Apr 17

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State of the Sport-April


Redfish 2.022 Win, Win and Win Again?

NEDERLAND, TEXAS. (April 2022)

From the Desk of the Commish; Entering our 15th year in producing redfish events, here is my take on the state of the sport for April.

Producer and host of the Elite Redfish Series.

Early into the 2022 tournament season we have a good group a good nucleus of teams and anglers to reshape the sport and our tour. Our numbers are down but within the same margins as they were in 2020 and 2021 prior to any equipment or procedural changes like those enacted this season, so we are actually encouraged by the new and returning group of anglers that have participated in the first 3 events of 2022.

The results are good for the sport and for our tour, just 3 events in we have produced 2 first time ever winning anglers or teams and in the 3rd an angler returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2018 so we feel we are on the right track. So far on other tour that we track the same 2 anglers that have accounted in one way or another for a win in every event held in Louisiana by the only tour that they compete in. This team is made up of 2 very talented anglers that can flat fish Louisiana, we hope to follow them as they branch out and participate in Florida, Texas or other states where their tour of choice offers events but time will tell.

Going back to 2018 or 2019 this super team has won 3 World Series Championships, 1 new high dollar event held earlier this season and this past weekend’s Delacroix event produced by the same tour. This past weekend 1 team member could not make it so the other fished alone, surely this would cost them the victory, right? Wrong, no problem he still won by himself beating all the other 2 angler teams. How long before anglers will quit traveling from Texas, Florida, NC or even from across the state thinking they have a realistic shot at winning a no holds barred event where there is no regulation to practice time on the water, equipment used or the mixing of professional guides and weekend anglers mostly there for the fun and outside (quickly becoming further outside) chance they may head home with a check.

In 2023 we will offer the team and solo tours just like this season but are returning to a time not so long ago where on the Elite Redfish Series if you wanted to fish the tour you fished the entire series of events. Every event counted and only teams and solo tour anglers that fished the entire series could compete. The sport is becoming watered down with small weekend tournaments in almost every town, much like bass did in the 90’s where as long as you have a set of scales, a stage and some tubs (even if rented) you are considered a “professional tour” when in fact the inmates are running the jail and your “professional tour” is only there as long as you allow them to hold a set of the keys…

In looking at the direction going forward and the changes made for this season one should have asked themselves or at least consider looking in the mirror and asking …. ESPN Redfish Cup, FLW Redfish Tour, the IFA, Texas Saltwater Series, Xtreme Redfish Series, Louisiana Saltwater Series (LASS), Titos, Rudy’s, the list goes on and on… Where are they? Why are they not around anymore? Why did all of them and more quit producing these fun and exciting events??? “Well they need to make the paybacks bigger?” So ESPN and FLW didn’t make the paybacks large enough? Tito’s 40k for 1st wasn’t large enough? “Well they were not on national TV so we could get corporate sponsors” So ESPN, FLW and the Elite Series didn’t do enough for the anglers to get them exposure? IFA was on TV every weekend somewhere… The truth is, anglers have to take a look at how they are playing the game and when they fail (year after year) to even consider how they are “fishing” then true professional tours will take a look for them and institute the change needed to protect the sport and its playing fields.

The image of the sport has a black eye right now as extreme weather events over the past 10 years have swallowed up so much of the coastal marshes, flats and shorelines and at a time when we should be sensitive to that and do our best to restore and protect further damaged caused by cowboy’s riding a fiberglass horse we as anglers seem hell bent on squeezing the sponge of goodwill and sportsmanship from the communities, landowners and fellow competitors until the sport dries up and goes away altogether. With the revitalized interest in the sport from Yamaha’s Redfish Cup Championship, the CCA going to live release events with on the water video weighing and immediate release of fish and tours like the Power Pole Go Live and the new and upcoming Frogg Toggs Live it’s obvious some are doing their best to reshape the sport and conserve the resource and protect its environment and it isn’t just the Elite Redfish Series. But we are proud to be helping lead the way and doing what we can even at our own expense to set a new standard.

We should all do our part to put our best foot forward and present a professional but cordial image of our great sport and enact rules and procedures that will help more to feel they have a chance at winning or at least make those that win consistently in 1 body of water travel to put their entry fees in the pots of other tour stops and locations where they are not “guaranteed” such high return on their investment. If we don’t we all run the risk of further alienating the traveling group of anglers without whom these super team’s paybacks would be far less than they are now. Playing the long game is essential (IMHO) if the sport is to do more than just survive the tough times ahead.


Permanent link to this article: https://eliteredfishseries.com/state-of-the-sport/