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Times have changed within the sport of Tournament bass fishing, and majorly because of the new series south of the boarder, Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour. The one change MLF has brought to the table that has the sport worldwide scrambling to find their own answers to, is the immediate live release program. Nobody can argue their system is not by far the most conservative approach to fishing tournaments, but this program however is just not optional for most organizations, or in MANY cases not necessary, but in some cases a MUST!
The conservation is always top priority of Shootout Fishing League, and in its history of all events in 7 years proudly holds a live release rate of 99.38%. So with such a good record why do we even need to do anything? One, we are always look for room to improve, but most importantly it’s the location we are about to visit that we need to be well aware of importance of fish care. SFL has not been to the St. Lawrence River in 5 years, and we plan to leave it how we found it, so to insure we do so a change was in order!
Surviving the logistics
Unless your MLF, B.A.S.S. or FLW, all other organization just don’t have deep enough pockets to pull off the immediate live release program properly. To be able to run this type of event with 100% accuracy, and honesty, you must have trained marshals/referees, and also matched hand scales. Volunteers are hard to find, and scales for every angler cost money, lots of money. Paying marshals in Canada would bankrupt any Organization, or would take so much of the prize money to pay marshals winners would owe money by the end of events. Even the major USA events are not filling marshal seats!
Now add in being north of the boarder where the sport is a drop in the bucket compared to our big Brother to the south, and of course always fighting the painted pitcher that the General population in Canada still thinks fishing is rednecks and rowboats.
So what do we do?
Some small clubs have already implemented in the MLF immediate release program because of pro am type formats they run, some are talking photo proof weighing, some are cutting back limits of fish. All are helpful, but not perfect.
Shootout Fishing League is trying a new approach to its Solo Series. Attaching itself to another major event happening already in Brockville Ontario on the St. Lawrence River (one of those MUST cases). August 31 SFL solo event will be run right in the middle of the 2019 tall ships festival where 10’s of thousands of spectators will visit Brockville that week. With that excitement being in town, we felt it was the best opportunity for SFL to show people what Premier Canadian anglers are all about, on Canada’s Premier Fishery. There is no hotter fishery in North America than the Brockville water front, as shown last year with the biggest and best anglers in the world smashing records day after day in the Bassmasters Elite Series. For 4 straight days, you could watch many of the top 10 anglers fish with the backdrop of blockhouse island, and the new tall ships building.
Back in January SFL advertised for Marshals for this event, and Volunteers from the region are stepping up. Over 30 people have shown interest in being a referee for this event, which will just leave us with about 20 spots left to fill the 50 boat field. Marshals will weigh anglers fish all day, and record their 4 largest fish from the day! Anglers will ONLY bring 1 fish back to the Shootout Stage to show off all in hopes of claiming $10,000 for Angler of the year, and Brockville Champion.
SFL is very excited to be partnering up with Brockville for this event this fall 2019. Labor Day weekend can’t come soon enough for the cast and crew of SFL to show Not just Brockville, but all of Ontario and Canada what this region has to offer. If you have interest in the marshals program or fishing this event or any Shootout Fishing League event, please visit us at....