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despite getting home late from the Machine concert Fri night out at Westbury, was up earlier than usual and found myself in the car going to work at 6:30 am.....

instead of the usual sports banter, ESPN had an outdoors show and they were interviewing, I'm not sure of the name, "Fishman" Fishman, or something like that...and he was apparently a rep or associated with BASS, and he came up with a jolting announcement:

that BASS was to be instituting a 30 ban on all INFORMATION before an event....

yes! INFORMATION!!!!

meaning, let's say, if Rick Clunn was going to fish Lake George, he would not be allowed to grace our board within 30 days of the tournament and ask what is happening there!

how to enforce something like this?

will be harder than steroid control in baseball! LOL........

apparently, this restriction will also be in regards to being on the waters themselves......

now: in light of many of the recent long threads on here about how many days to prefish or about closing the lake the week before, etc.....how would you like 30 days! HAHAHHAHAHA.........

obviously, some of the local problems we have hashed around on our board are National concerns......

as some of our members do fish BASS events ( ie, Charles Stuart), I am wondering what they think of this current event?
 

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John,

That information thing is not a new rule. The pros aren't supposed to get any information from the local guides or experts. You're right about enforcing it though. Not an easy task. It's really up to the pros and their sense of fair play.

I'm assuming the 30 day ban from being on the water still has an alloted practice time prior to the tourney, right??
 

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Wishin' I'm Fishin'
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Will be real tough to enforce that....
In life, there are the 'gentlemen', who will follow the rulings and laws to a tee....and then there are those that will look for and utilize every loophole and interpretation they want, as well as some that flat out cheat, sadly.
At the recent Yamamoto/Angler's Choice Open Final, one guy{a TRUE gentleman}, found a large LM floating[approx 4 pounds] on it's side, in need of an air-bladder "fizzing", and though he could have cheated and brought it in [as he was fishing it alone with no witnesses] he instead did bring it in, and announced it was not legit, but wanted to save the fish to be fizzed by guys at the event from Bass Medics who would fizz any fish brought in that needed it . He gained and earned HUGE amounts of respect from me, for both his honesty, and saving that fish hopefully.
 

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Yes, it's well understood that such a rule is not enforceable, and yes, there are unscrupulous tournament anglers out there, but the overwhelming majority play fair.

You can bet that if someone does get "caught" receiving information during the "off-limits" time, that person will be made an example of in the pro fishing and sports media. For the top and rising pros, this is WAY too big a gamble, and will taint or otherwise ruin their image, relations with sponsors, BASS (and any other pro circuit, such as FLW) - basically their entire career will collapse. It's a slippery slope that no true sportsman would dare take a chance on.

It's like Sammy Sosa and the corked bat. Yeah, he's still around, but many fans will never be able to look at him the same - from a single mistake.

Tight Lines...
 

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What, me worry?
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Here is the article about it from Bass Times. It seems the main problem was that some pros were hiring local guides to find the fish and the pattern for them right before the tournament started. Also, you will read that this new rule has not yet been adopted for BASS Open events.

A dirty little secret outlawed
Editor's Column

By Matt Vincent
BASS Times, Nov. 2003


Effective with the start of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and the new Elite 50 schedule in January, a new tournament rule could change professional bass fishing forever.

In addition to the off-limit provision that was adopted for last season's Tour schedule, which put the tournament waters "off limits" to all competitors 30 days prior to the first practice day, anglers will now have to adhere to a new no-information rule this coming season.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Big deal. But hold your horses.

As outlined in the revised rule book: "(During the 30 day, off-limit period) competitors cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information via phone, electronic devices, or any other means about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. NO EXCEPTIONS. First offense — disqualification from the tournament. Second offense — loss of eligibility for the following year's Tour and E-50 events."

I'll let you in on something, if you haven't heard it already: There's been a dirty little secret in professional bass fishing for years.

Outdoor writers avoided the subject altogether, opting to focus on the catch instead of the quest. And few fishing fans were aware of it because the pros simply didn't want to talk about it. Not publicly, anyway.

