The Washington Times - October 23, 2009, 08:18AM

The Fishing Wire reports that the Redfish Cup tournament circuit is shutting down only weeks after it conducted a championship of sorts in Florida.

Why? The name of a typical fishing tournament that promises riches to the winners is “money,” not fellowship, not good times, nor the conservation of fish. It’s all about the buck. When the sponsor money dries up, so do all the plans for holding fishing contests.

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So now the Redfish Cup inshore saltwater tournament circuit is gone because industrial sponsors have bigger worries than someone hooking the redfish that also are known as channel bass or red drum.

The Fishing Wire’s Alan Clemons wrote, “Officials with Career Sports & Entertainment of Atlanta, parent company of the Redfish Cup circuit, confirmed … that it will not continue the tournament trail in 2010. The circuit just completed its seventh season.”

You might still find segments of Redfish Cup tournament activity on your cable station, but from here on, they’ll be repeats. The circuit’s sponsors, including Plano, Academy, Crocs and others, had to fork over some heavy cash to finance a big fishing circuit that featured Gulf Coast events from Florida to Texas. Salaries had to be paid and I’m sure the organizers didn’t work for free, either.

Goodbye, Redfish Cup.

Now if only some of the big bass tournament groups felt the pinch.

I’m not a big fan of fishing tournaments because, despite protestations to the contrary, a lot of the fish that are caught eventually die even if they are released and are thought to be alive. It’s called delayed mortality and it is real because the fish are kept in tight, often poorly oxygenated livewells. Of course, in the case of many saltwater fishing contests, the result usually is nothing but dead fish because more often than not they are too big to be kept in aerated containers.

Meanwhile, Clemons said that the Redfish Cup is the third major fishing tournament circuit to die in the past several years. The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail ended a year ago, and the FLW Outdoors saltwater circuits were shut down permanently after the 2008 season. Other circuits also feel the pinch, but thus far continue to operate, yet I have a feeling that not all is well inside the offices of the big bass circuits, such as FLW and BASS.