Within our Australian Bream and Bass scene, there are a lot of varying opinions regarding pre-fishing restrictions associated with tournaments and coming to the pointy end of the season this is becoming a hot topic of debate.
Some anglers suggest complete pre fishing bans, weeks prior to a tournament, while others suggest no fishing bans at all. There are even a few people who advocate pre fish bans and NO practice day. Personally I’m not fussed but if I had to choose I would go with the current ABT format of the pre-fish ban with a single official practice day before the tournament. This not only gives the visiting anglers more of a level playing field with the locals (we all know how a fishery which is fishing well or not fishing well can change within a week, sometimes even overnight) but it also eases a lot of pressure on the system from excessive pre-fishing.
So if you think we have it tough with the tournaments in Australia then read this article from the Bassmaster website in the USA. Pro angler Mark Hicks was disqualified from a recent event (where Australia’s Carl Jocumsen finished in 14th place) for what appears to be a completely honest mistake which he made on the practice day. Would it have made a difference to the results if Mark had fished the tournament? I guess he’ll never know, but it just goes to show how serious and strict B.A.S.S. are about their tournaments in the USA and at the end of the day the rules are black and white.