The Inside Line

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You Can't Stop Them, You Can Only Hope to Contain Them

Just prior to announcing their 2018 Elite Series schedule, B.A.S.S. announced a new rule that would prohibit qualified anglers “from soliciting or intentionally receiving any information about the locations of fish or fishing areas on those waters,” beginning as soon as the schedule was made public. As Randall Tharp wrote, this should “level the playing field,” favoring the best anglers over the best information gatherers.

I wholeheartedly agree that this is a step in the right direction. I’ve yet to hear anyone articulate a coherent reason to oppose the rule, although if anyone (particularly an Elite Series pro) would like to put one in writing, I will be glad to run it in this space, either anonymously or with attribution.

I’m sure that the rule, however carefully crafted it may be, will have loopholes and gray areas. There will be speed bumps along the way. Someone may be disqualified or not, and the whole bass world will erupt with opinions. That, I’ve heard some people argue any time these no-info rules get addressed, is reason enough to scrap them. “You can’t stop information gathering if someone really wants to do it,” these glass-half-empty types proclaims. “It’s going to happen somehow, some way, so you might as well not try.”

I’ve never understood the inclination to get rid of a rule simply because it won’t stop 100 percent of the prohibited behavior. Despite centuries of laws outlawing murder, we still have murders every day, but no one is seriously arguing that we should legalize that act. All sorts of potentially injurious actions are banned by the NFL on the field of play, and no one but a few contrarian pinheads would argue that it should be otherwise. If someone wants to argue that unlimited information-gathering should be legal, I’m happy to listen to their argument, but allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good is ridiculous, like burning down your barn to kill a few rats.