Preview: No Info Rule Put to the Test
By Rob Newell
April 24, 2018
For the second day of Sudden Death, a new group of Major League Fishing pros was carted to Monticello Reservoir, receiving the same monkey wrench card that the first Sudden Death group was dealt.
Being a power plant lake, Monticello is a stark contrast to Lake Murray, where the Elimination Rounds took place. Of the six pros competing today, Marty Robinson of Lyman, S.C. is the only one who has had prior experience on Monticello.
Similar to what was detailed about Monticello in the day-four preview, Robinson confirmed that Monticello is a quirky lake that features drastic fluctuations each day due to the water use by the power plant.
“It goes up and down – almost like a tide,” Robinson whispered, keeping his local knowledge close to the vest. “And because of that fluctuation, the bass tend to live deep – like as deep as 25 feet. I think that alone might draw some of these guys off base: fishing shallow and fishing visible cover is the key to doing well in these things but that strategy might not work too well here. I’m sure there will be a few caught up on the bank, but from what I remember these fish like to be deep – especially in the summer.”
“We might not see many fish caught here, but I’m betting there will be some big ones hit the Scoretracker before the day is over with. ”
Robinson has not fished Monticello in the last 15 to 20 years. His previous experience on the lake included winning a couple of club tournaments many years ago.
“Back then it had big ones in it – and some big smallmouth too,” he continued. “We might not see many fish caught here, but I’m betting there will be some big ones hit the Scoretracker before the day is over with. Who knows, though, it’s been so long since I’ve been here, it might a totally different fishery.”
Since Robinson was the only one in the group who had ever laid eyes on Monticello before, he became a popular guy as the boats were waiting to be dropped in.
Scott Suggs was the first to prompt Robinson with a seemingly innocuous question.
“Marty, are there any blueback herring in this place?” Suggs queried.
Before Robinson could fully reply, boat official Don Guy immediately informed Robinson he could not answer Suggs’ question due to it being a violation of the no information rule.
To Guy’s credit, he was on his toes to put the kibosh on the conversation. But what followed was a good old-fashioned bass-tournament-rules rehash at a boat ramp – likely not the first time this has happened in South Carolina.
A discussion soon ensued about what information shared among a day’s fishing group constituted a violation. Within minutes the MLF Commissioner Don Rucks was summoned to the clear up the misunderstanding. Rucks was direct in saying that if Robinson had answered Suggs’ question, Suggs would then be in possession of a piece of information that the rest of the group was not privy too, and that by the letter of the law, that would have constituted receiving information. However, if Robinson had announced to everyone that Monticello either did or did not have bluebacks, then all competitors would have that information and it would not be a violation.
MLF anglers have always been fully aware that information sharing back at the hotel with other anglers who did not fish in their same daily group was not allowed, but many, like Suggs, were under the impression that information sharing among anglers within the day’s group was allowed. For example, if during a break, one angler asked another in a private conversation if he had gotten any bites on a plastic worm and the other angler said yes, that would actually be an infraction.
Suggs immediately apologized to Robinson for the misunderstanding and thanked boat official Guy for intervening with a complete knowledge of the rules to keep penalties from being assessed.
After the impromptu rules meeting had been dismissed, Suggs said what concerned him the most about Sudden Death at Monticello was the cut weight of 12 pounds.
“I figured we were going back to Murray and the cut weight was going to be about 12 pounds,” Suggs reasoned. “But instead they bring us all the way out here in the middle of nowhere and the cut weight is still 12 pounds.”
“You know what that tells me?” Suggs said with a grin. “This place is not much better than Murray. I mean, if the cut weight was like 25 or 30 pounds, I’d be doing cartwheels right now because that would tell me they found a little gem of a fishery. But given that cut weight I fully expect this to be a grind.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d still rather be here than Murray because none of us, other than Marty, have ever been here and that was a long, long time ago,” he continued. “So to me, this is what MLF is supposed to be about – six guys on new place that they have no knowledge of and fishing for moment. That’s what makes this format so exciting.”