Charles Johnson: Maybe co-anglers shouldn't fish in FLW Cup
by Charles Johnson
Aug 06, 2013 | 1938 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Next week, 46 of the nation’s top pro bass anglers will converged on the Red River at Bossier City, La. The pros, along with their co-angler counterparts, will be fishing in the Forest L Wood Championship -- simply known as The Cup. The pros will fish four days for $500,000 and the co-anglers compete three days for $50,000.

During the competition, the pros and co-anglers are fishing in the same boat, but not against each other. Is it possible the co-anglers could change the outcome of the tournament? In the Bassmaster Classic only the pro anglers are fishing. Marshall or media observers are in the same boat, but only the pro can fish.

To be a true professional sport, the co-anglers or amateurs should be removed from the equation. Now, don’t start throwing tungsten weights at me. There are many co-anglers who are outstanding fishermen. And too, some should be in the front of the boat. What I am suggesting is the co-anglers could change the outcome of the event.

One scenario is the pro is on some suspended fish in a major creek channel. Fish from the same spot is being caught by the co-angler. These are fish the pro might need to have for the next day of competition. Each pro and co-angler catch weigh in five bass each per day.

In a close tournament, which is what is expected at the Red River, one or two good keeper bass by a co-angler could hurt the pro’s weight. Also, the pro angler may have to position the boat to prevent the back seat angler from casting to the fish. This could hamper the pro from more relaxed fishing and concentrating on catching.

Another scenario we saw last in a couple of FLW regular season events was the co-angler placing a bass in the wrong livewell. This would force a disqualification of the day’s catch for both anglers. In a major event such as The Cup this would be disastrous.

The co-angler in the excitement of his catch could open the wrong door on the livewell and drop the fish in before either angler realized what was happening. Here again the pro is distracted from fishing by keeping an eye on what his co-angler is doing in the back seat.

The co-anglers are top notch fisherman. They have to be to make it to The Cup. While I don’t believe any of the co-anglers would do anything intentional to disrupt the pro, there is always Murphy’s Law. The pro’s performance should be solely on his abilities. No other external factors should be introduced for the pro angler.

On day three the top 12 anglers in each division are on the water. With the TV boats in place this adds another variable to the pro angler’s fishing day. In B.A.S.S., the camera man is in the boat with the pro and he is not fishing.

Keep in mind there is $500,000 on the line and the career future of the pro. A few extra fish coming out of a hole could mean the difference in a major payday and just making rent.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at

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