It’s a new year and we here at Elite Anglr wanted to start the year off with introducing our new blog series. We will be starting it off with doing a weekly update covering many different aspects in the fishing world. We will be sharing tips and tricks, recapping what has been going on in the industry, highlighting different tournament trails, and the results of those trails. This will be an ever-evolving blog adding new components to it as time goes on with input from our team members around the world. We would also like to share achievements of all different types of anglers out there, be it tournament anglers, kayak anglers, or those that walk the banks. For us fishing is life and we love everything about it and all those that share in our passion. If you have not heard of Elite Anglr till now, then we would like to welcome you to our family and hope you will join us!
What’s new this year.
This will be a lot of info, but I am trying to provide the information that has been the most asked for. Since there are so many new changes happening, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of this change. All this information can be found on the respective organizations websites if you would like to look deeper into it.
A lot of changes came to the tournament series towards the end of 2019. We saw the merger of Major League Fishing (MLF) and Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) which shook things up quite a bit. With the merger came a multitude of new changes. The Bass Fishing League (BFL) got lower entries fees for the anglers who will be fishing this year. The new entry fees are $200 for boater and $100 for co-angler for regular tournaments and for the two-day super tournaments the prices are $300 boater and $150 co-angler. For those that have fished the BFLs in the past and those who have been wanting to make the leap to fish the BFLs this is a welcomed change. The big surprise for the BFLs is the change of the title sponsor. For as many years as I can remember Ranger Boats has always been the title sponsor for the BFL, but that is no longer the case. Phoenix boats is now the title sponsor of the BFLs.
A lot of Ranger owners have wondered recently what this would mean for the Ranger Cup incentive program that has been synonymous with this tournament series. Ranger recently posted the revised Ranger Cup payouts for the BFL and they have raised the bar. A winner of a BFL regular season event who is Ranger cup qualified and meets all rules and guidelines will be eligible for a $5,000 cash prize. If the winner is not Ranger cup qualified, then the highest finishing Ranger cup compliant angler will be eligible for a $1,000 cash prize. That’s impressive but it gets better. The winning pro of the All-American tournament who is ranger cup qualified and meets all the rules and guidelines will be eligible for $20,000 cash prize and a $5,000 cash prize for the winning co-angler who is also ranger cup qualified. If the winner on either side is not ranger cup compliant then they have a payout scale up to 5th place for boater and co-angler. You can find the payouts and rules for Ranger cup here.
Another change is for the Costa series. Now labeled as the FLW series. With that they brought on three new divisions (for a total of 8 divisions) that will bring the tournaments closer to home for those who have wanted to fish the Costas (FLW series) but couldn’t because of the travel distance. The entry fees for these tournaments have also been reduced to $1,700, previously they were $1,900.
The FLW Pro Tour has a new name as well, the FLW Pro Circuit. The changes to this have been a new format where they introduce the MLF catch and release on days 4-6 of the tournament, with days 1-3 being the traditional five-fish-limit format. Some major hitters have left the tour such as Scott Martin and Brian Latimer who will now be fishing the B.A.S.S. opens this year. You also have David Dudley and Bryan Thrift moving up to Bass Pro Tour (MLF).
The Bass federation otherwise known as the TBF, will still operate as normal with the “Living the Dream” package still being offered.
Right after the announcement of MLF acquiring FLW a new series entered the professional fishing scene. The National Professional Fishing League. This league is in its beginning phase with a scheduled launch in March of 2021. Founders Alan McCulloch “Big Al”, Brad and Michele Fuller, and Paul Benson have been traveling across the country talking on many different podcast (Ike live, Stray Cast, The Reel Shot, Anglers Channel) on this series and what they are offering to anglers. I will talk more about this later this year but you can find out more information here.
These changes have brought a lot of controversy to our sport. If you have been on social media since the news broke, then you would know that it’s a hot topic of heated discussions. Besides a few posts here and there, the waves have settled, and this year is starting off as usual. The entries for FLW (BFL, FLW series) have seen a 63% increase compared to 2019 with 29% of those entries being new to the series. The lower entry fees definitely play a major role in this but let’s take a step back and look at this picture from a different angle. When we do this what we see is a lot of new anglers out on the water enjoying a sport that we all love. It doesn’t matter if your fishing FLW, B.A.S.S., your local tournament trail, or just out on the water fishing for fun. What is important is that you are doing what you love to do, and that is to fish. Next time you are out on the water take a moment and remember why you fish. For most of us, this all started as a love for the catch. It didn’t matter where we were fishing, just as long as we were out fishing. When that line gets pulled all the animosity that’s been built up goes away for that brief moment, and we are all that little kid that was fishing for bluegill on a farm pond. That is unless your line gets pulled by a tree stump…