3 posts • Page 1 of 1
There have been lots of questions around APEX and lots of opinion, even some controversy.
APEX was started at our request and designed, with WWBT, as we met with the Wild West Bass Trail (WWBT) organization in 2019. We are scheduled to have a public meeting, in October 2021 with virtual access, the day after the US Open in Las Vegas. There is way more to our west coast effort than APEX Tour events.
The next phase of west coast plans actually includes many of those who are now critical of how the APEX Tour was started, as well as our west coast initiatives. Our goal has always been to leave no one out, that deserves recognition on the west coast. Those goals and plans include those around So Cal, all competitors, all industry companies, anglers, fans, government entities, tourism organizations, fishing enthusiasts, youth, outdoor segments, recreational populations and more. It takes a village and in this case it takes us all.
The comments of some have not swayed our mission, or their inclusion. I have personally spoken to many that are critical and those who expressed, or felt, this excluded their favorites. The big picture plan does not exclude those anglers who are successful out west and in a few months that will be public knowledge. They need to sit tight and trust what they’ve been told to date. In October we still intend to open the book once everything is in place and it’s growing every day.
We want something big out west and we have meetings ongoing still developing those west coast plans. Our more recent moves in the west with WWBT, WON Bass, ABA and BBT are driven around what our mission is. That mission is to build freshwater fishing on the west coast at least 20% over a defined 5 year period. If we work to build that market, then we will benefit as will all others.
The west coast is not near the platform everyone feels it is, nor will it likely be Alabama or Texas. The Minneapolis market alone registers more fiberglass fishing boats than California and Arizona combined, and Knoxville around NE Tennessee gets close. Actually the last unstripped 2003-2006 pre-recession data study placed a line west of Minnesota to San Antonio, TX at about 7% of the USA market. We think it can expand well outside of that number. Thus we have a focus from grass roots to Tour anglers that covers the states of WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO, UT, AZ. NM, CA and NV.
As a company we have built the most expansive western freshwater fishing data base, we know of, around those states above. This includes lake/River data base, and even includes some of you. It was one persons 6 month project and we intend to use that going forward in various phases. APEX anglers have been told of our phases to date through the plan and know of the data base. The data base includes everything from water to anglers, and aspects of the outdoors including sporting goods stores, every tackle shop, boat dealership, conservation, chambers of commerce, parks and wildlife, manufacturers and much more. We invested in learning more than anyone ever has we know of.
Those Industry companies we have close relationships with do know our full plan out west. We also communicated with MLF upper management and Bassmaster on the plan and we are jointly cooperating. We brought in Mark Lassagne and Bass Angler magazine as they are pivotal part of this effort. Mark and his staff know a part of the plan and they are a major part of our mission. Bass Angler is a premium bass fishing publication and those inside our industry respect it as such.
Those west coast event affiliates, of Bass Cat, we have included at varying levels of knowledge to date as we still are developing the framework and mechanics on the next phase. We did request that the MLF Big-5 remain out west in 2022, with the Toyota Series. Which Tackle Warehouse has expressed desire to continue this western event. Thus the early schedule release last week, in Orlando, of the MLF Big 5 events. Rumors were flying that it was not coming back west, and we need them to remain active, to buoy our growth efforts out west. Event structures must be strong, and while the Toyota Series is not strong out west, we feel it will be after our announcement, and we have communicated that at the high level inside MLF.
In this plan, Our first hard step was securing an event base, which we have done. Randy Pringle does great, Craig Sutherland is restructuring and cleaning their appearances, Billy has done a phenomenal job at WON Bass with the US Open, and Jeremy has tethered WWBT event structures into a pivotal role out west with a strong following. We needed APEX to jump start its own tour event in the west, with a short field playing for their own money. It’s to build an event structure and then a qualifying set going into 2022.
This is a major western commitment from us as a company (Bass Cat), and WWBT Ownership (Jeremy Dehart) as an organization. Yes, Jeremy embraced the concept and ran with it. The initial 32 anglers were chosen from various templates, all strongly supportive of WWBT. The original template was 30 anglers with ties to WWBT.
The next season plan is to qualify 28 anglers (29 new after PJ) and bring the 2022 field to 60 anglers in the APEX Tour. Those added 28 western anglers are slated to qualify from the Wild West Pro Am events AOY status. Filling PJ's spot may have a different method, though we leave that to WWBT. You can follow APEX events on Tourney X, and live also.
There is way more to this plan than APEX. Details will be released in the month of October and those plans extend into 2023 and beyond. We want to grow bass fishing and freshwater beyond the present limits and we think the west coast population can offer more angling opportunities. The west coast includes everything and not just that largest California market.
