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Janderson45

Can we talk about the Flogger?

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Been following the FLW on Champlain, seems like the entire field is fishing deep beds for 4+ lb smallmouth using a flogger.  Also known as a bathyscope.  For those of you who don't know what it is, essentially a large tapering plastic cone with a slot of glass at the wide end, it is inserted into the water for greatly improved viewing of underwater habitat.  Using it allows an angler to spot deep spawning smallmouth from 8 to 20 feet depending on water clarity and weather conditions- they can not only spot the bed, but the actual fish on the bed and even determine it's relative size and whether or not it's worth spending time on during a tournament.  

 

Being well aware of how pulling a large female spawning smallmouth off of a bed, sticking her in your livewell for the day and eventually releasing her in an entirely different portion of the lake... it's a sure fire bet that if she had eggs she aborted them and won't spawn again until next year.. and if she was guarding fry they're as good as toast.

 

How does everyone feel about this?  As a tournament angler myself I understand but I'm pretty torn and feel these "floggers" should be banned by the FLW.

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4 minutes ago, Janderson45 said:

Been following the FLW on Champlain, seems like the entire field is fishing deep beds for 4+ lb smallmouth using a flogger.  Also known as a bathyscope.  For those of you who don't know what it is, essentially a large tapering plastic cone with a slot of glass at the wide end, it is inserted into the water for greatly improved viewing of underwater habitat.  Using it allows an angler to spot deep spawning smallmouth from 8 to 20 feet depending on water clarity and weather conditions- they can not only spot the bed, but the actual fish on the bed and even determine it's relative size and whether or not it's worth spending time on during a tournament.  

 

Being well aware of how pulling a large female spawning smallmouth off of a bed, sticking her in your livewell for the day and eventually releasing her in an entirely different portion of the lake... it's a sure fire bet that if she had eggs she aborted them and won't spawn again until next year.. and if she was guarding fry they're as good as toast.

 

How does everyone feel about this?  As a tournament angler myself I understand but I'm pretty torn and feel these "floggers" should be banned by the FLW.

I have no strong feelings one way or the other - anglers have been catching spawning bass for a long time.

Sometimes they are released, some times they are not.

Fisheries around the country seem to be as strong as ever.

Would they be better if this didn't go on ?  Hard to say. 

As for the legality of using the "flogger" in a tournament - eh.   An angler still needs to know where to start looking and even them it seems time consuming. 

Interesting that many organizations have banned the umbrella rig but this is OK though.

I think I may get one; should make for some killer "flogger to catch" Go Pro Video.

:smiley:

A-Jay

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It's no different than using electronics to locate fish or fish-holding cover/structure.  You also can't really fish while 'flogging', at least not effectively...So you need to put it down to actually fish for and catch those fish that you see.

 

The bed-fishing angle has been discussed at length here and elsewhere and the bottom line is that DNR and tournament organizations allow it, so not really anything to talk about there.  People do lots of legal things to help them see better when bed-fishing - Dish soap to dissipate ripples and pollen, marking beds with reeds on a practice day, standing on their outboards for higher vantage points, etc...Not sure why the flogger is any different.  

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15 minutes ago, Logan S said:

It's no different than using electronics to locate fish or fish-holding cover/structure.  You also can't really fish while 'flogging', at least not effectively...So you need to put it down to actually fish for and catch those fish that you see.

 

The bed-fishing angle has been discussed at length here and elsewhere and the bottom line is that DNR and tournament organizations allow it, so not really anything to talk about there.  People do lots of legal things to help them see better when bed-fishing - Dish soap to dissipate ripples and pollen, marking beds with reeds on a practice day, standing on their outboards for higher vantage points, etc...Not sure why the flogger is any different.  

 

It's far tougher to see actual fish on deep beds with even the best electronics.  These guys are actually hitting spot lock on the Ultrex, laying down on the deck, spotting large females, dropping a bait down wit the bail open on a spinning rod, and hand-lining the fish on dropshots.  Don't believe me?  Look at the recent photos FLW has published, and read the recent articles, guys aren't shy to admit they are actively fishing for spawning smallmouth while watching their every move through the flogger.

