One of our favourite bass tournaments was the Morson Bass Classic.
When it was changed to a new site and title, the Morson Bass International, we were not concerned until we found out it went from a two-day tournament to a three-day one—and the entry fee was increased to $500 from $300.
They had set their sights too high for their initial trial, as well as family participation. This had to be the reasoning for their decrease in entries.
If they had stayed with a similar format as Bueno Vista’s Morson Bass Classic, they would have gotten all the 55-plus teams for their start. Then they could have built on this and, once they were better established, run a three-day tournament with a higher entry fee.
The way I look at tournaments in general, there are two divisions in what I refer to as “givers” and “takers,” which runs at 80 percent givers and 20 percent takers.
The majority of participants go home empty-handed, with their only thoughts of a challenging outing of fishing, while the minority are awarded prizes from breaking even or making a little. Usually it’s the consistent winners who make up the top 15.
Myself, we realize this going into tournaments, but we love the challenge, as well as the fun of fishing and the excitement of the tournament itself.
As the price of entry increases, as well as the rise in gasoline and oil, that makes it costly for the family entries and eventually they have to drop out of some tournaments (whereas the cost is split in half for individual anglers participating).
On the other side of the equation, you can have a two-day tournament for a standard fee of $300 and still have a full slate of entries consistently every year. I am referring to the Atikokan Bass Classic, where they are filled up for the following year before the present one expires.
No one knows this better than I do as I was late signing up at the prize presentation of the 2004 tournament and went on the waiting list (but was lucky because of a cancellation).
Then in 2005, I was late again in registering and this time not so lucky as I missed out in the 2006 tournament.
You can bet that before heading for home after the next tournament, I will be first in line to register.
Yet even with their success in filling entries immediately each year, tournament organizers have not changed to a higher entry fee.
My sincere advice for the Morson Bass International is to stay with the two-day tournament (as they did this year) and bring the entry fee back to $300, otherwise they will be stuck with a 30-team tournament—or less.
Every tournament in our area has started with the $300 entry fee, except for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship (but having a top-notch fishery on Rainy Lake was responsible for their increasing amount of teams and a higher entry fee).
The Morson Bass International was another that set their sights too high but will not be as lucky for a $500 entry fee for a two-day tournament.
You can refer to “Bassin’ for Bucks” in Sioux Narrows, which started at $300 and built up a three-day tournament successfully before making their entry fee at $400—$100 less than your initial trial.
Think about it.
Michael J. Baranowski
Nestor Falls, Ont.