FLW Series? Prove that I’m wrong…

One guy’s ointment is another guy’s reel grease, and so it will be with the arrival of the FLW Series beginning early in 2007.

I have sensed a great excitement in the general commentary about such a tour, and yet, I wonder what could have possibly changed in the last 24 months that would successfully lift this tour above those that have preceded it? I don't think it's $3 gas.

With a personal career track record of several 40th and lower finishes, I have to say, I too would look favorably at a potential $10,000 payday for such a mediocre finish. On the other hand, having exhausted my vacation days and wagered my $14,000 in entry fees, I’m hopeful the guys at the bait shop, the night shift, my wife's folks, or Uncle George in Chicago might stake me for the expenses. Not all, mind you. I’m hopeful. Let me hit a couple of solid finishes this year and I’ll be okay on my own.

I am a little worried about the guys in the Oakley to Pittsburg area, though. They most certainly should dominate the Delta Series event—heck they can spit in Sherman Lake from the front porch. Of course, I don’t think any of them has ever been to Lake Havasu, and less likely they ever had an Oregon fishing license.

If ever there was a sedentary crowd, NorCal is the headquarters for, “I’m not leaving home and you can't make me” crowd.

In fact, if you were draw a line across the state of California at about Fresno, it would be safe to say that most Upstaters have never towed a boat over 300 miles—in a month—let alone a weekend.

But that’s those guys.

Now let me tell you about Arizonans. Even since the days when Fred Ward was a Bassmasters Classic qualifier and before Danny Westfall (Westy’s Worms) had gray hair, you couldn’t get a guy from Phoenix to leave home unless you promised to hold the weigh-in on his back porch.

The Cactus State is so bad, they actually have separate records for fish caught in Central Arizona that are different than those caught on the Colorado River! You’re more likely to see a tumbleweed blow in from Tucson, than to see 20 Arizona pros show up on the Columbia River, the Series finale.

I’ve read the Bassfan.com story about responses to the new Western Series and it was highly positive. Unfortunately, it only quoted three fishermen. I could be wrong, but with the interviews I’ve conducted—even with those who probably have the money to make the plunge—there is barely more than whimsical interest.

While I acknowledge an increase in younger fishermen looking toward a potential pro career, for every year they take to mature (financially, not just as tour pros), there is someone else out there whose driver’s license says it’s time to put the rods down.

Now, as far as my inventory of other potential contestant pools, I’ll exclude Oregon, Washington and Idaho. There aren’t enough touring pros up there to play Parcheesi. But Utah could have some players, if the Series stays off Sundays.

So how is this tour going to flourish where those before did not? Obviously, it will have to live up to its “Western” designation in spades. West Texas, in particular, could be a big source of contestants, and they may even pick up a few hitchhikers from New Mexico along the way. Furthermore, as has been rightly considered on this website, a surplus of FLW Series players on the other side of the country will likely consider the more arduous (for them) route out West.

I also have it on absolutely no authority, that the FLW western Series will allow spot entries—or maybe it always did—unless there are enough contestants signed to fill all the spots in all four Series events. That, of course, would fit very nicely into the plans of the Stockton crowd—since they ain’t going anywhere.

As the commercial says, "Opportunity is knocking." Now we’ll find out who's just talking.