A few more people learned about FLW’s rather obscure and arcane “no cast” rule after Day 3 of the 2012 FLW Cup when Matt Krekovich, the event’s co-angler leader, had his Day 3 catch disqualified.
News of his disqualification and absence on the weigh-in stage left a lot of people scratching their heads as they tried to figure out what he did wrong.
Well, here it is…
This is a BIG no-no in the FLW Tour. So big, that it cost co-angler Matt Krekovich his entire Day-3 weight. If not for this, the outcome of the tournament would have been different.
What Matt did is almost as bad as using the “N-word” in a B.A.S.S. tournament.
You see, he made a cast while his pro partner, Jacob Wheeler, was off of the front deck. Co-anglers are not allowed to cast unless their boater is standing on the front deck.
Despite the existence of the rule, it happens all the time. It sometimes happens by mistake and sometimes on purpose, but when this rule is enforced (which it seldom is) the consequences are brutal.
“It’s about safety”, you might say, “so the pro doesn’t get a hook ripped through his face.” Well, not really. If that was the case, the rule would equally apply to both co-anglers and their front deck pros. Pros may cast regardless of where the co-angler is in the boat. So if this rule is about safety, it’s not about co-angler safety.
This rule is in the books so that a co-angler cannot have a fishing advantage over the pro. If the pro decided to stop fishing and step off of the front deck for any reason, the co-angler would have a fishing advantage in that his line is in the water and the pro’s line is not. At the Tour level, it’s really about the pro. The co-anglers are an afterthought. It’s like a marshal who pays a little more and gets to fish too. It’s not that co-anglers are not valued, it’s just that they are not valued nearly as much as the pro… nor should they be.
Heck, even when you win as a co-angler, you’re given a boat that arguably isn’t good enough to compete in. In many cases, the boat the winning co-angler receives is less suitable for tournament competition than the boat he may already own.
Back to the point of this article… the “no cast” rule…
Matt Krekovich was disqualified because another co-angler who was eliminated the previous day turned him in. This protesting co-angler watched the video from which the screenshot was taken and called in to report it. There may have been others who saw and protested as well, but it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that Matt Krekovich may very well have won the event if this camera boat had shown up just two minutes later.
What matters are all the other winners of past events who accidentally made a cast or two with no malicious intent and got away with it.
What matters are all the pros who don’t really care whether the co-angler casts or not, so consequently the rule is ignored.
What matters are all the casts hundreds of co-anglers make that aren’t even noticed by the pro because for whatever reason… maybe the pro is caught up in the moment or talking to a camera like Jacob Wheeler. One quick look at Wheeler in the video evidence shows that the last thought in his mind was his co-angler’s actions.
What really matters is that FLW has a poorly and inconsistently enforced rule that, at best, is supported by a relatively weak case. What good are rules like this if they are so haphazardly enforced? I liken it to these “texting while driving” laws. They are a joke.
Should the co-angler be expected to keep his eyes on the pro at all times, studying his every step? I don’t know about most guys, but I’m not always staring at my boater. Often my back is towards the front deck. I wouldn’t know the pro stepped off the front deck until it’s too late.
Also, should the pro be expected to warn the co-angler every single time he steps off the front deck? That’s a responsibility I don’t think the pro needs.
Now the rule may very well have good intentions and it may very well make sense to many people, but is it fair? Is it fair to punish the leading co-angler so severely when so many others have gotten away with it? I challenge all the other co-anglers, potentially dozens, who made a cast, accidentally or on purpose, to come forward and turn themselves in. FLW can re-issue the paychecks accordingly. How does that sound?
We should be careful not to “shoot the messenger”, who called in the rule violation, but rather focus the attention on the rule itself, which is subject to enforcement due to its existence.
Is The Punishment Fair?
Okay, so the rule is legit. Let’s say it can be backed up 100%. Is the punishment fair? Should a spectator have the power to erase a competitor’s entire day’s catch due to one ill-timed cast?… a cast that probably didn’t even result in a fish catch anyway?
I would be more comfortable with a rule like this if it only resulted in the disqualification of fish when/if a fish is caught during the offending cast. For example… if one fish happened to be caught while the pro was off the front deck, then that one fish is disqualified.
Doesn’t that seem more reasonable? Surely that’s enough incentive for a co-angler to follow the rule to the best of his ability.
Please discuss. FLW needs to know what their members and participating competitors are thinking. Something just doesn’t seem 100% right here. This whole scenario and the perceived need for a rule like this in the first place begs a few more questions, but those will be discussed at a later time.
I’d love to hear opinions from those who support the rule as well. Let’s air this out!