Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Dave Landahl - December 13, 2018
Fortune telling is an ancient con that many people believe in a legitimate way to learn what the future holds. And while there are no professed fortune tellers in the world of professional bass fishing, there are experienced Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour pros who can share their hopes and visions of the “five-year plan” for the sport of bass fishing.
Brent Chapman wants to see the MLF Bass Pro Tour become a staple in the American culture of sport.
“I hope to see in the next five years MLF Bass Pro Tour become a staple in sports like golf,” Chapman said. “I know we have a long way to go, but I believe it’s possible. This is all exciting. Before (the announcement of the MLF Bass Pro Tour), it was hard to be excited for the future. It was hard to sugar coat it when I’d speak to the youth of a future in the sport for them, but now I’m excited because there is a future.
“I hope I can be fishing, enjoying it and be competitive. Not worrying about how to pay for retirement. Hopefully, there will be transitional opportunities to allow someone to be able to walk away from competing and still be involved. I’m hoping that in that time frame, the payouts are high enough that anglers know they can make a good living just by qualifying to fish the MLF Bass Pro Tour.”
Tim Horton believes that after the first three years of the MLF Bass Pro Tour, a developmental league will be established. It could be a feeder circuit that will provide opportunities for anglers to make it to the big leagues (like the minor leagues in baseball.
Horton also believes that the MLF Bass Pro Tour will be more visible on network television and streaming.
“I see this being on network television in a more prominent fashion, but streaming live is going to be big,” Horton said. “I remember about 15 years ago with the PAA (Professional Anglers Association) we had a meeting with people in the media about our sport, and they thought we were ideally suited for streaming. That was way before (live-streaming) was happening much.
“Bassmaster and FLW are good with live, but since they all cull (fish), you pretty much know the outcome of the event before they weigh in. With our format, the standings can change on every fish catch. The drama is higher. I feel that we will grow the audience since it’s truly a live sport that needs to be played to the last minute, like other traditional sports”
Edwin Evers feels that the MLF Bass Pro Tour will provide endless opportunities.
“I haven’t been this excited about tournament fishing in years,” Evers says. “This format is so supportive of fish conservation since they’re all released and never put in a livewell and transported.
“In five years, I see us at just at the tip of the iceberg of what we can achieve. I believe this will exceed beyond all expectations. The platform allows for lots of fan excitement, and with the developmental leagues that will be happening, this will truly be the place to be a professional bass angler. There are so many possibilities.”