The KBS will visit bass water throughout the southeast and midwest.

The KBS will visit bass water throughout the southeast and midwest. "We're putting it on a bigger stage," says Robert Field, pictured. Photo courtesy KBS.

By Paul Lebowitz

In a sign that the people behind the ambitious new pro-style Kayak Bass Series are listening, KBS official Robert Field announced an immediate rule change. The controversial Team Manley Rods sponsor exemption that allowed anglers to qualify for the KBS Classic after three events in exchange for a $50 membership has been eliminated. All competitors who fish three events will qualify for the Classic, where they can fish for a championship.

“It’s simple. No discounts, no exemptions. [It’s the] best way we can come up with to eliminate any confusion,” Field said.

Field reported the rules change a few hours after Kayak Fish published an opinion piece by new web contributor Chris Payne critical of the exemption on Monday. Field said he and Payne discussed the story last week. KBS officials decided to make the change on Friday, but had not announced it as of the editorial’s press time.

Here’s the full release from Field and KBS:

We originally had the rules set for four events necessary to qualify for the Classic. We immediately began to get feedback and complaints about the logistics and cost of fishing four events. So, Manley Rods decided to step up and offer the discount to help people out. We realize now that was a mistake and was taken the wrong way.

We figure the best way to eliminate all the confusion would be to just drop it down to three events across the board. We tinkered with the idea to create a new, unbranded discount feature but ultimately decided to drop that to eliminate the possibility of just making things more confusing. Any Team Manley Rods members who joined solely for the KBS benefits are being refunded their money, although none have come forth asking that. As far as we can tell, the only people who have joined Team Manley Rods did so because they want the discounts associated with it.

The 6-tournament Catch, Photo, Release trail will visit bass water in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky and Pennsylvania before ending with an as-yet-unannounced championship, the 3-day KBS Classic. Tournament limits will be based on an angler's best three bass. KBS is scheduled to kick off competition in January 30-31 in Astor, Florida.