An interesting start to the year for California anglers

It's been an interesting start to the year for California anglers, with some crazy weather changing things and forcing tournament directors to scramble to adjust their schedules. Still, the Best Bass Tournaments (BBT) season is going strong and Director Randy Pringle is committed to providing an entire season for every division. He is also launching a new series that was developed with the high school angler in mind.

Working to reschedule everything

The record rains and subsequent flooding throughout California to begin the year caused many issues, including the postponement of several BBT events. The good news is that all of the events will be rescheduled one way or another, according to Pringle.

"Due to the weather we had, we were forced to move several of our events," he said. "We all know that California needed water; we just didn't need it all at once. We worked hard to reschedule every single event and all but one has been officially changed to other dates. The other one will be announced shortly."

They did the best that they could with dates and kept the anglers in mind, knowing that having multiple events in a short span could be problematic for some anglers financially.

"We try to space all of our events a month apart, knowing that paychecks come every two weeks for many of our anglers," he said. "We did everything we could to keep it that way, but with so many other events trying for the same dates, we had to do what we could to ensure that every division still had six events and a full season."

It's been a balancing act to get all the dates scheduled around other tournaments and also having to deal with pressured lakes and shorter tournament days during the summer, but the show will continue. That includes the TOC, which will be announced after all regions have completed at least three events.

"We wait to announce the TOC location to be fair to everyone and protect against some of the local 'cherry pickers' who would fish a division just to come in for that event," he said. "Our anglers are made up of a lot of father and son teams, husbands and wives, and many anglers who are there because they want to learn and get better. We're proud of that and our payouts."

All BBT events feature a 1-in-5 to get paid and the lowest check paid back is above the entry fee.

"It's a $150 entry and the last check will be at least $250," said Pringle. "I feel that's the strongest payback in the industry."

New TNT TeeN Tournaments

High school and college fishing has exploded in popularity over the past several years. It's a great way to put the new generation of anglers on the water and get a taste of competitive bass fishing. This is why BBT has developed a new six-event series called the TNT that will follow regular BBT events.

"We have started this new series to cater to the teen anglers and give them another option to compete," he said. "There are some high school events out there, but all of the championship events are back east and that takes a lot of funds to compete back there. We want to give the kids here more options to get outside and fish instead of playing video games, so we started TNT."

The events will be on Sunday, the day after regular BBT events, so those fishing with someone else in the BBT can use it as a pre-fish day for the TNT. Another wrinkle is that the two teen anglers in each boat will compete as a team for the day but receive individual points.

"This allows them to fish with different partners throughout the season if their regular partner can't make it," he said. "They'll still get the points they received for each event, but it will be added to other points they earn for the next one, even if they fish with someone else. Those points will go towards our Angler of the Year and also to qualify for the T.O.C. at the end of the year."

The six-event series includes events on the Delta three times, Don Pedro, Berryessa, and Pardee running through August. The T.O.C. will be held on October 15th, with the lake to be announced at a later date.

The team at BBT has put together a solid offering of tournaments throughout California and continues to find new ways to cater to anglers. The new TNT series is a perfect example of them growing and adding events where they see a need. Despite the weather setbacks, they are committed to having an excellent 2023 season, as they have done for many years.