Technology May Solve Fishing Tournament Frustration
A decades-old conflict between competitive anglers and recreational fisherman could soon be made obsolete by an app.
In the 1970s and 80s, I fished a lot of bass tournaments. My favorite circuit was Red Man. There was a constant disagreement between tournament anglers and those who fished just for the fun of it. The argument was a good one and may finally be put to rest.
The concern was tournament anglers were taking bass from one area of a lake, river, or reservoir and releasing them at the ramp. This was of greatest concern during the spawn.
Another point to ponder was stressing bass to the point of delayed mortality by hauling them around all day in an aerated live well.
When I fished tournaments, my thought was "The further I get away from the ramp, the fewer fish." On the Ohio River tournaments, all the fish caught in the tributaries in a 40-mile stretch were taken to Deer Creek, above the Cannelton Dam.
The locals loved this. They would go out and catch limits of bass three days after the tournament. It seems like most of the bass recovered from their experience and got hungry at the same time.
I fished Tarr and Clover creek seven miles upstream on the Kentucky side. At the confluence of the two tributaries were a big boat ramp and ample parking. A lot of Kentucky-based tournaments are launched out there. Those creeks were deep and full of bass and big crappie.
I avoided Big and Little Deer because too many other competitors chose to fish there.
Earlier this week, on FaceBook, there was a post by Josh McDermott (317-292-6150). He is the director of Team Fishing Circuit and has some great ideas.
He is holding a three-day tournament on Monroe, July 28-30. Don't pull down on your suspenders, each of three groups of 59 anglers will fish one day.
There will be no weigh-in at the ramp. Each team will be given scales and a FishDonkey app to download. Every legal bass you catch is video weighed and immediately released. This allows, if I read correctly, for a team to weigh more than a limit of bass.
Realistically, bass caught the first day might again fall for a soft plastic the next day or two. The fish will be none the worse for wear.
Instead of 150 boats in three flights, the 50 will make much less of an impact on the recreational angler.
The tournament has a huge payout for Indiana. The entry, pre-registration fee, is $650 per team up to July 11. After that to July 24, add $50. The big bass pot is another $50. First place will pay $20,000.
I've seen tournaments on TV where the fish are weighed in the boat and released. This idea is really catching on and with the video app, sets the stage for tournament fishing in the future.
This almost makes me want to give tournament fishing another try, but it would be me an old-timer guessing where the fish would be against modern anglers with their high-tech electronics showing them the fish.
Rick L. Bramwell began writing for the Anderson Herald Bulletin in 1972. He likes to hunt small game, deer, turkey and morel mushrooms. Bramwell’s 174-7/8 typical whitetail is the largest ever taken in Madison County. He used to compete in Red Man and BASS Federation tournaments, but is now content to fish ponds and small lakes for bass and panfish. For most of 43 years Bramwell has coached Baseball and softball. He has three grown children and resides in Madison County, near Pendleton.