BassFan Editor-In-Chief Jon Storm wrote an Op-Ed entitled "Upon the Cliff" where he threw out 6 ideas that he would like to see implemented by the new management at BASS and FLW.
Here are the 6 ideas and my thoughts.
1. The sport needs a unifying championship to survive. Period.
I guess a unifying championship would be OK, but I don't think it's something that is vital. Also I wonder exactly what Storm has in mind as there is a lot of different ways you can go with this. It isn't clear to me what a unifying championship would look like.
2. The sport needs a joint conservation, youth and legislative body to take on the antis and polluters. We must ensure there are players and a playing field for the sport in the future.
I view this one as another nice, but not necessary. It is not clear to me that having one big centralized initiative is better than having a diverse coalition of smaller initiatives of varying sizes.
3. Tours should be exclusive, not inclusive. Billy Joe shouldn't get to fish against Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese or Brent Ehrler just because he's got a trust fund or a gas well in his backyard. Make it tough to get on a tour and demand a multiyear performance level to stay there.
On this one I think there are Pro's and Con's for both approaches. Obviously the Elite Series is more exclusive and the FLW Tour is more inclusive. I think there is room for both models.
4. The sport needs to ditch its focus on 1st-place payout and balance the payout down the field. Once you pay your dues to reach a tour, it should be a profitable or break-even venture to stay there. And fans simply don't care how much a pro athlete wins at an event.
I tend to agree with this point as I think it's something that will make the sport more sustainable for those trying to live the dream.
5. Outlaw made-for-TV events and formats, like the BASS post-season or the FLW Tour cut to the Top 5.
Obviously there are serious flaws with the BASS post-season that need to be addressed and scrapping the thing wholesale might be the answer. As far as the FLW cut to 5, I'm not really sure why he singled this out. Cut to 5, Cut to 10, Cut to 12 whatever cutting the field down makes sense to me.
6. Distribute house money fairly. As BASS stabilizes, it should use sponsor money to cut entry fees first, boost purses second. Same for the FLW Tour. But also, performance should dictate who gets FLW sponsor-team deals, not who you know, what you look like or which boat you drive. And FLW team money should go to tour pros only, not co-anglers.
I was right with this one until he advocated cutting out the Co-Anglers. As I've made clear on many occasions, I believe Co-Anglers are good for the sport. I think it is a feature that bass fishing has an avenue open for fans to fish with the Pro's while in serious competition. I think Co-Anglers should have a shot at incentives and a piece of the pie. This kind of gets to one of the Cons about making the sport more exclusive. I think as you make professional bass fishing more exclusive you limit the overall outreach potential of the sport. Kevin Van Dam can only be in one place at a time. More people are on the radar screen when you have an army of Tami Curtis's, Chris Ricci's, Matt Peters and Ashley Rae's. I certainly think more can be done to promote Co-Anglers and to get Co-Anglers out promoting themselves and the sport.