LOL!!! This ought to be good....
I'm in your shoes, but the stories I've heard about people weighing in dead fish, no live well required, using bait and other things that contribute to the high death rate of fish. As well as the time, the huge number of participants, the endless possibilities for cheating.... It sounds like a mess.
I am not fishing the Bill Luke Big Bass Days Tournament for the following reasons:
It is held in the middle of the spawn. Bed fishing for large females is common practice at the tournament. I’m as guilty of doing it in the past as anyone. But 300 boats per day for three consecutive days hammers the large fish population right in the middle of the spawn. I’ve said it before on this board and I’ll say it again. I think hammering the big fish during the spawn for three consecutive days at the Bill Luke Big Bass Days is partially responsible for the decline in big fish population at Pleasant. There is a difference between using an available resource and abusing it. I’m not going to do it again.
Live bait is allowed. Almost everyone fishes with shad or water dogs. Deep hooking fish is the usual result unless circle hooks are used. Gut hooked fish typically die.
There are no requirements that boats have proper working live wells to keep fish alive. People have a 4 lber in their livewell at 7am and they go all the way down to the marina weigh-in and find out the big fish is a 6. So they keep their fish till 9am, meanwhile they go back up into Castle Creek and fish, make the trip back down again. People can stockpile fish in their livewell. There’s no rule against it.
The time of the year puts the vast majority of participants in the north creek arms: Castle Creek, Coles, and Humbug. The size of the field puts a lot of boats in close proximity. Unlike most tournaments, there were no rules as to how close boats can be. I had two instances one year where a boat anchored less than 30 feet in front of me and refused to move.
Serious prizes causes serious fishermen. Potentially violent fishermen. A $25,000 truck for big fish each day brings everyone out. People pre-fish for weeks to find big fish. They scour the backs of coves for shad. They build elaborate holding tanks for the shad. One year I saw a boat with a 50 gallon garbage can, full of water, 50 hp motor. 16 foot boat, three people fishing in the boat, an accident waiting to happen. These guys caught a big fish and transferred it to another boat for a run to the weigh in at the other end of the lake. Team fishing. There are no rules against it.
Lack of rules, and lack of enforcement. This tournament is wide open. The “honor system”. No live well checks, no off-limits days before the tournament, no visible on-the-lake enforcement, no extra sheriff patrols, no Game and Fish patrols, no way for self-enforcement because boats are not identifiable as participants. I’m not saying people are cheating, only that the potential is there.
The potential is also there for a boating accident. People are in a hurry to make the weigh-ins. (There’s a weigh-in every 2 hours at the far south end of the lake.) The three heavily fished northern creek arms have extensive no-wake areas that are constantly violated by participants. Don’t be at the narrow entrance to Humbug at ten till 9, 11, 1 or 3 o’clock. Boat traffic is terrible. For that matter, don’t be at the narrow entrance to the marina either. Boat traffic is worse than terrible. Imagine trying to leave that small marina entrance with 6 bass boats coming at you from the North, Northwest, and West at 60 mph? And 4 or 5 more right behind them! Happened to me.
Hey, its only my personal opinion that the tournament and its sponsors need to be aware there is a potential disaster waiting to happen. The increased size of the field and seriousness of the competitors could lead to
a major boating accident during the tournament, violence between competitors on or off the lake, or a major cheating scandal. Any of these occurrences could have a negative effect on all tournament fishing. Think about that.
These are the reasons why I’m not fishing Big Bass Days. We’ve had sessions at a couple of AZGFD Round Table meetings with representatives from BLBBDs. We raised these issues. No one ever came back to us and said here, read this, this is what we’re doing different now.
So, Bill Luke? Tell us what you are doing differently this year?
i never fished one and never will espicially after reading da 's reply. i have heard alot of people say blbbd brings alot of money to the economy, i think its a big advertisement for bill luke and tempe marine . .........where have all the big bass gone in lake pleasant?? probaly blbbd is responcible for a good part of it
I have witness all the dead / floating fish at there weigh in's two years ago. I took my 2 sons up to watch the weigh in at I think 3:00 that year and to my surprise the cattle tank / holding tank (with no aerator system) FULL of fish, my 10 year old said out loud, dad, there is 15 fish upside down. One of the rep's from bill luke said , son these fish are fine, we will take them back out to deep water and crate them down. My other son 13, says I hope you stay out there for awhile to pick them all back up when they float up again. (He fishes tournys with me so he new what was up. Any way the guy started throwing fish in big fish nets and carried them out to a pontoon boat with a big tank on it, and off they went. Oh, also they had about 5-8 fish flapping in the dirt for at least 2 minutes while the guy went and got another net. Also when they take pictures of the top big fish with the person / person's it takes way to long before these fish see water again.
Never fished it Never will until they make major changes and time of year. Never like Dodges anyway ( SORRY). :wink:
DEL, hey I have been outta town for the last few years, livin in CA... I forgot all about WildWestBass, whatever happened to them? Did RS screw someone out of a boat or something? It wouldnt be the 1st time... later
I’m not one to only point out problems with Bill Luke Big Bass Days (BTW, Titled as presented by Skeeter this year) In the past I’ve also offered procedural and rule changes to minimize the problems I see with the tournament. Here’s this year’s version.
BASS FISHERY ISSUES: Move the tournament to the fall to avoid disrupting the spawn or at least close off two or three major spawning coves by making them off limits. No live bait, only artificial lures may be used. Boats must have a working aerated live well and participants must have live wells checked at any of the major boat ramps at the lake before 6am on each day of the tournaments. Use of fish preservation products, like Please Release Me, in the live well is encouraged to maintain good fish condition. Use aerated and chemically treated holding tanks at the weigh-in. Limit the number of fish in possession to one fish per contestant.
SPORTSMANSHIP ISSUES: No participants boat may move within 25 yards of another participants boat at any time for the purpose of fishing. Transferring fish from one boat to another is prohibited except in the case of a breakdown. Transferring fish from shore to a participants boat is prohibited. Have several, visibly marked, tournament official boats patrolling the lake. Tournament officials reserve the right to inspect any contestants boat during tournament hours. Contestants boats will display unique, daily, tournament identification which will be applied at the daily live well check. Tournament officials will monitor off limit areas including the north end of the Aqua Fria.
SAFETY ISSUES: Work with Maricopa Parks, the Sheriff’s department, and Game & Fish to have additional law enforcement boats on the water all three days. Establish additional weigh-in sites at the north end of the lake to reduce congestion at the marina.
No doubt these solutions will cause logistical, financial and personnel problems for the organizers. If I were a sponsor, I’d think of it as insurance. Disaster insurance. Yeah, everyone signs a waiver not to hold the organizers responsible for damages. But if the organizers are negligent does that hold water? Seems like a ton of money is spent each year for the “party” area and entertainment aspects of this event. Look at the stage, tents, sound systems, lighting systems, and country/western bands. Imagine what the sponsors spend on food and booze to entertain their customers at their private tents? Compare that to how much appears is being spent on the fishing, enforcement and safety aspect of this event.