Swimbaits, drop-shot, flippin’, splitshot, you name it. If it’s going to be big in bass fishing, you can pretty much be sure it started here in the West then made its way across the country.

And now we’ve done it again.

FLW, trying to figure out how to satisfy the need for bigger fields, but also wanting to provide a larger payout despite lowering entry fees, has finally picked up on a California original–the “option pool.” For the first time ever, the 2010 FLW Series is offering anglers two options, $1000 for pros and $150 for co-anglers.

The burning question, of course, is: What took them long?

In the West, options have long been a part of team fishing and were later adopted by the western pro-style events. For example, Ron Cervenka, co-founder and Director of the Heavyweight Bass Classic (HBC,) but previously team director for WON Bass, came up with the “All American” Option (red, white & blue flights) and the “10-Pound” (closest to) Option. But I discovered he was not the first.

“I am forced to give the option king title to my old nemesis Dave Plotnik,” said Cervenka. “Back in the Stone Age when I first started fishing, most tournament organizations offered a Big Fish option, but it wasn’t until Plotnik took over California Fishing Association (renaming it American Bass Association) that side options pots came into existence.”

According to the Charlie Evans’ pitch, “FLW Outdoors continues to look for ways to offer tournament anglers the largest payouts in the sport even with the current economic conditions. The optional payout will provide competitors the opportunity to significantly increase their winnings….”

But Cervenka counters, “Your question regarding FLW’s decision to finally offer side options is a good one and makes me chuckle. When Randy McBride first began running the Wal-Mart BFLs out here in the West (having taken over for Sonny Reynolds and the former Operation Bass/Red Man tournament trail) I asked him why FLW and BASS did not offer options, which were extremely popular with western anglers?”

McBride answered Ron saying,  “The guys back home (in the South and the East) did not trust tournament organizers and suspected that they would skim money from them….”

But FLW has broken away from its old ideas, looking westward for new answers.

And it comes as no surprise.


One Response to “Another first for California bass fishing…”


I think Dave Plotnik also was the first too start the “Conservation” and “Insurance” fee. I was working for ABA as a “Director” at the time and started up Northern California for him in the early 90’s. Everyone else I know does it on the West Coast.

Rich Thiel