Note: This is an opinion piece that was published on BassFan last month. I’m re-posting here as I learn how to use WordPress.
The FLW tour crowned its champion at the Forest Wood Cup a few weeks ago and BASS just declared its Angler of the Year (AOY) after its first “made-for-TV” post season. Thus ends the 2009 professional fishing season—with a resounding thud. For some reason I didn’t feel the magic this season like I have in years past. As a fan of the sport I can’t help but wish for more.
College football fans know the feeling – it’s the same empty feeling you get when the BCS system fails to put the two best teams on the field in the national championship game. Everyone knows that the BCS is a flawed system, but once the last whistle blows in that final game all the fans can do is dream about what could have been.
Dream about what could have been is exactly what a sports reporter named Dan Wetzel did with college football a couple of years ago. He wrote a column called The Wetzel Plan that detailed how a college playoff system could work. He even put in a mock bracket for college football fans to salivate over.
In that same spirit, I humbly submit to you The Crawford Plan. The Crawford Plan calls for the Top 6 FLW anglers to fish against the Top 6 BASS anglers to compete in a made-for-TV tournament. Each team would consist of three boaters and three non-boaters. The teams for 2009 could be:
Most of us would tune in just to see what would happen when you stuck Tommy Biffle and Mike Iaconelli together on the same boat. Off the water, the reality TV style drama of seeing each team’s captain attempt to get his fellow teammates to work together would make for good entertainment. On the water, it would be fun to watch the giant bass these all-stars could catch if you sent them to the premier fishing locations on the planet.
Now is the time for someone to step-up and deliver a real made-for-TV tournament. Someone to create excitement like Ray Scott did when he put those first classic competitors on a plane with an unknown final destination.
No doubt, were I to post this dream idea on a message board I would get multiple replies listing all the reasons why such a tournament could never happen. Chief among these objections is the idea that BASS and FLW organizations would never support it. I find that particular objection interesting. I wonder if Joe Thomas had to have the blessing of BASS or FLW when he started Ultimate Match Fishing?
After the season is officially over, college football teams do not have the option of suiting up to take it to the field one more time. Luckily, grown men do not need permission from the NCAA or anyone else to go fishing with a few friends. If during that fishing trip they happen to be representing their respective organizations in an unofficial capacity so much the better.
From the weekend angler to the highest executives, FLW and BASS members have laid down vast amounts of smack talk over the years. Are we ever going to see this rivalry taken to the lake where it belongs? I hope that day comes soon. It will be the perfect way to end the season with a resounding bang.
Bo Crawford is recreational fisherman from Alabaster, AL. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.