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Question: From the BassFan interview with Mike Iaconelli, is there any way to completely shut out the help from local experts ANY TIME before and during tournament days to determine who is the best of the bests to “FIND” and catch the 5 largest bass in pro tournaments all by him/herself with only lake maps, GPS/fishfinder? Wouldn’t this make tournament fishing a true and fair competition?
Great question. This is a topic that many pros have been advocating in favor of for years. With the technology out there and the money escalating, the seeking of information has only gotten worse. I feel that if someone talks to a friend, guide, or whomever before the 30 day cut off, that is perfectly legal. In order to make a rule to prevent that, would be very tough and put rookies at a huge disadvantage versus a veteran who has been to a place 10 times. There is no other sport where this issue is a problem. Would it be like saying to a football team, you can't spend countless hours watching film and scouting your opponent before you play them? Would it be like saying to a NASCAR team, you can't go to a track before race week to test your cars on that track?
THE PROBLEM is that some pros (on all circuits that have no-info rules), do not adhere to the rule about getting info in that 30 days prior to or during practice. Schools of fish move around and fish change from one week to the next. Locals that provide info during the off limits changes the outcome of the event.
THE SOLUTION is to use the polygraph test. All trails have the right to use it in their rules. Everyone but BASS uses it. It is a real mystery why they do not. Hopefully they will start using it just to ask one question about that one problem.
IF (big IF) the tournament trails put a rule in place that everyone's GPS had to be blank at the beginning of practice, it would be a nightmare to enforce unless they used the polygraph. The concept is great. If I know a few offshore places that I have coordinates on, I can probably find them in a 3 day practice. No big deal. If the local hot stick gives me numbers before practice but I can't put them into my GPS, it would fix that problem. I love the concept but have doubts about the major trails putting the rule in.
As long as the competitors know the venue, I’m not sure there is a way to totally shut out information. The only “pure” tournaments are those that the anglers don’t know where they’re going until they get on the plane to go there. With instant communication like we have today, it’s just too hard to truly shut down guys getting info. When you throw out $100K or even $500K purses and entry fees and expenses that send competitors to the edge of bankruptcy every year, you’re going to have guys looking for every and any advantage they can get, legal and at times not legal, to insure there is a check at the end of the week. Polygraph? You can train yourself to beat it. Self policing? Works for the majority, but not all. True “Mystery Lakes” and no communication with the outside world would be the only “pure” competitions today and they would be almost impossible to pull off with even a small group of anglers. Sad.
In a perfect world, bass tourneys would be "no info" events. That would be the most level playing field possible. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. The problems with trying to implement such a set of rules are many. If you made waters off limits, you would create problems for anglers who happened to call this their home water, or guided there. If you make "no info" as soon as the event is announced, then there would be a chance to make it a more level field, but tough to enforce. The only possible way would be to "Polygraph" everyone in the event, or at least the top ten. That is no solid proof either.
Would this put everyone on the same level? No, because some anglers would have previous knowledge and others would not. Just like always, some guys are ahead of the rest in some way. The new GPS technology and such just makes it easier to transfer knowledge from outside the field to competitors. There have always been certain anglers who had a leg up on the competition because of their network of contacts around the country. Anglers stand in line to fork over info to popular anglers on tour. It's always been that way and most likely always will be. The way to get ahead is to win, make friends and be popular and win some more. Nothing new there. The sport has always been good to those who win a lot and not so good for others. Even if all events were "Mystery Lakes", someone would live there and have previous knowledge.<.p>
It's tough out there. No whining allowed. Get over it or get out of it!