Look forward to information as it gets released and we hope to get all of you behind this effort as it is massive and we can not achieve it alone. It's not about Bass Cat Boats as some are concerned, it's about being stewards of our sport and working to improve awareness in the west.
Thank you for your time,
Rick Pierce, President
Bass Cat Boats
PS: Added 7/31/2021
Our only concerns, with our plan for long term support as a company, are representatives and companies rolling in behind us and staking claims to existing ground. And some will not have invested in growing the western markets, thus exercising product sales and expansion without extending costs. We have no issue with those investing and committing to the west.
We are deeply committed to event structures and realize those costs in the west, and we want to expand for all who are willing to help. Let’s all get behind this effort.
I applaud you for your dedication and passion for the sport!
Thanks to all building the APEX, this is great news to read... I was a really close friend of PJ's and just got into tournament fishing seriously, but been catching bass since I could walk. I was like ten and watched KVD get the quantum deal and I got me a bait caster and learned how to get with it for fun, up till I watched PJ win a boat some years back, that made me get serious with my fishing career... Than I started asking him about what he was into, to which he replied "WILD WEST BABY" I was fishing off a coleman with a minn kota and catching good ones back than, but not ready to step up to where I'm at now chasing hardware dreaming of making the APEX cut out putting around on this ol basscat... Butt the last time I got to fish with my best fishing bud this year, we were out hukin calibama rigs and big baits catching five pounders on clear lake talking about where life will lead, and he told me he after a few days out that it appeared as we would be competing against each other from here out, him seeing I started to get into the same circuits, and that I was doing well enough to give it a go from the front deck... He gave me his old lowrance hds, now I have all his clear lake spots saved on the helm of my basscat, and I spent enough time out with him this spring to know why he marked most of em. he damn near had to cut me off of fun fishing before WON since I was learning all his juice spots, than I hit a rock and took out my lower unit the day I was gonna commit n sign up for WON, and back to fun we had a for few more weeks on the big bass not so clear pond lol, and now looking back on if i hadnt hit the rock we wouldnt have fished those last few weeks more together on the same boat... I was there for april fools and his tuck got rear ended, so we used mine all week, but on april fools i got all my buds hard sending pics of his brand new basscat on my truck telling fools lookie wat I won, best april fools yet to date for me i had all kinda fools going with that one... and when WON did come to town and I learned the clear lake secret, but sadly I'll never get to compete with him in any pro format no matter how far I may ever make it now ... But my point is I'm super stoked to see this APEX deal grow into the likes of something HUGE out west and I'm gonna fish my butt off to make it in there, he would want me to try so I'm gonna give it hell and hope for the best. The more guys I get to know that made it to the APEX so far are exactly the guys I wanna fish vs, what a bunch of sticks on the water... That being said it's up to us to not be fools off the water and say negative things about the deal, and instead be positive and build it to have the best group of guys we can have, being as supportive as we can to each other, while upholding the P.M.A. that you must have to be in the deal, right down to even on stage with no fish if it happens. I'd be grateful to make it in, and the couple folks I know who are in are stoked to be there... I'm grateful for Wild West and Basscat to make it happen, along with all the other folks I don't know yet supporting it as well. I hope to make it into the playground for the best in the west... All I can say is it seems silly to hate on the best tour we got out here, so Im saying big ups to the fellas making it happen for a guy like me to take a wack at it, and luckily as life would have it for me, off the best boat in the land, this old basscat of mine... I still get to drive PJ's old boat aka the bailey boys basscat too, my bud bought it but he dont never drive it hard, im probably the only guy to bump up the trim on her since PJ, the thing runs high 80's, While out on shasta in the sleet this spring it was like blasting off into the opening of star wars the last time I drove her hard, and PJ and my ozark roots got me sold hard on team cat, I love love love my cat too... so if you need a guy Rick, I need a pro staff spot, just saying... and would getting a basscat tattoo do anything for job security, I been thinking on the disney rescuers riding the leaf boat, but with the basscat bolt on the leaf "hull" and a real evinrude cowl on the dragonfly "evinrude" captioned with feelin' the rush... my boats a 88 pantera II and it got me to feelin the rush hard and got me my first real hardware. Id hella do it if Rick would keep me on a basscat from here out, and well closed mouths dont get fed unless you land the frog just right and its worth seeing if that cast hit a bass, a basscat to be precise... looking forward to Wild West 22 and watching the APEX grow as i try to fish my way in... watch out guys im gunning for that top ten in aoy points next year...
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