"The tournament-fishing landscape has changed dramatically since we introduced the Wal-Mart FLW Tour in 1996 and made $100,000, $200,000 and even $500,000 paydays standard at the top ranks in bass fishing," said FLW Outdoors Chairman, Irwin L. Jacobs. "In fact, next year we are prepared to pay the Forrest Wood Cup champion $1 million. FLW Outdoors is now creating the same excitement and opportunities in striped bass angling as we have in bass, walleye, redfish and kingfish angling. Our anglers know that no matter what fish species they prefer, they will be competing for the absolute most money available in the sport. Now, beginning in May, we will do the same for striped bass anglers."
FLW Outdoors has been exploring and planning the expansion of its saltwater tournament offerings into striped bass for more than a year and originally considered launching the tournaments in 2007. That timetable was moved up, however, due to insatiable demand for quality tournaments along the Atlantic coast from Virginia to Maine.
"We have always tried to listen to what the anglers are asking for, and then we try to accommodate them," Jacobs said. "It's really that simple. In this case, our research showed incredible demand for high-paying, high-profile professional striped bass tournaments to serve anglers in the Northeast. I took that information to several prospective sponsors and they were thrilled with the opportunity. We are not prepared to announce all of the players just yet, but I can tell you Wal-Mart, Hyrda-Sports, Wellcraft and Seaswirl have already signed on, as well as several other big corporate sponsors."
Taking a page out of its successful redfish and kingfish playbooks, FLW Outdoors will offer the sport's richest payouts, plus cash bonuses for Hyrda-Sports, Wellcraft and Seaswirl boat owners. Moreover, top finishers from every tournament will also advance to a no-entry-fee championship.
Complete details, including purses, dates, locations and registration information, will be released in the coming weeks. Hyrda-Sports, Wellcraft and Seaswirl boat owners will have priority entry into the new FLW Outdoors striped bass tournaments, which are likely to fill quickly once registration opens.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.