Between rumors, innuendo, strategic leaks and occasional snippets of fact-based reporting, it now appears that there will be three major bass tours in 2019. Both the peoplewhoknowmuchmorethanme and the peoplewhoknowmuchlessthanme seem to agree on that, despite not agreeing on much else.
Some seem to presume that in subsequent years one or more of the three will be eliminated. I have no opinion on that – I’ll wait for the facts to develop. Nevertheless, despite the hundreds of thousands of words and tears spilled on this topic by pundits and fans (I count myself a member of both groups), the future of the tours really only directly affects about 300 people at this time: the existing tour pros and those on the cusp of qualifying. You could make a reasonable case that it also affects the organizations’ staffs, but I think that’s stretching it a bit.
That leaves tens or hundreds of thousands of fans, the ones who buy the boats, rods, reels and lures at retail, without a true dog in this fight. They may prefer one format, or one organization, over the other’s, but life will go on for them either way.
That’s why it’s so odd for me to see them fighting to the near-death over issues like entry fees and payouts and the ability to make a living casting for cash. Even for the diehard wannabes, those are unlikely to matter now or ever.
The issues that would seem to matter more include the following:
· What fishing media, other than television, do you consume?
· What sort of information (tournament tactics, how-to, destination pieces) do you desire from those media sources?
· Are you involved in conservation efforts on behalf of our fisheries?
· How much do you care about weekend, AA, and AAA events?
· How important is it to you to receive unbiased information on new products?
· Have you ever bought products from companies like Carhartt, Squinchers, or Costa del Mar because they sponsor a particular tour?
· Do you wish there was more unbiased reporting on tour-level fishing?
· How do you weigh continuity of the sport’s history on your list of variables?
I’m sure there are many other such factors that are being drowned out by the debate over pro level formats and payouts. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
I have no agenda in asking these questions, nor does this column represent any constituency other than me, but it seems like a lot of us are getting our boxer briefs bunched up over things that don’t directly affect us, while failing to ask questions about the things that do.