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Flow of Information Not Allowed!
Our country is based on two principles that seem
to have collided in the fishing industry casting serious doubt as to
the validity of information flowing out of the industry. These are the
free-market system and free speech. One of the most blatant examples
of this is some of the infamous ďduct tapeĒ pictures from the FLW
Tour. It appears that FLW Outdoors believes that allowing a pro to
show a logo patch of a sponsor that is not also an FLW sponsor is a
threat to their business. Interviews are run much the same way. The
pro must either not mention what they used if it is not the tour
sponsorís product or they must refer to it generically by simply
stating ďa spinnerbait.Ē I am aware of at least one instant where
a pro outright lied about what they used and he was caught once
someone examined the pictures. Iím sure this isnít the norm, but I
am sure the pressure is there to do so. The reason for these
restrictions is clearly to protect the series sponsors and their
It is probably safe to say this increases the
circuitís ability to gain sponsors because they are, in effect,
given an exclusive. If this statement is true it then follows that
this practice will hurt the individual anglerís ability to get
sponsorship dollars. This all occurs while the organization claims
they are there for the angler. While this was once fairly easy to
believe, now it is becoming clear they are there for the profit.
Another example Iíve become aware of occurred
after a winning angler, who requested to remain anonymous, was
interviewed. The open question was asked, ďHow did you catch the
winning sack.Ē He began by stating he was pitching a lure and stated
the brand. The interviewer gave him a stern look but let him go on.
Into the discussion he mentioned the lure brand again and the
interviewer blocked the audio for a few seconds and told him if he
mentioned it again they would end the interview because they were not
a series sponsor.
A final example which occurs everyday on the
various forums and web pages that many of us frequent at the grass
roots level concerns what can be said and what cannot. The situation
will occur something like this: an angler asks an innocent question
concerning who make the best jig or something to that effect. Then two
types of posts come out of it. One will state John Smith makes the
best here is where to get them. The second will respond in detail why
he likes a certain brand and then he may or may not state where they
can be acquired depending on how obvious it is. It is sad, but because
of the abusive nature of the first type of post which is not much
better than spam, the second type is not allowed either. The result is
both responses are deleted by the moderator and the original guy
asking the question either doesnít get an answer or it is at best
watered down as only board sponsors posts are kept and the rest
With all of this now mentioned, I donít
necessarily disagree with all of these practices. Every business has
the right to screen what is allowed to flow from them. This would
apply to the forums especially and also to the televised tournaments.
That is the market system we live in. I think the problem occurs when
there is no disclaimer stating the practice is occurring. Now the
viewer assumes he is getting the whole story and a straight answer but
this is not true in many cases.
This article is intended to stir some controversy
and shine a light on what could be considered bad practice from the
fishing industry as a whole. At the same time it is intended to make
the consumer aware they should view the various mediums with some
skepticism. I have not stopped viewing or reading fishing programs, in
fact, I am now reading more. I do, however, always ask myself what is
not being said and try to read between the lines.
For instance, you may read an article discussing
how to fish a John Smith jig. This article may be very informative and
be filled with good techniques but is there a reason it applies only
to John Smith jigs? More than likely there is not, or possibly there
is a subtle difference. So think it through and make your own call.
Sponsored fishermen will go out of their way to
mention sponsors during interviews and in articles. If you notice the
brand was not mentioned you can bet it was not a company that
sponsored that magazine, television program, or the angler. Even if it
is mentioned, I often will question it because of the pressure to
satisfy the sponsors.
Please donít shy away from the fishing media, but instead just be smart about your reading. It might be what isnít said that could be the most important aspect of it. In general, the techniques are good but the brand or tackle has less to do with whether or not it is successful. Master the techniques and then experiment on you own to decide which brand fits you.