In its inaugural season, the FLW Kingfish Tour will offer an unprecedented $1.7 million cash payout for five tournaments – four qualifying events plus a no-entry-fee championship tournament. The tour’s four qualifying events will award a total of $1.2 million in cash, and the season will culminate with the no-entry fee $500,000 Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship. The new tournament trail will be managed by FLW Outdoors, the largest and most professionally recognized bass and walleye tournament organization in the world.
Irwin L. Jacobs, chairman of FLW Outdoors, said the FLW Kingfish Tour will help meet overwhelming demand for professional saltwater tournaments and, in turn, grow the sport through increased exposure.
“Our goal is to do for competitive saltwater fishing what we have done for professional bass and walleye fishing – that is, to meet and increase demand and bring more attention to high-profile, competitive tournament fishing,” Jacobs said. “FLW Outdoors is surely proof of how popular professional angling has become, and we’re excited to continue to grow the sport through the launch of the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour in 2005.
“In the industry we have not seen this type of demand and excitement around professional fishing since the inception of our bass-fishing tournaments. I am very optimistic about the future of our new kingfish saltwater tournaments and what they will bring to our sponsors, participants and boat companies.”
Each of the four qualifying events will be a two-day tournament with a $300,000 purse. The events will have a full field of 100 boats with priority entry for Aquasport, Hydra-Sports, Seaswirl and Wellcraft boat owners. The winner in each event could earn as much as $100,000 in cash, including contingency bonus dollars. In the four qualifying events, the winner is guaranteed a payout of $40,000 in cash. Additionally, a contingency bonus of $30,000 in cash will be offered from Aquasport, Hydra-Sports, Seaswirl or Wellcraft as the official boats of the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour. Further, Yamaha Motor Corporation will offer another $30,000 in cash as a contingency bonus if the winner owns and uses a Yamaha engine in the tournament.
The top 50 boats in the year-end points standings competing in the four qualifying events will qualify for the three-day, no-entry-fee Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship. The championship winner is guaranteed a cash prize of $75,000, plus an additional $37,500 in cash if the winner owns and is competing from any of the four supporting official boat brands. Further, the winner will receive an additional $37,500 in cash if the winning boat has a Yamaha engine on it for a total of $150,000 in cash. The championship weigh-in format will mirror that of a Wal-Mart FLW Tour event and take place on Wal-Mart property.
The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour has already garnered support from many leading companies. Wal-Mart – the world’s No. 1 retailer – has signed on as the title sponsor of the tour. To date, other sponsors include Yamaha, Aquasport, Hydra-Sports, Seaswirl and Wellcraft. The Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour will announce all sponsors for the 2005 season prior to its first tournament in 2005.
FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, the world’s most lucrative bass-tournament series; the EverStart Series, the pathway to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour; and the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, the weekend tournament series designed for working anglers. FLW Outdoors also operates the Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye Tour and the Wal-Mart RCL Walleye League.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors is the world’s leading marketer of competitive, high-profile fishing. Wal-Mart serves as the title sponsor of FLW Outdoors as it has since 1997. For more information on FLW Outdoors and the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, please visit FLWOutdoors.com.