Tournament Fishing's Four-Letter Word: Part 3

A three-part series look at how competitive bass fishing has changed and evolved since the 1970s

If you're now convinced that luck is a bigger factor in conventional bass tournaments than ever before, it's time to consider ways that luck can be reduced to give us a more fair and more equitable competition. You'll see that it involves things that Major League Fishing does by careful design.

The first thing you do if you want to reduce the element of luck in a bass tournament is to raise the creel limit. Most modern tournaments have a five-bass creel limit. When Ray Scott hosted the first modern event in 1967 (the All-American on Beaver Lake, Ark., in 1967), there was a 15-bass creel limit and no size limit. A few years later, B.A.S.S. reduced the creel limit to 10 bass, and then seven and eventually five, where it has remained for more than 20 years.

There's nothing particularly organic about the reduction in the creel limit. It was done for conservation purposes, not competition purposes. When catch-and-release came along in 1972, 15 bass was just too many for an early livewell. The number was reduced to 10. And if 10 was good, seven would be better, right? So how about five? That sounds good, right?

Read the rest of "Tournament Fishing's Four-Letter Word: Part 3" at

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