 

AJ- im with you on most of it, im considering buying one and accept/understand that that fishing for spawning bass has gone on for a long time and always will.  I just worry about a large field of professional anglers all doing it for a multiple day tournament... they're literally all doing it, every single one of them. 

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For what it's worth- I don't fault or think less of the FLW guys for using it, it is currently legal and if you're not using it you're not going to win on a June tournament at Champlain.. I just can't foresee it being legal in tournaments for much longer.  Bed fishing isn't going anywhere, and that's fine by me, but in my opinion the use of the flogger in these top tier professional tournaments on Champlain has gotten out of hand.  The same exact scenario played out last year.

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38 minutes ago, Janderson45 said:

 

It's far tougher to see actual fish on deep beds with even the best electronics.  These guys are actually hitting spot lock on the Ultrex, laying down on the deck, spotting large females, dropping a bait down wit the bail open on a spinning rod, and hand-lining the fish on dropshots.  Don't believe me?  Look at the recent photos FLW has published, and read the recent articles, guys aren't shy to admit they are actively fishing for spawning smallmouth while watching their every move through the flogger.

 

AJ- im with you on most of it, im considering buying one and accept/understand that that fishing for spawning bass has gone on for a long time and always will.  I just worry about a large field of professional anglers all doing it for a multiple day tournament... they're literally all doing it, every single one of them. 

I believe you, although I still think most are 'flogging then fishing' and not 'flogging while fishing' ;), but I won't argue that point - I could be wrong.  I guess I just don't see it as that big of a deal since the guys are still finding and catching the fish in a somewhat conventional manner.  

 

Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if they get banned at some point for same reasons as A-Rigs or long-lining.  I wouldn't lose any sleep over it if it happened.  

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I fished that tournament on champlain and I didn't have a flogger. Big mistake !  I ended up 124 out of a 212 field. Lake champlain in june is in the mix. Depends were you go fish are prespawn, spawning or post spawn. I would say 2/3 of the bass have already spawned.

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I don't know anything about a flogger. I do believe companies have done every thing they can do destroy the meaning of learning to fish. If a lot of these products could not be used in tournaments we would find out who the real pro fishermen are.

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I admire anyone who finds a way to legally catch a fish.  If you gave me a flogger,  I wouldn't know what to do with it.  

 

As for damage these anglers are doing to the lake,  I never worry about anglers harming a fishery.  I buy my fishing license and follow the rules.  I think the vast majority of anglers do the same.  When we buy a license we pay experts to worry about our fisheries for us.  I'm confident that our wildlife agencies can monitor the health of our lakes and make changes in the fishing rules as necessary to protect them.  There are many practices that are banned.  They can ban floggers if they feel it is necessary. We have size and creel limits.  Some places have fishing seasons.  I think this part of our sport is under control.  The only thing that keeps me up at night are invasive species which no one seems to have a solution for. 

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While I will not say the flogger is unethical (I'm ambivalent) any one who puts winning in front of ethics, regardless of the sport, is unworthy of the position/title "professional".  Same for business or anything thing else, IMO.

 

Exploiting a gap in the rules (been happening in racing since day one) isn't unethical, and it seems the flogger currently fits that description.

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I'm going to keep my bit on the bed-fishing conservation debate very short...My uncle has been an area fisheries biologist for years now and has published works on bed fishing and population.

 

- I won't get into all of that, but I will say that a single bass will lay thousands upon thousands of eggs per spawn...It more or less takes one good spawn from one good fish to populate a lake. Of course, many many fry will not reach maturity, but looking at the odds and probability of a lake's population of bass having a successful spawn every year logically outweighs the effects of tournament bed fishing by enormous proportions. 

 

- Beliefs and opinions aside, ecology, statistics, and mathematics strongly handle the bed-fishing debate.

 

- On the flogger, as I personally know a good number of people that use it in Northern MI...it's an amazing tool!

 

 

Big bites and big hooksets everyone,

 

Jonathan

 

 

 

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