Iâ€™ve seen a lot of sizzle the past few weeks on info-gathering and usage at the upper levels of the bassinâ€™ game. Clunn wants to get on the stuff, Blaukat wants to ban all info, seems like suddenly this is a problem.
Hereâ€™s a question; where have you people been? This is nothing new. Itâ€™s been going onÂ in some form or fashion most likely since the very first derby. The past few years, though, the thirst for bassinâ€™ info has reached a feverish pitch on the Elite and FLW level. Why is it such a big deal now? As the Oâ€™ Jays sing in “For The Love of Money:”
For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don’t care who they hurt or beat
Mean green. Cash. Frogskins. Green Backs. Moolah. Bennies.
Thatâ€™s what it all comes down to: money. The COST of playing the game is so high and the risk to reward balance so skewed toward the loss side thatÂ for some competitors there’s a need to get every little scrap of an advantage over the other guy.
Itâ€™s not really an advantage so much to win a tournament as much as just to ensure that they get a check. At any given FLW or Elite event, I can just about promise you that fully half the field just want to get a check. Most donâ€™t even care if itâ€™s the last one, as long as they get a check. Theyâ€™re not focused on winning. Theyâ€™re just focused on getting their money back and theyâ€™ll do whatever it takes to get that check.
When It Started Rolling
When did this shift occur? It wasnâ€™t an overnight thing, but rather a gradual increase in the number of info-collectors. It was pretty common on the FLW side before the Elite Series began because FLW’s No Info rules were much looser than those of B.A.S.S.
The first few years of the Elites, there really didnâ€™t seem to be a lot of gatherers. The ones who were gathering kept it pretty quiet. Gradually, though, we began noticing that certain anglers had â€œbuddiesâ€ at every lake or body of water that we visited. Didnâ€™t matter if we had never been there. Didnâ€™t matter if no one had ever even heard of the place. They had one, two, maybe 10 â€œbuddiesâ€ who fed them info. Iâ€™m not sure I have that many â€œbuddiesâ€ in my entire world.
I really noticed how this info thing worked the first year we went to Lake Dardanelle, which is close to La Casa de Pink. I know Dardanelle pretty well. Better than most. Not as well as a few.
Dardanelle is one of those places where you better know where youâ€™re going or you can tear up a boat quickly. During the event, I was amazed at my fellow competitors who showed up in places that they most likely could have found but highly unlikely they would understand and be on THE stuff.
Iâ€™m not talking about AROUND it, Iâ€™m talking about ON it. Big difference. These seam competitors not only had the juice, but they knew exactly how to run in and out of places that few of the locals know.
I found out from some of these locals after the event that several of my compadres had paid big bucks to make sure they had the scoop. Sad part is those same local anglers were pretty sick to their stomachs when they saw big maps on the TV show with Xs marking the juice they had so hastily sold.
Now every other Dardanelle derby pro knows where THE spots are. Oops. Didnâ€™t think about that one when you were riding around with that guy, didja?
Bottom Line…For Now
So is this just a young punk thing? Not really. Some of the established guys have been gathering info for decades. Theyâ€™ve just been really quiet about it. Some of the younger guys are just much more open to soliciting info.
As long as info-gathering is done before the off-limits period, there really isnâ€™t anything that can be said about it. Is it ruining the â€œsportâ€ of fishing? Not any more than GPS, 3D sonar, satellite mapping, lures that make noises like farting crickets, or any other technology which has entered the game in the past few years.
What it all comes down to is the integrity of the player to respect the rules when it comes to off-limits periods, which may not be the best system when money is involved. Weâ€™ll save that topic for another day.