Jay Kumar

My 2c about Kevin’s payouts column

Lord, please let my hair grow back...or make sure I don't forget to wear a hat....

Lord, please let my hair grow back…or make sure I don’t forget to wear a hat….

Got a decent number of comments about Kevin Short’s last column, some phone calls, people want my take. So here’s my 2c.

First, I’m glad Kevin took the time to look into that stuff and write down what he found. It’s not the whole $$ story in pro bassin’ because that would take a lot more time and space, but it’s interesting.


To the industry folks I gotta say don’t get emotional about it or overreact.

Whenever something happens that some folks think puts a cloud over the bassin’ sun, inevitably a few freak out like all the air will get out of the balloon.


Bassin’ goes on, a good thing. Don’t worry about it.

Just heard this quote on SportsCenter, might give you some perspective – Joe Namath talking about the NFL:

This is America. Are you kidding? We get critiqued from the 1st grade on or maybe earlier than that. I’m a fan, I’m entitled to voice my opinion.

Ergo, anyone in the biz who got irked by what Kevin wrote, hitch up your big boy coveralls and move on.

My 2c about pro bassin’ overall is this:

Is it the way everyone would ideally want it? No – and I’m sure that’s been the case since Ray Scott birthed it. I bet EVERYONE, including the derby organizations, wishes it were different, just maybe for different reasons.

In case you think pro bassin’ can be “fixed” payout-wise, pay real close attention to this:

Once upon a time back in my BassFan days I got fired up and tried to change the pro tourney format and payout. We put on a national tourney, nearly all top pros showed up. Not only was there no entry fee, we PAID THEM AN APPEARANCE FEE which more than covered their expenses AND we had a 6-figure payout AND put it on national TV.

There’s never been another tournament like that, including the Classic.

Believe that was the first and only independent attempt to actually do something about this perceived expense/payout problem, done by someone in this biz NOT interested in getting into the tourney game. Worked like a charm…and no one cared, including the pros! Learned a lot, moved on.

Read that as many times as you have to til it sinks in.

Poker vs football

Do I care if the pro level is more like poker than golf $-wise? No and yes, and the yes is mostly because I love the guys and their families. About the poker nature of this game, just remember where bass fishing came from. It came from people throwing money in a pot and fishing for it. That’s what it is. That’s what bassin’s genes are.

Can it change? Sure, anything’s possible. But you’d pretty much have to grow a new bassin’ baby. Start over.

For now it’s biz as usual, a game played by adults who have their eyes wide open going in. Some make out great, some okay, some not so good. I’ve managed to do all three in life without ever fishing the Elites…because those are the three possible outcomes when you take any risk, not just pro fishing.

And about the pro football analogy – playing in the NFL is a risk too: Some NFL players end up fine and well off, but a lot end up broke AND crippled or otherwise messed up. Of those choices, I’d take broke.

All we can do

Is bassin’ awesome regardless of [insert your gripe here]? Yeah man! I love it. Don’t know why really. God wired me this way, I’m sure you’re the same.

Texted a pro who reached out after he read K-Pink’s column. Told him that bassin’ “is what it is. Just keep doing what you’re doing, help people when you can, all we can do.” That’s where I’m at. Doesn’t mean I don’t care. Just means I got perspective.

Am I thankful for it all – the pros, fans, sponsors and tourney organizations? You bet. Flip side is a world without pro bassin’, which would be lamer than watching one of my wife’s tennis matches (I know she won’t read this so….).

My advice to another friend in bassin’: Take the work seriously. Don’t take bass fishing seriously. If you do that, it just gives you ulcers (take it from someone who’s been there).

Just one idiot’s view after many years of wanderin’ the bassin’ wilderness.

One more thing

I think it’s great that Kevin – a many-year, pretty darn successful Elite pro – wants to give his unvarnished opinions about stuff. No other ex-bass pro does that, which is kind of incredible and a darn shame. Can you imagine ESPN without ex-pros? Would be pretty dull.

If Kevin wants to write stuff down I think is interesting, I’m happy to share it with you. That’s all that’s going on here. I have no axe to grind – thank the good Lord for burning that outta my system – and I hope Kevin won’t cross the line from info to axe.

That doesn’t mean opinions have no place in bassin’ because they do. And opinions are what the interwebz runs on anyhow….