"Yeah, I caught some good fish. Used a deep-diving crankbait and a local boy who's got this lake wired. It was money well spent. He found my fish for me a few days ago and all I had to do was catch them on my sponsor's lures. Is this sport great or what?"

In short, a few pros have been willing — and able — to hire local fishing guides to do their fishing for them prior to major tournaments. It's true. Checkbook bass fishing in its lowest form.

Of course, it was legal, so nobody called anyone on it. But it was a dirty laundry nonetheless.

It was like an NFL quarterback hiring someone else to throw the deep routes, or a professional bull rider borrowing a clown to climb aboard Bodacious. It just didn't seem right, though.

One of my favorite authors was the late James A. Michener, whose best selling novels included Centennial and Chesapeake. Then I found out that most of his historical research was done by a paid research staff, which is kind of like hiring your neighbor to walk your dog when it rains.

Yes, I know, professional golfers solicit yardage from their caddies and ask them how putts will break across a fast green. But caddies are not running clubs on the PGA Tour. Woods and Duval are making those shots.

The essence of professional bass fishing has been and always will be the individual angler's ability to find fish. That's the true art. Any idiot can catch them once they're located, and I'm living proof.

Rick Clunn's dazzling win on the James River in 1990 was a prime example of pure and complete victory, one untouched by an assist from the sidelines. Clunn, in fact, has always been a vocal critic of soliciting information from outside sources. And if you talk with him for any length of time, you'll understand why. It's always been the journey for Clunn, not the destination.

Seemingly out of contention for his fourth world championship title that hot summer in Virginia, Clunn found a dream zone on the final day of competition. He proceeded to hammer out the largest limit of the event to win another world title in what should be considered the greatest comeback in Classic history. Why? Because he did it on his own, from start to finish.

Professional bass fishing was never intended to reward the angler with the deepest pockets, the most sponsors, or the largest bank account. Revealing the names of the pros who have made a habit of soliciting information, who have contracted local guides on a regular basis, is tempting. But since it was legal, it would serve no purpose.

It should also be emphasized that not all pros have been guilty of checkbook bass fishing. Clunn is just one of the majority who believe in their own ability and talent to find fish on their own. The real tragedy is that their reputations have suffered by the actions of a few.

Because it's now going to be illegal for those competing in the E-50 and Tour events to seek an advantage by having someone else do their job, the playing field will be leveled in 2004. This new rule is a major step forward for BASS, and one that will no doubt be adopted by other tournament organizations for the sake of their own credibility.

Unfortunately, the new 30 day rule has not been adopted for BASS Open events. Not yet. But that could eventually happen — based on the positive reaction BASS has received thus far after the new rule was announced.

Now we arrive at the stickiest part of the equation, and that's the enforcement of the rule. According to the rule revision, "Receiving information that is public knowledge is acceptable."

Quick, define "public knowledge." But first consider all the sources of information available to us in today's high-tech world. How an angler receives information and in what form — whether accidentally or by design — well, that could be a difficult, if not impossible, proposition.

It comes down to the honor system. As it relates to the new rule, you can rest assured that professional bass fishermen will be extremely diligent in guarding themselves against a possible rule infraction. This, in turn, will protect and enhance the reputation of the sport. And, in the end, that's what BASS is all about.
 

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I read that article in Bass Times...

I'm glad somebody posted that.....I guess this information shouldn't surprise anybody....pay someone to fish a lake for you and give you the information...sounds like an easy way for locals on big tournament lakes to make some extra cash. I would love to see a list of pros who do it....if they all don't.
 

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'Fish' Fishburne is Master of Cermony at BASS events. He's an ex-pro and is wildly entertaining, a real treat to watch (I got to see him in person at Oneida). He's obviously very knowledgable of the sport because of his background, but one of his greatest assets seems to be his extensive personal contact with the pros and 'inside' stories. If you get a chance to see him in action you won't be disapointed.

See ya,

Joe K.
 

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Here is Rick Clunn's take on this matter from BassFan.com



Clunn Thinks No-Info
Is Best For All Levels

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

No-information might be the way to go for tour pros, but what about tour rookies and anglers fishing below the tour level? They need it too, said Rick Clunn.

