Why YOU should fish an FLW Walmart BFL Tournament


Any fan of Bass Fishing has, without a doubt, watched television coverage of the Bassmaster Classic or Forrest Wood Cup and dreamed of someday being on the stage, holding up stout fish to the cheers of the crowd. The problem is, for most of us, we lack the time, funds, and skills to get to the sports largest stage, but we can experience something similar fairly easily: fish in the Walmart Bass Fishing League series from FLW Outdoors.

The BFL takes place across the country, divided into a “24-division league devoted to weekend anglers, with even bigger prizes available to regional championship qualifiers and those who make it to one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the Rayovac FLW Series or even FLW Tour.” Just like in the top professional circuits, you can compete against fellow anglers, gaining points to qualify for regional championships depending on how you perform over the course of the season. Top finishers in Regional Championships qualify for the All-American, with the winner gaining a coveted spot in the Premier Tournament for the FLW Tour – The Forrest Wood Cup. Boats aren’t necessary, as fishermen can compete as a Co-Angler from the back deck of a Pros boat.

Sure, it’s possible to make it all the way to the top, and that’s what most fishing the pro side of the BFL’s are trying to achieve, but each individual BFL offers a lot more. FLW Outdoors produces an experience that allows each angler to walk across a stage, televised, to stand in front of the crowd and weigh in their five best bass. Just as in the top ranks, each event has an emcee that announces names, weights, and occasionally questions competitors about their tournament day. Each BFL is video recorded and available for replay on FLWOutdoors.com, so one can show friends, family, and sponsors their time on the stage.

Fishing in a BFL, which requires an FLW membership, also sets up an angler profile for each participant on the main FLW website, listing all of your fishing stats for the FLW tournaments you have fished. This, in turn, sets up a profile for you on BassRankings.com, which compares anglers using a point system and evaluates your performance over specified lengths of time. For anglers looking to gain sponsors and staff deals, wouldn’t it be great to point potential companies to you BassRankings.com page to show how you stack up against other anglers? It certainly would make it easy to for companies to see your potential impact on your region, as one of the first questions any tournament angler is asked is invariably: “How did you catch them”? A perfect opportunity to endorse the products you used that day to haul them in.

More importantly, the camaraderie and relationships you establish while fishing these events, whether from the front or back deck of the boat, can last a lifetime. At every BFL pre-tournament meeting, I’m always running into the people I have fished with and against, and it’s always good to reconnect with like-minded individuals who don’t mind discussing the intricacies of wacky rigging senkos because, let’s face it, that’s not exactly normal conversation! At Smith Mountain Lake, I was fortunate enough to have Allen Luck as my Co-Angler. Allen was a college angler from Hampden-Sydney College, and he is just starting his career in tournament fishing. Allen and I hit it off from the beginning, and he did everything he could do to be a courteous and effective back deck fisherman. Neither of us caught a limit that day, but we learned a lot from each other and we will fish together again in the near future. Once he gets his boat tightened up, I expect to see some pretty big things from this kid.

So if you have ever considered entering a BFL, I highly recommend that you do – the experience will create a lifetime memory. Hope to see you out there.Best Photo

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