In the four qualifying tournaments that comprise each of the league's 28 divisions, the winning boater will earn as much as $6,000 in cash. First-place co-angler competitors will have a shot at as much as $3,000 in cash in every qualifier.
Top payouts in each division's two-day Super Tournament will also be boosted from $8,400 to $9,000 in the Boater Division. Co-anglers will compete for a top award of $4,500 in Super Tournaments - up from $4,200 in 2005.
BFL competitors who qualify for the All-American will fish for a share of $1 million, a championship purse second only to the Wal-Mart FLW Tour's Forrest L. Wood Championship presented by Castrol, which offers a $1.5 million purse to the world's top anglers.
The winning boater at the All-American will earn as much as $140,000 in cash, which includes a guaranteed $100,000 plus a $20,000 Ranger contingency bonus and a $20,000 Evinrude or Yamaha contingency bonus. All-American co-angler qualifiers will fish for as much as $70,000 in cash, which includes a guaranteed $50,000 plus a $10,000 Ranger contingency bonus and a $10,000 Evinrude or Yamaha contingency bonus.
In the Boater Division, second place in the All-American pays $25,000 plus $25,000 in contingency bonuses and third place pays $14,000 plus $18,000 in contingency bonuses. In the Co-angler Division, second place pays $15,000 plus $6,500 in bonuses and third place pays $7,000 plus $5,000 in bonuses.
Ranger Boats will award an additional $1,000 to winning boaters if they participate in the Ranger Cup incentive program or $500 to the highest-finishing Ranger Cup participant at each regular-season BFL event in 2006. If Powered by Yamaha guidelines are met, Yamaha will award an additional 50 percent of Ranger Cup winnings. The highest-finishing Ranger Cup co-angler participant at each regular-season BFL event receives a custom Ranger jacket. At the All-American, the highest finishing Ranger Cup participant in the Boater Division will receive a new Ranger 519VX, and if Powered by Yamaha guidelines are met, the Ranger Cup winner will also receive a new Yamaha outboard.
Bombardier is also offering bonus awards in BFL tournaments, and details will be announced later.
Each of the league's seven, no-entry-fee regional championships will award the winning boater a new Ranger 519VX powered by Evinrude or Yamaha and a new Chevy truck. The winning co-angler at each regional will receive a new Ranger 519VX powered by Evinrude or Yamaha.
Anglers who finish in the top 40 in year-end points standings within a division will advance to a regional championship where they will compete for one of six slots in the 2007 All-American. Anglers who enter all five tournaments within a division but do not advance to a regional championship are eligible to fish the Chevy Wild Card regional, which will also send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American. Every angler who receives weight credit in a tournament earns points, with 200 points going to the winner, 199 for second, 198 for third, and so on except for Super Tournaments, where 300 points are awarded to the winner, 299 for second, 298 for third, and so on. These points determine angler standings.
"Our company was founded upon providing top-quality tournaments for weekend bass anglers," said Charlie Evans, president and CEO of FLW Outdoors. "These anglers are the heart and soul of FLW Outdoors. Raising our purse size in regular-season BFL events and our winners' payouts in all BFL events shows how committed we are to continuing our legacy of leadership. We take great pride in growing the sport by providing fishing opportunities for weekend anglers as well as a clear pathway for advancement to the sport's highest level for boaters and co-anglers who qualify for the EverStart Series and ultimately the Wal-Mart FLW Tour."
Each year the top 40 boaters and co-anglers from every BFL division are eligible to advance to the EverStart Series. All-American champions are eligible to advance directly to the FLW Tour. Each season the top 10 pros and co-anglers from every EverStart Series division are also eligible to advance to the FLW Tour. Once competing on the FLW Tour, pros must finish in the top 100 and co-anglers must finish in the top 50 to receive priority entry for the following season.
In the BFL's boater and co-angler format, the boater supplies the boat, controls boat movement and competes against other boaters. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers.
Field sizes will remain the same for 2006, with 200 boaters and 200 co-anglers comprising a full BFL field. Entry fees also remain the same, with boater entry fees at $200 for one-day events and $300 for Super Tournaments. Co-angler entry fees are $100 for one-day tournaments and $150 for Super Tournaments.
Complete tournament details for the 2006 season are available online at FLWOutdoors.com, and entry dates will be announced soon.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League and eight other national tournament circuits offering a total purse in excess of $32 million through 230 events in 2006. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America's largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas 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.
Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events. For more information on Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.