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.
Obviously, Tuesday’s press release from the MLF crew created a frenzy among fishing media and fans. My phone, email and Facebook accounts have been blowing up since then with questions about what I know and what I think about the state of the fishing world from here on forward. More than one person has asked “When are you going to write about it?”
Every six or eight years after you become a partner at my brother Mike’s company, you are entitled to take a six-month, fully-paid sabbatical. It’s partially a reward for the revenue that the partners generate, and also a recognition that they will occasionally benefit from an opportunity to recharge their batteries given their grueling work and travel schedules.
With two and half Elite Series tournaments left this year, everyone is still fishing for something – everything from the AOY, to requalifying to just plain pride. If the season were to end today, young Bradley Roy would be our AOY, and usual suspects like AMart, KVD, Skeet, Palaniuk, Swindle and Hackney would be in the Classic.
I first met Ronnie Moore at the Elite Series event on the Delaware River in 2014. I needed a ride to the ramp one morning and somehow ended up in the passenger seat of Ronnie’s silver pickup, where I was treated to a 75 mile per hour run up the road, dodging early commuters and running up on a sidewalk or two as we hauled the mail to get there in time for blast-off.
Last year KVD won an Elite Series event at Toledo Bend with 96 pounds of bass. This year John Murray won there with 77-plus. Some pros attribute the drop-off to the fact that this year the derby took place a month earlier, when the fish were in a funky in-between stage. Others say it was because of a change in the vegetation. But there has also been lots of grumbling that the fish population is not what it was.
Back in December I wrote a column arguing that the return of David Fritts to B.A.S.S. tour-level competition would be a story to watch in 2017, and then I more or less forgot about it. To be honest, given the Crankmaster’s most recent FLW campaigns, I figured there was a better than even chance that he’d end up as roadkill against the Palaniuks and Jordan Lees of the world. Nothing against the guy, whose credentials more than speak for themselves, and with whom I’ve spent some time in the boat, but this a take-no-prisoners league.
For reasons that I’m not sure that I understand 100%, Andy Morgan has elected to fish five only Bassmaster Opens in his career, the last of them in 2009. I guess he seems to have it pretty good over at FLW. He’s always in the race for AOY and probably clears enough money to support his hunting habit with cash to spare.