West Coast bass fishermen have been some of the most beleaguered of all tournament fishermen in the country. B.A.S.S. had a successful run in the West Coast that produced several top level bass pros advancing to the National Tour (i.e. Skeet, Aaron, Dean Rojas, Fred Roumbanis, Ish, the list goes on and on). The problem now is that there is no easy way to qualify for the big show when you live on the West Coast.
B.A.S.S. pulled out of the West Coast due to lack of participation. FLW has done similar things, seemingly changing the format and schedule every year or two (BFL's are a distant memory, the American Fishing Series is also gone, the FLW Series has shrunk.) It seems like a constant battle between the tournament fisherman and the anglers. Reading the forums on westernbass.com, it seems like the topic of B.A.S.S. coming West comes up about once a month, but so far it remains a dream.
Now there is a little hope for Western anglers. Jerry McKinnis, the pending new owner of B.A.S.S., just posted something on his blog that will give West Coasters a gleam of hope. Here is a sample of what he said that has been said by every tournament angler in the West for years: "I find it hard to call B.A.S.S. the premiere bass fishing organization when we sometimes forget the western portion of our country. " AMEN Jerry. He posted some other great points and I hope that they are not just words but real plans.
I am now living in Florida, but I started out fishing on the West Coast and still follow the scene and feel for these guys. Now Western bass fishermen, if they do come back, please do your part and show up at the lake ready to fish.