At the Bass Club Level, anglers take sportsmanship seriously. As a club, we are all friends and enjoy each other’s company. If a fellow angler is in trouble, there is no question, we help them out. As you advance up the tier in bass fishing and you start fishing bigger events, you also start to realize that the sportsmanship goes down. Once the prize money gets high, the willingness for an angler to help another angler stay in the tournament goes way down.
While I think this is tragic, it does happen. I’ve heard anglers say they wouldn’t wish anything bad on another angler, but if they break down, well that’s one less person to have to beat. What if it were you? That same angler would respond, “I wouldn’t expect anyone to help me, why give up their chance to win to help me?” This all brings about an attitude that will sour most anglers from larger events. The friendly camaraderie that was enjoyed back home is now gone, and it’s all about the money and prestige.
For the last couple years, we’ve watched as camera crews follow the professionals of bass fishing around the lake and film their every move. This has been great for our sport, building notoriety, allowing us as anglers to get first-hand knowledge about how they catch bass, but it’s also been a sore.
It’s inevitable that when you have big money on the line, and that money supports your family, that tension can get high. These tensions will spill over into the camaraderie and sportsmanship of the anglers. Every so often anglers will get upset with each other and voice their opinions about it. Unfortunately, the cameras catch it all, and in an effort to boost chatter about the sport, the media pushes these spats out to the social networks and before you know it Bass Anglers are becoming known as Cut Throat, Unfair, and Out for Blood.
I don’t have a problem with media publishing the bad of the sport, but just like the network news channels, why can’t we also push the good. Here in recent events many fantastic examples of great sportsmanship have been provided, but the media doesn’t spread those? Clark Reehm put Keith Combs in his boat and let him fish the front the rest of the day (Combs’s boat was dead). What about the prop troubles and another angler helped get things fixed? Try to look that one up on the Bassmaster Website. It’s there but not easy to find. Is good sportsmanship that un-noteworthy?
In my opinion, good sportsmanship should not be a noteworthy subject; it should be common place and it should be the standard. When moving up the ladder in your bass fishing career, please remember that everyone out there on the water is after the same thing, the win; but we don’t have to treat each other like dirt to get there.
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