with a slot limit precedent) but this allows a team to use a range of methods, yet not penalize those who don’t typically employ the “big baits.”

Anyway, it’s not my call. It’s on the fishermen or the tournament organizations this winter on DVL. Adapt or die.


5 Responses to “DVL three-fish limit: Adapt or die”

Mr. Kramer, I would personally like to see a 10 bass limit. If it’s 1 (HBC style) or 10 bass for the limit, I’m ALWAYS swinging for the fence.

by George Kramer

At the loss of 50 percent of the field, and more to follow with attrition, I think you’ll soon be fishing against your own money at that rate of decay. 🙁 Come to my lake and you run INTO the fences. 😉

If it’s about competition then a 3,5,or 10 bass limit is irrelevant – may the best angler/team win – period.

If you need a different venue to realize your dreams – so be it.

Actually, what they will do (those non-participating anglers) is wait for spring. Let’s see how much it costs the tournament hosts before they adjust. But venue won’t likely matter in the future. After this study confirms a lower mortality rate with smaller limit, all the IE/Riverside County lakes will go to three fish in winter. The facts of life…

The Slot limit idea is actually an interesting idea George. Maybe, they should have Striper tournaments!