Our sport is currently at a crossroads of a great expansion or loosing all of it’s legitimacy. What i’m referring to is multiple fishing trails have gone to a reduced daily limit “4 fish” or a weigh it on the water style “MLF FISHING”.
If a daily limit is reduced to 4 from 5 the next thing you know we will be fishing for 3 instead of 5. The reason why I say a reduction in daily limits reduce legitimacy is because that one big bite in a 4 fish bag vs one big bites in a 5 fish bag makes a big impact “more of a red neck lotto”.
However the biggest threat to our sport right now is WEIGHT IT ON THE WATER OR MLF STYLE. Quite frankly this style of fishing is a JOKE and has zero legitimacy as a way to determine the winner in a fishing tournament. I have fished this format for fun at the club level and can tell you for sure this is no way to calculate the winner of any tournament that you want the results to be considered legit. There is no way that you can get accurate weight to the ounce with 100 different boats having 100 different judges reading 100 different scales on 100 different types of waves. One boat might be in the back of a creek in flat water at the same time another is out on a main lake in 4 foot waves. Weigh it on the water style is great for fun but terrible for accuracy.
I understand the concept of fish care and this is why we as tournament anglers must fizz, Ice and aerate water. In New York state our fishing license allows us to catch, keep and kill 5 bass per day, so well over 150 bass per angler every year if we want to. We as tournament anglers do not even come close to this level of consumption. By catching 5 bass that you fizz, Ice and keep in a proper live well then release later in the day should and will have little to no impact on the fish population in a given body of water.
We as tournament angler are rolling down the road with over $100,000 tied up into trucks, boats and endless amounts of tackle. We fish tournaments for thousands of dollars that are determined by ounces. I could write a endless list of examples but I will give you only one, last year I fished a BFL on Champlain and inside the money line alone there were 7 ties to the ounce!! We as anglers have way too much on the line, we can not let our sport loose it’s legitimacy. Weighing on the water makes our sport a game of chance not a game of skill. Not every tournament will come down to the ounce but many will and many do every year.
I encourage any and all angler that agree with me to write or speak to your tournament directors at what ever trail you fish and let them know how you feel before it’s too late.