Tour Rookies

"A lot (of anglers who get help on tour) are young and see the older anglers doing it so they think they have to do it too," Clunn said. "That's another bad thing about (allowing help). We're teaching young anglers the wrong way (to fish tournaments).

"A lot of young anglers are getting by by the seat of their pants and are starving to death, but have talent, especially in the potential context," he said. On the other hand, "a lot of guys have their own jobs, own their own businesses, or for some other reason have the ability to spend weeks fishing before an event and hiring local help.

"Talent is not the ability to catch fish," he noted. "It's the ability to find fish on your own. That's the bottom line. I guided for 15 years, and I had clients who when you put them on fish could catch as many as I did and I fished every day. But if you said, 'Go find them,' they couldn't find them if you filled their bathtubs full of fish."

So as everyone knows, help boils down to being put on fish, an issue which Clunn said hasn't gotten any better in the nearly three decades he's been on the national scene.

"When I got into it I thought (the help issue) would get better, and it hasn't. It's kind of regressed in the last 5-6 years," he said.

"It was a dream of mine when I got into the sport (to compete on a level playing field). I was naive. I thought that eventually if I got good enough I could compete against (other top pros). I always dreamed that it (would be) my ability against yours.

"For me, every other sport had some catch to it. I wasn't as big, as fast or as strong. And in NASCAR and that kind of stuff, you might not have the backing. But fishing was the one sport, no matter what your financial or social status was, if you had the mind, the passion and would commit yourself to developing these different skills, it didn't require anything more than you learning to catch fish better than someone else. To me that was neat. It truly was the one sport that didn't discriminate against anyone."

But that wasn't true, which is why Clunn said he understands the issue of help from a young angler's point of view: He experienced it. When he arrived on the national scene, people told him "you can't compete against Roland (Martin) and Bill (Dance) because they're hiring the best guides on the lake" at each tournament stop, he said.

"So everybody was telling me I couldn't do it. And BASS was like FLW sort of is now. Finally Ray Scott put in an off-limits rule, and even Bill Dance said he couldn't compete against the other guys. What he meant was, 'If I can't go out on the water with a good angler (to practice), I can't compete with guys who are doing it on their own.'"

But competitors were still getting help. "What I realized was that the only thing I had control over was my own ability," Clunn said. "I don't have control over what these other guys are doing. The only thing I asked for was a level playing field, and that's what we're talking about here. It's the first time we've ever had a level playing field.

"That's why I'm tickled to death about the new BASS rule. It's a quantum leap forward as far as the effect it will have on the sport in the long run. If that rule stays in, you'll finally see the talent go up in the sport the way it should. It will weed out guys who are using local help as a drug. And the truly talented guys, who know how to find fish on their own, will displace them."

Rookie Reactions

A "level playing field" sounds good when it comes to no help, but there's also the 30-day off-limits to think about. How do rookies feel about the combination of the two? BassFan asked two anglers who were tour rookies this year: two-tour rookie Dave Lefebre and Bassmaster Tour rookie Chad Morgenthaler. Lefebre is from Pennsylvania and Morgenthaler is from Illinois, and were picked because it was les likely that they had fished any of the tour stops.

Lefebre said the 2003 Bassmaster Tour mostly no-info rule "didn't really hurt" him. "I don't get information anyway. But the (30-day) cutoff hurt me because I was fishing both tours. I had to pick which one to practice for. In most of the BASS tournaments I either got one or two days of practice, and that hurt bad.

"I had time off (between events) where I could've hit those lakes, (but it was) during the off-limits," he noted.

"I think it hurt me. Guys who have fished those lakes before have a definite advantage. But at the same time I don't like having lakes open the whole time. I like a cutoff. I just think maybe it shouldn't be so long or something."

On the new rule, he said: "I like it a lot, but I just wish they could enforce it."

Morgenthaler said the 30-day off-limits affected him "a lot" this year. "I hadn't been to any of the lakes we fished, and just learning your way around is hard. I did try to go to some of the lakes ahead of time, when time permitted, but of course the fish weren't patterned the same (as in the competition). All you could do was look around.

