Snowballing Aggression on the Pro Hawging Scene

By Pete Robbins

The last two Elite Series events have produced highly-publicized and broadcast turf battles between competitors. I wasn’t on site for either one, so I really have no clue who was in the right and who was in the wrong. I might not even have a valid opinion if I’d been there.
It used to be that the most frequently used terms in any bass writer’s vocabulary were “spinnerbait,” “worm” and, of course “parabolic action.” Today they’re “gray area,” “respect” and “unwritten rules.”

Since Winyah Bay I’ve been asked by several acquaintances whether I thought these on-the-water fracases are more common that they were in years past. My knee-jerk answer was to say that they are not. Battles over fishing areas are older than organized baseball, and they’ve existed on the pro tours since Day One, it’s just that today we have the blogosphere, the twitterverse and the all-knowing eye of BASS Live.

Upon further consideration, however, I wonder whether these publicized battles breed more of the same. If you’re a rookie, and you’ve seen another rookie get punked, does that raise your hackles more at the slightest perceived incursion? If you’re a vet, and you feel that these newcomers are willing to throw the established order out the window, do you jump down their throats a little quicker. The last battle was between two veterans, so I don’t know that it falls into either paradigm, but I think the thesis has some basis in reality – it’s not necessarily some sort of “eye for an eye” mentality, but rather an increasing awareness that the new normal feeds on itself. If you don’t stem it early, you’ve effectively turned yourself into a doormat.