There’s a big change coming to the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.
Because of the effects of COVID-19 on the tournament season, when the Pro Circuit restarts on June 23 at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee, there will be 56 Major League Fishing anglers – including me – in the field competing against the original Pro Circuit anglers in all-new “Super Tournaments.” That’s 209 boats, and it might just be the strongest tournament field in bass fishing history.
It’s not just the field size that’s going up. In all, there will be almost $4 million in prize money at stake.
These Super Tournaments will include Lake Chickamauga (June 23-26), the upper Mississippi River (July 29-Aug. 1) and the Detroit River (Aug. 11-14).
The decision to do this is a great one, in my opinion. It helps the MLF pros that are participating by providing more opportunities, and it helps the Pro Circuit anglers by providing a big boost in prize money.
I started the year planning to fish between eight and 14 tournaments, but coronavirus changed all that. The cancellation and rescheduling of events were necessary, and I support it, but I’m fired up to get back out there and compete. Fishing bass tournaments is what I do to pay the bills – that and supporting my sponsors through personal appearances and by showcasing their products. Just as it’s true for many of you, COVID-19 has made it impossible for me to work in a normal manner. I’m thrilled to see things opening up as we move toward some sort of new normal that can include competitive fishing.
When the news came out about the Super Tournaments, several of my friends immediately wanted to know how I felt about going back to a five-bass creel limit. Honestly, I don’t anticipate any issues with it. I’ve fished hundreds of bass tournaments with a five-bass limit, and the format is just as comfortable to me as MLF’s “every fish counts.”
Maybe the biggest difference is that I won’t be able to use my livewell as an extra dry storage compartment!
Where the differences between these Super Tournaments and MLF comes in is the size of the field. In MLF events, we basically never have more than 40 boats on the water at any time. That’s the size of a good club tournament — but with the best sticks in the business.
Having 209 boats in the field changes things a bit. I’m not concerned about the Mississippi River (we’ll have three pools to choose from) or St. Clair (it’s big), but Lake Chickamauga will likely fish pretty small. I don’t like fishing on top of other guys, so I’m going to have to find a way to create some distance between myself and other anglers — not “social” distancing, but “tournament” distancing. That could be a real challenge on Chickamauga, but I’ll be ready.
In fact, I can hardly wait.
The bottom line for me is that somebody’s going to win these tournaments, and it will be a real accomplishment to do that.
I’m going to give it my very best shot.