"So it hurt me, but there were times when it helped, when you kind of develop a pattern while it's actually happening. And you can only do that close to the tournament days. That's when it benefits you the most."

On the new rule, Morgenthaler said: "The guys who have been doing this for a long time obviously have the upper hand going in. But if they do adhere to (the no-info) rule, that levels the playing field better. But a lot of guys who fish the tour work together, like me and Roger Boler, and when you get experienced guys together it doesn't take them long to get on something. Experience means a lot."

He added: "Personally I wish they'd go to no off-limits. That would pretty much level the playing field as far as I can see. So many guys can pick up the phone and call 20 guys to find out what's going on, and I feel like if you can get a week on the water before the tournament, you have a pretty good feel for what's going on."

Clunn Responds

To rookies who feel that they're at a disadvantage with the 30-day off-limits, Clunn said: "Anybody that tells you that doesn't understand what this sport is about. If you're doing it the right way, it doesn't matter if you've never been on that lake. If you're doing it the wrong way, you have a point."

What are the right and wrong ways? Clunn won't say. "The ones who know, know. The ones who don't will never know."

Opens, Aluminum Bats and Your Soul

Clunn also feels that the rules should apply to the Bassmaster Opens, which this year went to no off-limits.

"Opens are where all the young guys are coming from," he said. "All the rules should be consistent or we're teaching young guys to do it the wrong way and then the big leagues are a reality check. We need to start them the right way. That will weed out (the ones who can't hack it)."

What about the fact that several sports have less-difficult rules in leagues a step or two down from the pros? For example, baseball allows aluminum bats in college. Clunn said such things are "minor adjustments," not "big inconsistencies" that have "the potential to destroy your self-reliance and self-confidence.

"That's what a lack of that rule does. The worst thing about (having no-off-limits and allowing help is that it's) a thief that will eventually steal your soul, metaphorically speaking, and your self-confidence. Even if a guy puts you on a winning bag of fish, you know in your heart where it came from, and that will steal your soul."

Tim Horton, who also likes the rule change, said he thinks getting information "can hurt people" -- including himself, when he's relied on information he's received. "I'm opposed to (help), but I'm not saying I never got it because I have," he noted.

But he said that "part of the learning process of coming up through the ranks is networking and talking fishing, and there's nothing wrong with that. But when you get to the Tour and E50s, the guys on that level should be doing it on their own."

Notable

> Clunn said he doesn't even recommend sharing information between competitors. But if you do it, he suggests not talking to any of your running buddies until practice is over. "On the night of the last day of practice, which hopefully was no more than 3 days, sit down and go over the patterns you have or haven't developed," he said. Waiting until then "allows you a freedom of expression to pursue your ideas and thoughts freely without being aborted prematurely. A lot of guys -- and I'm talking from experience because I've been there -- talk on the lake. You bump into someone and say, 'You doing any good?' And he says, 'Yeah, I got 8 bites.' So you're thinking, I better establish this pattern that so-and-so is on. But you might have been on a pattern where you caught two fish, but didn't go ahead and fully develop it. That's the danger of talking to anybody. Go out and do everything you can to make it work yourself. Then, if that doesn't work, compare notes before the tournament starts. Then maybe you do or don't need to change. But anything before that never allows you to be you."

> "Roland Martin is the only person I've seen (where help) could benefit a person and not hurt him," Clunn said.
 

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Actually a problem a lot of pros are plagued with is locals offering them information without the pros even asking for it.

The pro may appear rude by paying no attention or asking them to please stop when all they're really trying to do is be honest......well some of um anyway.;) :p

I wonder if there are any lurking here at nybass before a local tourney because if there are I suppose that would indeed be a violation of the rules.
 

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lurecrafter
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Tony and Joe, phenomenal articles.!! :beerchug:
Since I'm a lifetime BASS member and my name is on a bass buddy list, I experienced two calls from individuals who wanted to prefish the BASS, Hudson R. tournament (the year that Roland Martin won on his Blue Fox willow leaf spinnerbait.) I was asked how much experience I had on the river and whether I would guide for a few days, all expenses paid. I don't know if the southerners (by voice) were representing themselves or were scouts for a pro(s), but being only a week before the tournament, I was suspicious and declined. They wouldn't give their names.

