As some the upper middle-aged are trying to moonwalk back in time, we continue to hear the expression, “40 is the new 30 (or something).”  The idea is that a healthier life-style and a younger outlook might bring back one’s “cool.”

But when I look at the team tournament numbers, they’re going in the opposite direction: 50 is the new 100, the 30 is the new 65. And I have no idea what touranment fields of 10 to 13 boats represent–maybe guys who took the wrong exit off the freeway?

There are several factors playing here, but I remember distinctly saying years ago that everyone needed to be wary of the days of “100 percent” paybacks. No individual or business goes through the trouble to hold and staff a series of tournaments, just to make a few bass fishermen feel good about themselves.

There was no free lunch then–only an investment in cultivating future bass fishing consumers. Well, it’s pretty obvious now, there is no water in the furrows; the harvest is shrinking.

Like it or not, then, there are only two real directions this decline can take these businesses (organizations).  Since there are no new players in the team angler “pool” and nothing local team directors are doing is working to entice others out of “retirement,” organizations will either have to bail out or sell-out

And wherever there is a sell-out there is always a buyer. This is a strategy as old as capitalism, itself. In the fishing industry we see it all the time. Luhr Jensen buys Kwikfish, or Bassoreno or Woochopper and Normark acquires all of Luhr Jensen, not to mention Storm and Sufix and Power Pro. Pradco was once only Rebel, but then it acquired the marketshare of Bomber, Heddon, Whopper Stopper and all the rest.

Today, the choices facing team fishing organizations are exactly the same: merger or death. True, 100 teams are gone forever, but nobody can survive, hoping enough guys will show up on Saturday.


9 Responses to “Team fishing: “50 is the new 30” or worse”

I had some thoughts for ya and see what you think.

I fish tournaments and I belong to a bass club, cause I love to fish. I’m a very competitive person, but I would fish even if there were no tournaments.

Fishing companies use tournaments as a way to promote their products. If there were no tournaments they would still sell their products. Magazines would still write about fishing. When a tournament orginization no longer holds tournaments who does it really affect? The people who run it? Fisherman are still fishing, just cause they are not participating in tournaments doesn’t mean they are not fishing.

Why is it a big concern if fishing tournaments are getting smaller? Wouldn’t smaller tournaments make for a better opportunity to win?

I think what will happen is that tournaments will be split into two catagories. The really big ones, with a large payouts and big sponsors, and the really small ones, such as club tournaments, with little or no payout and no sponsors.

The events that can’t step up and survive will become smaller and the events who can get more sponsors and more money will get bigger and bigger.

On a side note: this is what has happened to the midwest farmer. There are very little medium size farms anymore. The small farmers do it for a hobby and not for a living. To make a profit from a farm you have to own or have available to you lots and lots of land. And only the companies with large sums of money can afford to have that.

Just my thoughts,


Travis, what you have is not Southern California. In bass fishing, tournaments drive participation. They are where most of the hard chargers and the clever technicians ply and expose their methods.

However, beyond a poor economy (that holds back less committed tournament participants) we have quagga mussel restrictions. Quarrantines keep anglers from fishing a “circuit” of lakes, so they only tournament fish close to home where their boat is cleared to use.

The only way an organization will be able to increase its “numbers” is to buy somebody else’s.

Hey George-

We’ve got something good happening in the USAC So Cal Region. Guys seem to enjoying themselves and participation averaged 7 boats last year and we’re at 30 now. I don’t think it’s dead, just different.


No question your circuit has been on the rise, Brian. Good work! General Motors will probably buy you out and ship you to their new team circuit in Alberta.

Interesting. Thanks George, great site with great info.

Isn’t this the same Brian who had 10 boats in the Inland Empire region on a sunny day last week? Typical bass organization talk. His excuse was fishing sucked, but sometimes fishing sucked 10 years ago and we got big numbers anyway.

Exactly why I think some mergers are possible, Joey.

Wow George, looks like I have a groupie! I must be a celebrity now. lol

Also, with all due respect Joey, I don’t remember you from 10 years ago either.