Listen to anglers

Mandi Olson

Dear editor:
After reading the April 8, 2010 edition of the Fort Frances Times, I once again was sadly disappointed with the article headlined “Plans on track for this year’s bass tournament.”
I have been an avid spectator and participant in the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship since it has began in 1994. For the past five years, I have been an angler in the tournament (except in 2009 when I had a baby) and in the years I participated, I have only become more and more disappointed in its unsuccessfulness.
On many occasions I have mentioned new ideas or new ways to try things, and they have never been attempted or considered. I know my partner (my father) even has attended meetings on behalf of quite a few anglers looking for answers—and has never been successful, either.
I realize the tournament has to promote itself, but shouldn’t the tournament look to the anglers for support and constructive criticism?
I have not yet talked to an angler who supports the move to the local arena. In fact, the questions asked are “What about the fish?” and “Isn’t anyone considering the fish and the stress that this move is going to place on them?”
I know that during the weigh-ins under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina that we may sit out on the river for hours in the blazing heat—sometimes wanting to give our own lives just to keep our fish alive.
And now we are supposed to transport our fish even further? This doesn’t make sense to myself and many other anglers, yet our questions are ignored.
Another issue is the prize board and payback to the anglers. In years past, the prize board has been changed during the rules meeting (organizers of the FFCBC may have known beforehand but anglers weren’t informed until this point).
So we are supposed to put out more than $1,000 that we have worked hard to get into a pot that we may not even win? And if we do win, we don’t get as much as what we anticipated?
This makes me want to withdraw from the tournament, but again I don’t because I love the competition, anglers, and volunteers.
What about the payback to the anglers? The FFCBC is the only tournament I’ve seen that doesn’t give 100 percent (or close to that) to its anglers.
The last concern I believe should be addressed at this point is the support of the volunteers and community. Without these people, the tournament would never run.
In previous years, there always has been an incentive for volunteers in the tournament, but now it’s “your shirt is your incentive” and on one occurrence I even heard “Why are you standing around?”
The volunteers are unpaid helpers and deserve just as much thanks as anyone else for their hard work and support, so why aren’t we giving back to them? Maybe a steak dinner or gift certificate for a local food vendor for a little thanks?!?
Thank you volunteers, vendors, and the community for your support over the past 16 years . . . without you, it truly wouldn’t be possible and for that I am grateful.
Thank you, editor, for your space. Maybe posting this in the newspaper will alert the FFCBC that changes need to be made and programming needs to be improved.
I am hoping this also will help other anglers, volunteers, and community members address their support and concerns with the FFCBC.
Thank you,
Mandi Olson
Fort Frances, Ont.
FFCBC angler