I can't believe it hasn't been common practice (scouts or prefishing) for years, nor can I believe that it will stop because it became official. $50,000-$100,000 is no small change and can make or break a lot of guys trying to get to the top so that their families can stop eating hot dogs and beans.

FrankM
 

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As outlined in the revised rule book: "(During the 30 day, off-limit period) competitors cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information via phone, electronic devices, or any other means about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. NO EXCEPTIONS. First offense — disqualification from the tournament. Second offense — loss of eligibility for the following year's Tour and E-50 events."
"Receiving information that is public knowledge is acceptable."
I wonder if there are any lurking here at nybass before a local tourney because if there are I suppose that would indeed be a violation of the rules.
Would think the info on nybass if not solicited as public knowledge, BUT coming here to read would would be gathering info.... hmmmm:confused:
 

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lurecrafter
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Gregg, are you saying that this site could be a major temptation before a major BASS tournament in N.Y? :D Hmmm...
In any case, if new posters come on with names like BubbaBuddy, JohnnyReb, Tex, RobertELee, GoodOlBoy etc., time for the moderators to ask questions, especially within 30 days of a BASS tourney on N.Y.waters!
 

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There is no way this is enforceable. I can see a guy getting ratted out but if they just peruse a fishing site, there is no documentation of them even being there. It is a good move, it levels out the playing field.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I knew this would generate a lot of thought, many thanks to all the participants....

maybe NOW you guys can understand why I am so hard on the new posters who come on here with one line opening posts requesting information........


do keep in mind though, that we are talking about high level BASS contests, a big difference between finding out what is going on in our smaller waters, and despite what some might think, what is going on in our medium sized waters.......

A Scully halloween bash where the winner walks off with 1200 dollars is a lot different than , as pointed out, a 50 to 100 thousand dollar purse......this is NOT a knock on Sculs excellently run tourney, just a reality check about what we are talking of.....

of course: it could apply to all tournies, small or large....
 

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Many levels

Why not BASS pros, they sometimes visit waters discussed here like the Hudson, Champlain, Erie etc. You know local tourney guys are looking in. With the local guys what I don't understand is why lurk? What would it hurt to join in? We have guys here who post and participate who belong to bass clubs must be something like 15 clubs represented. Doesn't hurt them!
 

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lurecrafter
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Makes you wonder how Woo Daves won the Hudson R. tourney a few years ago. It was his first time on the H. and somehow he just knew to travel 30 miles south to Wappingers Creek and win all! That's a mighty big river and not all creeks are equal, so figuring out tidal waters is a major challenge even for the locals.

It will come down to the honor system, but when it comes to big money, there will always be those that s-t-r-e-t-c-h the rules.
Plus, suspicion (like in the above instance), will lead to cheating or at least bad feelings based on the perception that something, other than dead fish, doesn't smell right. Would a pro ever accuse another pro of cheating this way? Doubtful!
 

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Senkosam said:
It was his first time on the H. and somehow he just knew to travel 30 miles south to Wappingers Creek and win all!
Fishing the creeks on the Hudson during the fall isn't exactly top secret information. Might even be considered "common knowledge". Add to that the fact that a number of locals fished the same tournament and he bested them all.

Perhaps Woo just did his homework, practiced, and had a good day.:)

I suppose the winner of any tournament could fall under some scrutiny as to having received information. We can't automatically point fingers at everyone who does well................................Even if they are all guilty as hell!!LOL:p
 

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Perhaps Woo just did his homework, practiced
Guys like Woo don't travel a thousand miles or more to guess where fish might be in the fall, in the Hudson. His skill level and experience on rivers probably gave him an edge, 'but when did he practice and who did his homework for him', are questions that could be thought, if not expressed, after a big win.

The new reg may change a few practices of many, but not because it's enforceable or universally accepted. Days before a BASS event on a local water, (most likely the Hudson), I'll launch my boat to see how many bass boats are working the creeks and the main river. Bet it's not coincidence if they're out there in numbers. Money changes everything.
 
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