Can it be?
After an offseason where we spent more time talking about the tournament landcape – and perhaps less about actual fishing – than ever before, I’ve sort of tapped out of the speculation game. Oh, I’m sure that’ll last maybe a week or so, because I never stray far from obsessing about this stuff, but over the next few months we’ll reach the point where speculating becomes a weigh-in line, which in turn will become a leaderboard.
Maybe it’ll even take less time, because the FLW boys are due to start their season at a flooded Sam Rayburn this week, and if the lake lives up to its billing no one will be surprised if an angler weighs in a hundred pounds over four days to claim top billing.
The new Bass Pro Tour kicks off its inaugural season in just a few weeks, and while we’ll know much more about it a year from now, at least that start will give us a sense of what they’re planning.
The Classic, still the greatest event in the sport for the foreseeable future, is just over two months away, and whether the champion is staying, going, or just arriving on the Elite scene, someone’s life is going to change that week.
The speculation about all of this is likely good for the sport – it drives tackle sales, creates bar room conversations and fodder for message boards (well, maybe it’s not all good) – but it’s the fishing that unites us, and I suspect that at the end of the year the biggest stories will be about fishing itself rather than inter-tour dynamics. There might be a new lure sensation – think Chatterbait, Senko or Alabama Rig. Alternatively, we might have a new superstar, the “next KVD” or “next Brandon Palaniuk” or a “2019 Bryan Thrift.”
Of course, for the non-obsessed fan, those stories might be harder to find. Not only will the news sources have more potential content than ever before, but in certain venues its scope will be limited by allegiance to a particular tour. Something big will happen on the Elites/FLW/BPT and you might not learn about it because your chosen news source is aligned with one of the others. That will force the average fan to become a more educated media consumer. You will have to work to push aside the noise to find the signal.
Still, it’s just fishing. I certainly have more than my share of preferences and preconceived notions, but part of the fun as an observer is to watch the story develop.
Let the games begin.