I have been asked many times what I think about the new system with the “Bassmaster Opens” and qualifying for the Bassmasters Classic. In the past, the top two points leaders from each open division qualified for the Bassmaster Classic. You had to fish all three, and if you were consistent and placed well enough over the course of three different lakes you were given not only a place in the Elite Series but also a spot in the classic. Now, if you win just one open event you automatically qualify for the Bassmaster Classic? So, three anglers from each division will go to the classic (each tournament winner).
Well, my answer to this one is not a simple one, and I am really not sure where I sit with this. I see good things, and I see unsettling things.
The new qualification allows more anglers a chance at being the “World” Champion. Does winning two tournaments; an open and then the classic mean you are a “World” Champion. Maybe? This ‘opens’ the door for some really great fisherman that just can’t; one, afford to fish in the elite series or two, job requirements prevent them from taking time off to fish the elite series. Should these anglers be given a shot at the “World” title? Sure why not. Some of these potential winners could definitely have what it takes to compete in the Elite platform, but for many different reasons were unable to do so, fishing and doing well in the classic may give them the funds, endorsements, and confidence to “Run with the Big Dogs”. So, on one hand I say yes it’s a great thing.
From a pro’s stand point, this is looked at much differently. The Elite anglers have spent thousands of dollars, travelled all across the country, fished in adverse weather conditions, sick or not they were on the water. You might be saying, “That’s their Job”. Well you’re correct, and that’s the problem. The Elite anglers ‘bass’ fish for a living, so to have someone that either got lucky and stuck a couple good fish or fished a home lake that they dominate on anyway and made it to the classic to fish against them just doesn’t seem quite fair. It would be like you working for a company for 10 years, and finally a new position opens up that’s worth a lot of money, but you have to compete against a person that was just brought on two months ago? Does that seem right?
Here’s a finally flip: The Elite Pro’s are allowed to fish the opens. They have just as much chance to win one of these spots as does the local angler. That being said, the local angler had to beat the pro’s to get that spot in the first place, so at least on that given day, the local angler was worthy.
Here I sit, at the home off the next Classic “Red River” out of Shreveport/Bossier. If I was financially able, I should fish all the Open Events. Should I win one, I would qualify for and get to fish the Bassmaster Classic. Hmmm… There’s an idea, it would be much cheaper than fishing the Elite’s (besides the fact that you have to qualify the previous year to fish them)!!!!
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