Well, the votes are in on the PAA umbrella rig survey of its membership. Of 147 respondents, 96 voted against the use of umbrella rigs in PAA events and 51 voted in favor of their use. Now, the final decision rests in the hands of PAA board members.
I, of course, was stunned by the report. 147 votes? That’s it? That’s the total number of “professional” anglers who found the time to respond to the survey? This is the group actively looking for sponsorship assistance? Why am I caring about the thoughts of this tiny little group? How does this factor into the decisions of those who do make a difference in the fishing industry? More importantly, where are the voices from those who manufacture, distribute, sell or otherwise make a buck off of fishing? I’ve heard nothing but crickets from those guys.
As for the PAA, it’s the same small cadre that has, for decades, tried to become something other than a toothless tiger. Regarding their influence or lack thereof, the years have seen peaks and valleys to be sure, but in the final analysis, the decisions of this hodgepodge of so-called “professionals” has amounted to virtually nothing. Really, what have they ever accomplished?
While you’re pondering that question, consider what one of their members, Gary Klein, has done with “Major League Fishing”. Klein went to the Outdoor Channel and guess what? Success. Over time, we may even be placing Gary in line for bass fishing sainthood because, quite possibly, his format could save tournament bass fishing as a professional sport.
Exaggeration, you say? Let’s see, if the costs of publishing and mailing BassMaster magazine continue to escalate and the ad dollars continue to shrink, it’s a standing eight count. If Wal-Mart ever pulls a disappearing act like the National Guard, FLW will be FLDone. If you think this is all some post-apocalyptic fiction, you are living in the same world of sunshine and Santa Claus as the 96 PAA “pros” who voted to hasten their own demise.
If you think these PAA guys know something you don’t, think again. In fact, one of their membership, someone who actually wrote down his opposition to the umbrella rigs actually believes in magic. I didn’t say it, he did. In a PAA angler blog, Dave Lefebre said – and I quote – “Well, in my brief experience [with the umbrella rig], the results are unquestionably magical.”
Magical? Are you sure? You know, Dave, maybe some of those who read your opinions don’t believe that unicorns fart rainbows.
Here’s a suggestion: Maybe you should talk to your board members, guys like John Crews or Mike McClelland, and remind them that just because someone has an opinion other than theirs, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to help the industry.
Back in the day, (1990’s) I designed and developed a set of professional bass angler trading cards and lost my job because of it. My only desire was to promote bass fishing and those who made a living from it. So, take some time, do a little research and ask someone like Guido Hibdon or Guy Eaker about such things before you start blowing rainbows.
The guy who doesn’t need unicorns because he’s got enough pots of gold being dumped on his doorstep every day is Kevin VanDam. He has got to love the outcome of this survey as he did the BASS vote to ban umbrella rigs. While I don’t think Kevin (or anyone) is smart enough to have seen this coming, I do believe that VanDam is plenty bright enough to recognize when his friends – and competition – are dumb enough do something that helps keep them in second place.
Take the umbrella rig away from the competition and who wins? Kevin VanDam and every elite pro who no longer slogs through the swamps of obscurity. While some in the PAA may consider themselves to be “household names”, they are most likely in the “cleanser” division. You know, the Ty-D-Bols and Toilet Ducks who clean up after VanDam and every other top pro who has one less lure to worry about.
I’m hoping the 51 anglers who voted in favor of the umbrella rig don’t lose heart. Please, never forget you are dealing with “pros” who believe that silence and a complete lack of vision makes them special. They’re members of a club proclaiming their “professionalism”, not their intellect.
And, for the valiant 51, I can only say, “Take heart”. June 25th is the 137-year anniversary of Custer’s Last Stand, when an egomaniac of another era led 647 souls to their demise. I’m hoping you would have been one of 51 soldiers who looked at what they were up against, the nut job who was leading them and what the most logical outcome would be. I’m hoping that someone like you was overlooked by history. I’m hoping your story may someday be told.
And, I’m still hoping there is something over the rainbow – even though I know what it’s made of.