I recently competed in a large charity team tournament here in North Carolina. My good friend from Pennsylvania comes down for an annual fishing trip each year at the same time to enjoy the last bit of unfrozen water he sees until March or April. Several years ago we got really lucky and won the event, consequently winning a really nice Ranger boat which we sold to another friend of ours. This year, we caught a limit of dill pickles....I mean sickly looking spotted bass. I just seemed to be fishing kind of odd and we never figured out what the better fish were doing this year in our limited practice time. I'm also not sure there is a rhyme or reason for what this bigger fish do in that lake anyway. Regardless, this event means several things to me: First and foremost it is a good way to see and shoot the bull with an old friend and just go fishing. But it is also a good people watching event in terms of the "state of the sport" and what the general trends are. I seldom have this opportunity fishing higher entry fee or invitational type events.
Here are the top-six 2011 observations in order of overall personal impression:
The flying birdcage apparatus...aka umbrella rig....was by far the most widely and overused lure of the event by far. Just about every angler I witnessed was bombing the thing relentlessly. It was not only casted at targets, but it was launched in every concievable direction known to man. It truly was unbelievable to witness. One guy and his parter were even just drifting down the middle of a large cove/creek over 50 ft of water bombing away! It goes to show how impressionable victories at the Tour level can be! My buddy and I even went to a local lake the next Monday and only saw one other bass boat out that day....and guess what he was throwing??...Yep, the birdcage. I guess that is a good thing too because it generates overall interest in the sport and gets people outdoors fishing.
Nearly 200 teams/boats showed up. A great turnout to see, and very good in terms of overall involvement of the kids and adults alike, especially during a tough economic time.
Lots of boat wraps and clownsuits on folks I never heard of. I may be out of the loop of the local/regional scene and popularity contest, and I hate to get anyone p.o.'ed by this statement, but please don't wrap your boat or wear a clownsuit/jersey for no compensation what-so-ever. Just.....just don't do it!
People want to fish this time of the year! Nearly 200 boats is one case in point! There are not a lot of larger tournaments this time of the year but the ones that do occur usually are showcased in grand fashion. The most popular recent example is the FLW Open Guntersville event and Everstart Championship KY Lake in which the winners introduced an exciting new way/style and time of the year to sack big bags. I personally think the tackle manufacturers need this too. It is a great time to sell new types of tackle in mass just prior to Christmas, and it's not the same old lures as the spring tournaments make the retailers commonly exploit.
Team tournaments are great in many ways. Friends get out together with a common goal and also get to split costs. It is great for friends, family members or forming entirely new relationships while experiencing the great outdoors. The dynamics of a team effort have a story in itself for TV or any media, and I could see the team concept in professional bass fishing gaining some ground in the near future again. It won't be the entirety of the wave of the future, but it will have its place just like Batman and Robin vs lonely old Superman.
Petsmart is having a sale on birdcages this weekend to celebrate the first American state when listing the states of the US in alphabetical order. Minimum order of 6, maximum of 25. Parrots not included! This offer is for a limited time only and parental discretion is advised.