Major League Fishing’s “no information” rule sets the league apart from other bass fishing competitions.
When MLF officials choose a lake for a fishing competition, they will tell anglers which state the event will be held in. Then, two weeks before the start of the event, MLF will announce the city where the event will be headquartered. Once the anglers know where they’ll be fishing, they cannot go online to research the lake or ask the locals for advice.
“The angler can do nothing prior to the tournament to gain additional information that might give them an advantage over the other anglers,” said Competition Crew Chief Dan Hayes.
But Hayes says when the anglers roll into town before a competition, well-intentioned local anglers are often eager to share tips with the pros.
“That happens a lot more than you think,” Hayes said, “Especially when you’re on the water, and maybe the angler’s fishing towards docks. Lots of locals like to come out and watch, and they all want to give you advice.”
Hayes says it’s up to the boat official to try to keep the locals quiet, but sometimes that’s just not possible. If an angler receives unsolicited advice, Hayes says the boat official will tell the MLF Commissioner. Then, it’s up to the commissioner to spread the word to all boat officials to level the playing field.
“And then they tell the angler, and that way everybody has the same amount of information,” Hayes said, “Good or bad, whether they want to use it or not use it, it’s completely up to them.”
MLF takes the “no information” rule very seriously. Hayes says the anglers are even subject to polygraphs.
“They know that, and they understand that, and they abide by that,” Hayes said. “In the meetings before the next day of competition, the anglers will actually come into the meeting, and they will make an announcement to all of the anglers, and say, ‘Hey guys, I stopped at this bait shop, I was picking up some baits, and one of the guys told me that they’re catching them in the grass.’”
Hayes says the last thing an angler wants to do is flunk a polygraph, so they’ll be as transparent as possible to level the playing field for all anglers.