Okay, one last thing

For some reason many bassin’ peeps expect me to look into things – I guess that rep is why I’m not on TV anymore (lol). Probably because of the old BassFan days where we did old-school reporting and looked deeper into some issues.

I appreciate folks thinking of me, but I ain’t in that game no mo. I’m happy to highlight and comment on what other folks say, having seen and done a whole lot in bassin’, and I’m glad you care about what I think sometimes. But don’t expect me to get into any more fisticuffs.

Peace, bass bros, tx for reading.



  1. Randy McKee

    February 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Really like to hear (read) a different point of view from everyone. Especially from pros and those that have been trying to approach pro status. Good stuff Jay and Kevin.
    BTW, if we don’t hear from you anymore, I’ll assume your wife read this!

  2. paul zuest

    February 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    as a fellow jersey guy (family from Atco) I respect your attitude and enjoy the way your site is. anybody gets upset just Foogettaboutit. thanks

  3. Kris

    February 18, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Spot on Jay! This is the USA, and I have nothing but respect for K-Pink offering his perspective and opinion. If one should not agree they could try fishing the bass fishing leagues in North Korea. 😉

  4. Dave Maas

    February 18, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Great stuff

  5. Doug Fisher

    February 19, 2016 at 8:58 am

    It is easy – Like it fish it , don’t than keep on painting. If it were simple it would not be the pros. Baseball, you have A,AA,AAA, Bigs – 20k vs 20 million. I’m Fishing

  6. Ward

    February 19, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Jay you and Kevin are clearly WAYYYYY ahead of me on this deal. That said-

    The idea that these are “adults with eyes wide open” is debatable as the product is pushed/presented to these college kids- the next column of cannon fodder BASS requires for the top 15.

  7. Steve Hawks

    February 20, 2016 at 8:50 am

    First of all props Kevin for voicing an opinion many won’t because of fear of retribution from the promoters and sponsors. Also, thank you Jay for giving him a platform to shout from.

    I don’t know that professional bass fishing will ever be able to elevate itself from the “poker tournament mentality” to that of say modern tennis. The problems associated with bass fishing being able to to offer more equitable dispersion of funds is buried in it’s roots. One problem is that anyone who has a fat wallet and some spare time can declare themselves “a pro” and jump in the game. This does not happen in other sports where usually a lifetime of preparation, diligence and success determine who becomes a professional. Tournament anglers have been conditioned to throwing that money in the pot and rolling the dice since they began entering derbies, have seen others profit from it, and are not inclined to try and re-invent the wheel. As long as there are people out there willing to put up the bucks to play, someone will let them. The only way this will change is by respected professionals,like Kevin voicing their opinions and that is probably still not enough.

    When Ray Scott started this rodeo, he didn’t do it because he was a huge bass fishing fan. He did it because he is a shrewd business man who realized that he could use other people’s money to make money.

    I do believe that the future of professional bass fishing may be determined by the success of Major League fishing style of tournament fishing. They are taking full advantage of TV and sponsorship money while creating a system where the angler must quality to play and if you don’t continue to produce, you must re-qualify. I see this as the best chance these guys have to truly elevate themselves to more equitable distribution of funds. I would like to see that if KVD or Aaron decided not to enter, they would lose viewers, credibility and money. This would force them to pay anglers to come play.I believe we should all support this type of format as it looks like the best shot at change.

    Back in the old days a guy with a fishin’ pole, a few hooks and a bag of rubber worms had the same chance as anyone to win a tournament. Technology has changed the game and rendered an uneven playing field. This is another reason that the MLF system may be the future as everyone is equipped with pretty much the same equipment.

    I love BASS and FLW and don’t think our sport would never even been considered a sport if it weren’t for people like Ray Scott and Forrest Wood but as the good business men they are, where are they now? The writing has been on the wall for a long time and as in other sports that have evolved over the years, change is on the horizon. We even have bass fishermen receiving college scholarships to fish now. Now we just need more of the truly professionals like Kevin to step up on that soap box and stir the pot.

  8. Ed Roberts

    May 9, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Some of the young anglers making it to the Elites need funding help they drive 40K miles a year these guy make the industry Millions every year make better tackle Rod ,Reels.
    I here guys are getting tired of closeness of each event not enough rest to me when I fished in the Eighties sponsors was no where to be found somehow they need a anglers Union to keep a fair playing field I think that’s why K Pink quit Money there entry fee should be paid plus some kind of insurance and retirement 401K this is a business just like NASCAR or PGA

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