anglers marine weigh-in

There were 83 boats at Diamond Valley for the Anglers Marine Owners tournament…

UPDATED–I’ve never thought there was only one way to have a bass tournament. Yet, those overly steeped in the traditions of 40 years ago say it’s unprofessional if you let a pro share weight with his draw partner. They totally ignore the fact that virtually every “pro sport” showcases variations of its core game.

But team fishing also has its problems. There the rigidity of the host organizations matches that of traditionalist pro circuits. Here the trend has been to play loudly to the “professional teams,” (who always want a bigger payout) but ignore some critical realities within the ranks of the angler pool.

One, team fishing was supposed to be fun–but not just for the winners. It’s not pleasant for newcomers, mostly recreationalists or those with limited budgets and limited time on the water to gift wrap their entry fees for a few elite teams. To borrow a line from Tom Hanks in the movie Big, “What’s fun about that?”

A new way

RICK GROVER is trying a new way to stimulate team fishing…

Secondly, they ignore the current financial climate (which hopefully will change one day). Although tournament directors argue that rank and file teams can get in the game for the base entry (somewhere in the $200 to $250 range) they brow beat their customers over the “Options.” What a dummy you must be to not get in the Big Bass option; the Red, White and Azul options or Can-we-milk-any-more-out-of-you option?

Rookie champs

ROOKIE champs Jose and Elias Assef and a  5.07- pounder.

More than that, the consequence of ignoring the above has led to smaller and smaller tourney fields, which create smaller and smaller payouts for the competitors, not to mention, a thinner a profit margin (other than memberships) for the organizations. When it’s not “worth it” for the participants or the hosts, what kind of future is there in the game?

Chris Bowman

AS A ROOKIE Chris Bowman (4.84 pounder) only fished against his peers…

Maybe a better formula can be distilled from Rick Grover and the Anglers Marine Owner’s Tournament “circuit” that drew 83 boats this past Saturday at a less-than-stellar Diamond Valley Lake.

Forget this was an “exclusive” event  where only the dealer’s customers (with guests) could participate and the day’s revenue was vested in those customers in the form of full a payback and barbecue. It had three things worth looking at.

1. It was fun. It brought anglers together from great distances, but was not limited to boat brand or horsepower–with a free lunch.

2. The base entry fee was low–$160 per team–and it included a big bass option prize.

3. And here was the genius: it pitted teams in peer groupings with separate payouts and big fish awards.

Those included Masters (pro teams) that paid back 1:5 and were offered the only “option”–a $40 winner-take-all. The Rookie Division paid back 1:4, while the Seniors (a hodge-podge of minimum 50-year olds and/or family combos) that paid 1:3.

parking lot full

ALL KINDS of boats were part of the event.

And for those who wanted to get froggy, it was possible to enter more than one division (only paying the option if you wanted to jump up into the Masters–while not letting the Masters step down in competition).

George Pernicano

MASTERS Division was tough as you would expect. George Pernicano’s near 4-pounder did not cash.

Of course, Anglers Marine has a huge, end of the trail prize “drawing” (open to all boat owners) as an incentive,  but the tourney formula or model is extremely market-friendly for this decade.

True, we’ll know more after the next AM event in March at Lake Castaic [NOTE: that should read El Capitan; Castaic will be in June] with distance and quagga concerns. But I don’t think this format is a fad. I get it that companies with other business models may have to tweak the formula. That’s business.

But to hold firm on the “old ways” is like eating soup with a fork.

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5 Responses to “Peer competition: Formula or fad?”

Thanks for the write up George! This is a great format for this economy as you can tell by the turnout. We will get bigger as the year goes on. Our next owners events are on March 30th at El Capitan Lake in San Diego, June 1st at Castaic Lake and the finals are an “Evening” [4-10pm] event back at Diamond Valley on June 29th and that is where we will give away the Ranger Z117/Mercury Opti combo and all the raffle prizes we will accumulate from now till then. Remember, any captain can win the boat no matter if any fish are caught. Should be an exciting season.

Appreciate the correction, Rick. I would have wondered why no one else was at the launch ramp… 😉

Just one question … is Rick going to fish Seniors? Kramer doesn’t like fishing against old geezers either.

No Mike. One thing that really bugs me about a few of the West’s trails are that the trail owners fish their customers events. ABA is plenty for this senior.

Great stuff! This format will draw good numbers. Lotsa “rookies” that want to fish. I meet them all the time. Can’t wait till the next one.