The Women's Bracket

Over the years, B.A.S.S. has experimented with a variety of “novelty” tournament formats, with mixed results. Most recently it’s been with the Classic Bracket at Niagara, but in the past there’s been the Wild Card, the Superstars and even team formats.

I’ve got another that I semi-seriously think they should try: An on-the-water showdown among Elite Series wives and girlfriends. I know that some of them can fish better than 99 percent of male anglers, and some of them are less talented and/or experienced, but even if the fishing itself wasn’t Elite, I’d watch it for Zona’s commentary alone.

Now, I haven’t quite worked out the details, whether there’d be an entry fee or how the payout would be structured. Nor have I determined whether the men should be involved. On the one hand, I love the concept of seeing how a “no info” event would play out. Does SVD like to power fish like KVD? Does Mrs. Ike go Ike? Would Sharon Biffle stake out a claim to HER water? Inquiring fish heads want to know.

I’d even be curious to know what Gerald Swindle would write on his wife’s sandwich bag

On the opposite extreme, you could have the men in the boat, able to talk and advise but not allowed to help in any sort of hands-on way. No driving the boat, no rigging tackle, no suggestions on locations.

Perhaps there’s a middle ground, with the men able to offer advice and tackle help in the evenings, but not during competition hours. It would make for some of the best Bassmaster Live coverage ever – a split screen with the angling wife on one side, trying to figure things out, and her bank-bound husband on the other side screaming “You can’t flip that jig on 10 lb. mono!” or “You’re about to run over a wing dam!” or “Stop eating lunch! The tide is perfect RIGHT NOW!” Again, the team of Zona and Sanders would be comedy gold in this situation, although their questions might cause a divorce or two.

If you wanted to add even more drama, you could grant the winner’s husband/boyfriend an automatic Classic berth. No, I’m not serious about this – I think that appearing in the Classic should be determined by personal merit alone – but if you want to talk about uncomfortable dinner table conversation, imagine a down-on-his-luck-running-out-of-money pro dealing with a wife who hesitated when boat flipping the winning fish and lost it at the boat. No hilarity would ensue.

The MLF crew constantly grinds into our head that “this is the most pressure-packed event I’ve ever been a part of.” That may be the case, but my concept would blow that one out of the water.