Hey Guys 

With all the views and posts regarding the Denny Brauer  vs. JVD fiasco, I just wanted to give you all my opinion of some of the top anglers in the sport from my experiences fishing with them and against them.   I have in the past also attended one of their "pro angler" meetings and received a lot of input from their perspectives as well as the amatuer or back of the boat perspective.

I am not referring to all of the Elite anglers but a large portion of them.  Firstly, they don't care one bit about the up and coming anglers, or rookies, or us.  They don't want us getting in their competitions, they don't want us getting in their boats, they don't want to educate us and above all, they don't want us taking "their" prize money.  Why do you think they are fishing alone now?

Here are some of the stories I've personally encountered while fishing BASS tournaments.

I attended a "pro angler" meeting at an event in Detroit a number of years ago.  The general consensus of anglers was to try to limit the the non-boaters from catching (or stealing) their fish.  I heard comments like "They shouldn't be allowed to fish at all"..."If the guy in my boat casts past the console I'll break his rod" etc. etc.

During that tournament I was able to prefish with one of the pros who had never been on St. Clair or Erie.  I took him to a dozen spots and gave him waypoints from some of my previous successes there.  He found nothing on his own and had absolutely nothing to go on.  The pro that I drew on the first day (a first class and kind guy, Basil Bacon)  also had nothing to go on so he asked if I knew any spots.  Naturally I told him of the spots I had and when we met up with the guy that I took out on the prefish, he cursed me out for taking Basil there and has never talked to me again.

On the second day of the tournament, I drew a young pro who had a rockpile on Erie. For the whole day, he positioned his boat to cast at the rockpile.  Whenever he hooked a fish, he turned the boat and drove away from the rockpile to make sure I couldn't cast towards it.  I fished the back of the boat all day casting in every direction except towards the rockpile, but the fish were on the rockpile.  I ended up with one fish.  He caught twelve 2.5 lb. clones.  All I needed was 9 lbs. on day 2 to win the amateur division and a bass boat.

On the third day, I drew a pro drifting an island on Lake Erie.  We stopped in the river on the way and I caught two decent bass.  When we went to his island, I caught five more bass to his one and then he started to speak down to me.  "You know,  I am doing this for a living.  I need those fish you are catching" he said.  "You have enough, just sit down and watch"  I offered to give him the same rig I was using but he denied it.  Finally, when he said "Okay, I'll try what you're using", he caught three more bass.  I sat and watched for the last two hours.  Oh...and the guy never moved a muscle to help net my fish.

Finally, to make matters worse, after the tournament I saw him talking to another pro and pointing at me while they both shook their heads.  I don't know what he said but the looks and body language were definitely negative.

Needless to say, that was the frist and last time I fished as a non-boater in a BASS event.

I have met a number of really good guys while fishing the OBF Divisionals (5 times) and the BASS Federation National Championship (3 times). A few of the friends I've made have been lucky enough to go on and fish the Classic.  As great as the experience was for them, the one point that they have all stated is that a majority of the "Elite" pros don't want the federation anglers fishing the Classic.  They felt ignored and disrespected by the pro anglers.  

A couple of the Federation guys that I met at National Championships have since gone on to fish the Elite series.  One of them sat with my wife and I for every function at the National Championship in Florida.  I felt we developed a good friendship.  Then a couple of years ago when I approached him at a BASS Open Tournament to say "Hi" he basically ignored me as if we'd never met.  Although it had nothing to do with the tournament, I was glad that he struggled while I had a top 5 finish.  I wanted to kick his ass because now that he was an "Elite" angler, all of a sudden he didn't have the time of day for me.

I apologise for my somewhat pessimistic opinion of the "Elite" anglers but I am expressing myself purely on my experiences when I have competed with and against them.  I feel a lot of the so called "Elites" put themselves on a pedestal above the rest of the guys out there trying to live the dream of fishing for a living.  Denny Brauer may well be one of the best anglers to fish BASS events but the way he carried himself and called a fellow rookie angler an idiot has tainted my opinion of him and he has lost a fan.  Not that he cares.