Started to weigh in on the recent DQ of fellow Elite pro Rick Morris. After typing 509 words, I read it and re-read it, then highlighted all 509 words and punched them into oblivion with the delete key.
Hammered out another 300 plus words, read through them, and then punched them out also. Just a thought here; where did those words go?
So I have nothing to say on Morris' DQ. He said, she said, Trip made a call, and the chips fell where they fell. Is there more to the story? Have we heard the end of the saga? Have no idea and don't really care.
"Don't care" may be a little harsh. I do care because I don't want to see one of the Elite pros pitted against a co-angler. I care because it's not a good thing to have a co-angler put in the position of having to take a stand against an Elite pro.
As for the details of the DQ — don't care. None of my business. Unless the outcome results in a changing or re-wording of one of the Elite Series rules, it doesn't mean that much to me.
In the bigger picture, the system we have in place for policing the rules during Elite Series events obviously works. This system is designed to preserve the integrity of professional bass fishing. On the water, we have no referees or umpires that watch every move we make; we are the refs and umps.
Every angler entered in the tournament has the responsibility of making sure that every other angler obeys the rules. Rule 3, vii states that "Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that they violate these Rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms will be cause for disqualification."
Pretty darn simple. If I see someone break a rule, it's on my head to rat 'em out. Without officials in every hen house, how else would we keep the fox from stealing all the chickens?
Does this mean that we are all hugged up in little wolf packs, looking to chew the legs off the competition? I don't think so. Yeah, there are cliques and groups of anglers that run together.
Many anglers readily share info amongst themselves to improve their odds of doing well in the derby. I don't see any of them sharpening knives to cut another angler's throat, however. Call me crazy, say I'm naïve, but I just don't see it happening.
In the Morris case, one angler felt that another angler had stepped out of bounds and broken a rule. The TD gathered the facts and made a call. The accused has the right to appeal that decision within 7 days if he feels the wrong decision was made. In my eyes, the system works as it was designed, regardless of the outcome.
This system that Ray Scott, Bob Cobb, and Harold Sharp formulated all those years ago to preserve the integrity of professional bass fishing has served us well throughout the years. With our playing field being a public forum sometimes as large as 200,000 acres, it would be almost impossible to police the rules any other way than each angler being responsible for ensuring other anglers around him are playing by the rules.
Is there a better mousetrap when it comes to policing the rules? The best scenario is an umpire/referee/observer in every boat with a copy of the rules in their mind and another copy in their pocket. The closest we are to this scene would be the Classic and/or Major format where each angler has an observer in the back of the boat. The observer can help the angler in no way, shape, or form, except in an emergency situation. He is there to keep us all in line.
Will we ever see the day when we have umpires in the back of the boat? Maybe. Would it improve the level of competition? Yes, it would. Why would it elevate competition? That's another topic for a later date. Stay tuned.
For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his website at www.kfshort.com.