BASS? FLW? or MLF-Bass Pro Tour?
Its been an exciting few weeks as a fan of the sport for some, while others seem disgruntled.
I for one, and this is my personal opinion, it’s a much needed injection that the industry so desperately needed. As a fan it will provide more coverage across the board. For those anglers trying to make a living on Tour it has increased payouts, decreased entry fee’s for some, and shrinking each field. This is also going to lead to more sponsor opportunity for those anglers on Tour, which will hopefully lead to an increased wage annually. Lets not forget that these guys need to support their families just as you and I do. It is also bringing the fan a different product, which to me, keeps it interesting.
So who will remain and who will perish? First off I don’t think any of them will perish. There is room for all three of them. With smaller fields eventually taking place in all three organizations there will actually be fewer competing pro’s by my calculations. With 80 for MLF and BASS and 100 for FLW thats 20+ fewer then BASS and FLW combined this past season. Better fishing from less pressure and fewer anglers competing for spots or areas should be very beneficial. Perhaps this will lead to higher weights, or maybe just more fish catches in general. Either way I as a fan and viewer look forward to this.
The talent? MLF has amassed a pretty impressive talent pool, and actually the majority of the anglers I like to watch. That said there are other amazing anglers out there that will fill the open spots in the BASS field and we will soon be locked in as always. There are still many anglers staying with BASS that we have enjoyed over the years, and some new studs on the way. To me the biggest change is with FLW. Shrinking the field down to 100 is almost half of this years field.Again this could lead to better sponsor deals for qualifying anglers. To me this makes it easier to follow. It will also trim the fat if you will, leading to a more competitive field for fans to follow.
The biggest winners in my mind is the fan and up and coming fisherman. Hopefully this will bring about a feeder circuit for us here in the West. BASS vacated the West many years ago. While we have the FLW Costa series, which is awesome, we are lacking the BFL series. My hope is that this forces circuits to include the Western anglers in their AAA and minor league programs. There are a lot of great anglers in the West that would love for a chance to work up into the Big Leagues. Whatever your favorite league is I believe this is a great time for the tournament angler. Change brings opportunity, and opportunity spurs growth. Like the pro’s us local anglers have also seen payouts and TOC prize packs decline over the years. ALL TOC’s used to award the winners a boat. Only one Western circuit is doing that now, Wild West!
2019 looks to be a big year for the sport we love. Lets get out there and catch some fish, make some new friends, and watch dreams be made.