Wow, the sport fishing scene is on fire!
Whether it's the culmination of yet another awesome Women's Bassmaster Tour season or several other events taking place across the country, it's alive and flourishing even during these tough economic times.
The ASA (American Sportfishing Association) recently sent out a press release stating license sales are up across the U.S. despite the recession. Good news.
Our industry is starting to unite in a battle against the perceived evils coming out of Washington D.C., whether that is the right to show hunting and fishing videos or still images, a case that was argued in front of the Supreme Court (U.S. versus Stevens), or the battle with the newest federal task force, which isn't even considering sport anglers at this time, in their decisions regarding coastal and Great Lakes fishery management.
Geez, we only make up about 20 percent of population, why bother listening to us. AARRGGHH!!
On top of that, several tournament organizations are faced with diminished numbers of participants and are struggling mightily to survive. That can be said for many boat, motor and tackle manufacturers as well.
OK, so this is news and should be discussed, right? Well, not according to some.
What is most shocking is that some who fancy themselves as outdoor journalists are stating in public venues that outdoor media who discuss such matters openly are doing a disservice to our industry and causes.
They claim that having faith in the goodness that is fishing and just talking up how wonderful every tournament circuit is or how super groovy the entire industry is will benefit all of us much more than a good old-fashioned dose of the truth. I say bunk to that.
Without open and free discussion here at ESPNOutdoors.com and at other major Web sites, on television, in print or on the radio, we will have nothing. We as an industry will succumb to the D.C. czars and be marginalized. If we don't have this type of frank discussion regarding the state of our tournament organizations or industry in general then we won't know how to fix the flaws.
The tournament anglers are the tip-of-the spear in regards to research and development of fishing gear, etc. in the sport fishing community.
To not talk about what is going on in their profession and to not fight for improvements in tournament fishing organizations for the betterment of the entire industry is foolhardy.
These folks on the trails provide almost instant feedback that can be so vital to the success of a company. Pretending the circuits are all swell and healthy doesn't help the anglers, potential anglers or sponsors. Belittling those who discuss the state of the tournament industry helps nobody.
If we continue down the path of nothing but sunshine, rainbows, lollipops, and whiskers on kittens like a bunch of doped up drones, then we are not helping our beloved industry.
Sgt. Barnes from the movie Platoon said it best, "There's the way things oughta be, and then there's the way things are. I am reality."
Our reality is that tough times lie ahead. The economy has yet to recover. We are being bombarded by enemies who have used incrementalism to achieve anti-fishing goals for decades.
They are now deciding the fate of our sport at the highest federal levels. Unless we speak up, expect failure. Unless we unite, accept tyranny. Unless we speak the truth, prepare for permanent silence.
And silent is something I just won't be.
Dave and Kristin Landahl host The Fishing Fanatics, www.TheFishingFanatics.com, radio show on ESPN radio affiliate AM 1360 WLBK in northern Illinois Thursday evenings from 6-7 PM Central time. You can also tune in to hear The Fishing Fanatics at www.1360wlbk.com and check them out at www.walleyecentral.com