At some point in the history of FLW, I figured they might stop being the goofy little brother to BASS and actually do the right thing. I guess that ought to teach me about positive thinking.
In a recent press release, FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel said that after “thoughtfully” studying the use of umbrella rigs, they would no longer permit their use in FLW Tour competition.
FLW, as always, knows nothing about leadership. And, why should they? From its earliest beginnings, FLW was all about dangling a carrot in front of the disenfranchised second-tier anglers who desperately needed a national circuit, any circuit, to fulfill their fifteen minutes of fame.
At first, it was for bass anglers with “flexible” standards, people who could wear jerseys and fish from boats emblazoned with an FLW sponsor logo and only an FLW sponsor logo. There was a time when it looked as though a duct tape manufacturer was running the show. For anyone who has conveniently forgotten, the FLW folks would plaster hunks of duct tape over any non-sponsored logos found on hats or t-shirts in the televised audience. Why these free-thinking Americans allowed them to do that should be obvious: They were idiots.
Later, BASS gift wrapped several of their veteran anglers to FLW by restricting television time only to a chosen few and paving the way for more defections to come. Even with such boneheadedness from the competition, FLW continued to offer a program that looked more like an infomercial than a viable competitor to BASS.
With the announcement to ban umbrella rigs, FLW has openly admitted to something most of us already understood: In the relationship between the two national tours, FLW is the bitch.
If that language is a little harsh for you, how about this?
FLW folded to the pressure. With very few original thoughts of their own, FLW has always had an identity crisis – and always will – because they want to be the big circuit, but without a soul. Face it, BASS had Ray Scott. As much as BASS wanted to control their anglers, they at least gave lip service to caring about them. At FLW – from the start – it was all about money. Specifically, ensuring that sponsors got the total stroke job at the expense of building brand-name fishermen. If an angler was good enough and gained enough recognition, who cared if the obvious next move was to slip on a pair of big boy pants over at BASS? FLW seemed content at being the minor leagues of bass fishing as long as the money kept rolling in.
Only now, the money isn’t rolling quite as freely. FLW needs everyone, even the professionally non-professional nobodies at PAA. The big names have spoken, specifically KVD and his band of misfit toys who gleefully follow the chosen one down a path to their own demise.
Of course, FLW can never speak the truth – unless Wal-Mart approves that version of the truth – and they didn’t this time. In the FLW announcement about umbrella rigs, Fennel made it sound as if the state fish and game agencies were dragging their feet on the issue.
Hey, Kathy! Maybe there isn’t enough evidence, if any, that umbrella rigs have any deleterious effect on bass populations. Ever consider that possibility? Ever consider waiting until you get actual, documented biological research results, creel samples, whatever from which you could make a decision?
I guess we should be so happy that dear Kathy and the FLW allowed the use of umbrella rigs in non-elite tournaments, events where the disadvantaged chimps of bass fishing – one would assume – can go play with machineguns.
King of the chimps, Randall Tharp, weighed in on the issue. From a vague reference to the umbrella rig’s capacity in destroying “other technologies” to his personal opinion that umbrella rigs are “not good for the sport”, I have only one response: Stop thinking, Randall. It’s not a good look on you. Stick to what you know Mr. 2013 FLW Champion, a lesson right from the FLW playbook: Be happy with being second best.