While some portion of pro anglers are likely to find problems in any changes to tournament rules or procedure, one of the recent FLW developments that I really think is smart is the addition of the Wednesday “off day” to the tournament schedule. They practice Sunday-Monday-Tuesday, take care of off-the-water business on Wednesday, and start the tournament on Thursday.
Without that change, they’d have to come off the water in the early afternoon on the third day of practice to attend the meeting and then potentially work on their tackle late into the night. That causes both practice and tournament prep to suffer. Under the change, they can now fish late on that final day of practice and then get their gear ready – everything from respooling reels to tightening jackplate bolts. It’s both more efficient and safer, and it allows them to catch up on rest. That’s particularly important at this time of year, when there’s sometimes safe light to practice from before 6am until after 9pm.
The only downside I can see from a competitor’s point of view is that it adds an extra day of costs (not gas, but lodging) and it means another day away from the family. For me, that would be balanced by the fact that the fish have a day to rest (assuming not many locals can get out and beat on them on a random Wednesday).
From a local’s point of view – in this case one who rarely if ever can fish on a random Wednesday -- it offers one other downside: it boogers up two weekends. I don’t want to be out on the river when they’re practicing or competing because: (a) it tends to be pretty darn crowded; and (b) I don’t want to get in their way. That means that when the pros are on the Potomac I lose the opportunity to fish on three of the four weekend days during their stay. Not a big deal, and definitely not worth changing the process, but a minor consideration nonetheless.