Bass tourney anglers face some new rules

FORT FRANCES—Organizers of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship have introduced several new rules for this year’s tournament, which is being held next Thursday to Saturday (July 27-29).
The most noteworthy of the changes involves the introduction of some new boater safety rules.
Ray Armit, the FFCBC’s director of tournament operations, said the changes should help to reduce the number of accidents on the water during the three-day tournament.
“In the past couple of years, we’ve had a couple of accidents out on the lake,” Armit noted. “What we’re trying to do is beef up some of our rules to prevent any more accidents and to zone in on the safety aspect of the boats on the water.”
Armit said most of the accidents in previous years occurred while boats were racing from one fishing spot to the next.
As such, the committee has established some “no pass” zones in areas where passing might be dangerous—such as near the train bridges by the Noden Causeway and on Bear’s Pass.
“We don’t want to have to penalize them [the anglers] by making them slow down and then having somebody else come and pass them and lose their position,” Armit said.
“It’ll make them think safer, and it won’t inconvenience them or penalize them in any way.”
Armit also stressed the importance of notifying both tournament officials and the police about any accidents that may occur out on the water.
In addition to the safety amendments, several procedural changes also have been instituted for the 2006 edition of the FFCBC.
Unlike in years past, the Wednesday prior to the start of the tournament has been declared a “no fish, no water” day.
“We feel it will give the fisheries a rest,” Armit said of the decision. “They [the anglers] pre-fish pretty hard and heavy, and they [the fish] are going to be caught and released three days in a row.”
“We would just like to give the fish a little bit of a rest on that day before.”
In declaring the Wednesday a “dry day,” tournament officials also will be able to combine registration, the rules meeting, and the parade of boats into a single day—something that should appeal to the anglers.
“We can do all of that in one day instead of splitting it up over two or three days or two or three evenings, tying the fishermen up for so many evenings,” Armit reasoned.
This year also sees the auction of the 91st tournament berth become a formalized rule. Last year’s FFCBC marked the first time a slot had been auctioned off and the response from anglers looking to get into the tournament was remarkable.
The berth fetched roughly $4,100—a remarkable amount given the tournament’s entry fee is only $1,000.
But aside from the two minor rule changes and the formalization of the “auction rule,” it will be business as usual come tournament time later this month.
“We feel we’ve got a real good set of rules,” Armit remarked. “The fishermen are real happy with what we’ve had here for the past 11 years and we try keeping the changes to a minimum.
“If there’s a real good justifiable reason to change a rule or institute a rule, then I’m all for it, but I just don’t believe in changing things just because we can,” he stressed.
(Fort Frances Times)