At the first AIM Event on Saginaw Bay I had the chance to witness CRR in action, sucessfully implemented and executed in a walleye tournament almost exactly the way it had been evvisioned by the people behind it.
My mind soon drifted to how this new standard will affect the sport in the short term? Here area few initial thoughts.
1. The pro angler has a new piece of equipment to obsess over. The digital camera. The digital camera has now become as essential a piece of equipment as a GPS or fish locator. The smart ones will invest in a good one - and a quality backup - and become intimately familiar with its operation. A ruler shot and a "hero" shot is required for each fish. Pros now have the unique opportunity to photograph every fish they catch in an event. Again, the smart ones will learn how to leverage this great opportunity to their advantage.
2. I attended a weigh-in at a local event the other day, and as I watched bags and bags of fish cross the stage, it all of a sudden felt very crude and unecessary to me. That's the moment I knew that CRR had permanently raised the bar in tournament angling. Zero fishery impact = positive PR, increased local support, broader acceptance and more opportunity.
3. An image of a fish on the water is much better than a fish on the stage. In fact, much better that I had expected. Seeing imagery of the angler in the moment, the surrounding conditions, and on-location tells the story much better than pulling a fish out of a basket. You see the excitement on the anglers face - it isn't manufactured. It brings the audience into the angler's world. That is what tournament angling needs to do.