First off thank you for all the reply's. The purpose of the post was to highlight some of the options we have been pondering these are not iron clad changes that are at this point definitive. This tournament since its inception has always been about the majority. No one rule change has ever been to thwart the efforts of any one team and none are there to benefit any one group of anglers.
Let us first take on the Laker option.....this simply came from both a state of the lake thought process as well as something that we thought could be strategic and fun. With stocking on the decline and catch rates up we thought it might be a way to target the hungry garbage cans that continue to hurt our bait populations. We thought it might be fun to switch gears especially because of the success that the Oak Orchard has enjoyed over the years. Our focus continues to be KING SALMON obviously and will likely continue as it always has and remain 6 kings.
At PAR entry..... Our sport has always seemed like it could survive the apocalypse. When you see where we started and continue to look around the lake you will see plenty of options for tourneys. Participation is more regional and travel from region to region (by boat) isn't what it once was. We live in the age where if you've been in the game long enough you have literally met all the first and second tier guys. Everyone has plenty of ideas of who we should talk to for sponsorship but at the end of the day sponsorship is decided on bodies. How many eyes will see my product. With over 50 tournaments on just Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan alone how do you think those marketing dollars get split up amongst everyone? Better yet take a guess on what kind of volume your favorite tackle company does or what their marketing budget may be? The only way for more sponsorship and money is more people. Forget Bass Pro the inland game is so much bigger. Unfortunately the Great Lakes Salmon Market is one of the smallest segments.
The Canadian dollar is cost prohibitive as it pertains to tourney fishing here in the states. By the time you figure meals, lodging, entry, tackle and fuel the extra 30 percent adds up. With participation being the key element of any tourneys success money in = money out and people = sponsorship it makes plenty of sense to offer our fellow anglers from the North a bone. Factor in regionally how close the GTA is to Wilson and you just might end up with a sponsor as well, on top a pool of new entrants.
Observers.... Tuff one and one I take pretty serious. Given the mixture of talent at this position it has outgrown its use. With al the problems the past few years in various tournaments I cant think of one where the observer has made the difference. Many eat,sleep and drink the day away. Some are the next gen salmon anglers others are there to take your money and often root against you come way-in after bonding with "their" team all day. Many just don't take the job seriously and we as tournament committees assume all is well when there are no complaints. I think with mandatory polygraph and possibly cameras we can achieve the same thing and I would argue with a thoughtful line of questioning you might do one better.
The Canadian Border...… People whine when we took it away they whine when we put it back in. True to my word in 2015 I always wanted the tournament to remain wide open. I don't like grid tourneys and its always more fun when your wondering what your opponent is up to. The main reason we did away with the open border was the lack of a resolution on entry and reentry as well as possible problems with observer assignments and licensing. It can all be at your own risk when it is your team alone representing you. Fast boats slow boats big boats small boats, each one has its own distinct advantage or disadvantage. The rules of this tournament do not and will ever benefit any boat class. Weather is what defines all,where you go and even where the fish migrate to. With the tourney a week later the past few years the fish have been well over the border. Most boats have made a right turn out of the piers and we have the drone footage to prove it.
8 rods...….why not
What made the tournament great at its inception was the competitive nature and participation. The fishing was one component the comradery was another. The big tent, dinners, raffles, and the tournament within a tournament were all fun additions. One might argue the week before was more fun than the event itself. So what happened? Less participation, more events, less travel, less anglers, the assembly of DREAM TEAMS, increased exchange rate, and a couple of years with some lean fishing. We had plenty of fun opportunities namely a Web series, helicopter, banquets and raffles....we have tried it all and had success. At the end of it all its all about people and money how far are you willing to go?
If you have ideas or want to get involved we would enjoy more participation in the event and or behind the scenes from an admin perspective. If you have a product or would consider sponsoring or suggesting a sponsor we are all ears. At the end of the day you are a consumer and we have a product I get it but this is run by a few and its a ton of work and a ton of time. We need ideas and positivity not overly critical posts and phone calls. Its emotional we understand but this event is forever a work in progress and one that welcomes your continued input.