Nation’s largest competitive bass fishing series returns to Lake Okeechobee - Major League Fishing

Nation’s largest competitive bass fishing series returns to Lake Okeechobee

February 7, 2000 • MLF • Archives

GILBERTSVILLE, Ky., – Four hundred of the region’s top weekend anglers visit Okee-Tannie Marina on Lake Okeechobee Saturday for the second of five events in the Red Man Tournament Trail’s Gator Division.

For the first time in the series’ 21-year history, contestants will compete in two divisions – boater and co-angler – for a share of approximately $32,400. The winning boater will pocket $6,000, and the winning co-angler will take home $3,000. Big bass in each division is worth $1,000 and $500 respectively.
The change to a boater/co-angler format is reminiscent of the lucrative Wal-Mart FLW Tour and other pro/am style events, which have grown increasingly popular with bass fishing enthusiasts. Under the old Red Man format, anglers shared equal time at the front of the boat, picking fishing locations and running the trolling motor. Now, boaters will fish from the front of the boat while co-anglers cast from the back seat.

Brian Sayner, vice president of communications for Operation Bass Inc., the organization that conducts the Red Man Tournament Trail, says: “The changes were brought about to help open tournament fishing to even more anglers by eliminating the intimidation factor. We found that many people who enjoy bass fishing do not compete because they feel their skills aren’t up to par, or they do not want the responsibility of operating another person’s boat. The new format alleviates these concerns.”

As part of the move to open the nation’s largest bass fishing series to even more anglers, the Red Man Tournament Trail will hold four one-day tournaments and a two-day Super Tournament in each of its 22 divisions nationwide. Each Super Tournament features a purse of approximately $64,800, with $12,000 going to the winning boater and $6,000 going to the winning co-angler, based on full fields.

Saturday’s weigh-in takes place at Okee-Tannie Marina located at 10430 Highway 78 West in Okeechobee, Fla., at 3 p.m.

The Red Man Tournament Trail returns to Lake Okeechobee May 20 for an event out of Roland Martins in Clewiston, Fla. The region’s Super Tournament takes place Oct. 7-8 at Roland Martin’s Marina.

Operation Bass was founded in 1979 on the principle that working anglers should be able to fish competitively without interfering with jobs and family. The trail’s championship event, the Red Man All-American, awards $100,000 to the winning boater and $50,000 to the winning co-angler. Overall, more than $5.7 million could be awarded in 2000.