CO-ANGLERS, such as Tami Curtis from a few seasons back, are being phased out of FLW.

CO-ANGLERS, such as Tami Curtis from a few seasons back, are being phased out of FLW.

Let them down easy.

That seems to be the strategy of FLW as it gets ready to drop co-anglering from the national Tour. Announcing its new rules last week, the FLW won’t be inviting co-anglers to the annual Forrest Wood Cup in 2016. One would have to suspect, in due time there won’t be a need for co-anglers anywhere else.

Read: the Rayovac contribution of co’s–other than for a Rayovac championship, this year or next.

True, the official status report remains the same for the “battery boys” in 2015, but no mention was made of co’s beyond next season.

Either FLW intends to eliminate co’s from the Rayovac series (the only real tour in California) or maybe, they are leaving themselves some wiggle room to switch back–when they hear the howls from guys in the back seat.

Still, I’ve said it so many times (it seems a little unkind to bring it up again). But nobody beyond the immediate circle of like-oriented anglers, friends and family gives a hang about the non-pro. This doesn’t mean those guys aren’t good or dedicated, they just don’t count in the public eye.

And while some co’s I know are satisfied just to get out and compete in the second division, many others have deeply embraced the accoutrements of pro fishing: jerseys, limited sponsorships and even wraps on their never-to-be-seen on TV rigs. They even believe their own social media posts.

This move by FLW will establish the harsh reality regarding the importance of semi-pros on national tournament scene. And that’s not much–despite the fact many co’s view themselves as just one step away from the pro ranks. Fact is, pro fields are being reduced on all fronts.

Now, blame? This is really a money issue. Co’s generate neither the revenue nor the public interest to support the cost of giving them the time and space. What does, apparently, is college bass fishing where sponsors are giddy for attention and a feel good place to spend promotional monies.

Yeah, so there’s an option. Go back to school!





10 Responses to “Co-Anglers on the way out in FLW?”

Some even go so far as to call themselves, “Professional Co-Anglers.” I’ve often wondered what constitutes a “Professional Co-Angler?” If it isn’t a shared weight format, which FLW is not, then in my opinion they really are not “Co-Anglers”(professional or otherwise) they are “amateur anglers” or “non-boaters.” The term “Co-Angler” suggests to me that they are partners with the Pro boater, sharing weight, sharing half day on the trolling motor, sharing spots. Anyway, just my two cents.

I think it’s a good move. Co’s can hurt a pro or help a pro. Shouldn’t be part of the equation for guys casting for a living. Let’s say I’m a co and i draw a guy that is on them big time on a purple worm. The next day I have that worm tied on and I start smashing them. My pro digs out same worm and kills it with it and turns his tournament around. Unfair advantage for the pro that figured it out. Another way to look at it is those guys find the fish only to have the co cast up there and catch a big one that could have helped the pro.

The co-angler concept was and has always been a slick promotional fast shuffle to make everyone, willing to open their wallets or pocketbooks, feel as though they were part of the big deal, the professional circuit. If they made you feel that way, then I would assume when you visit Las Vegas and give away your money, you feel like a part of the casino business. Yes, I know there were some success stories of anglers climbing out of the amateur sludge to forge a name on the pro side. Just like a few people win the big jackpots. This co-angler thing was always the carrot on the stick, geared to fuel people’s egos and dreams. If it worked for you, fine. Just don’t start acting as though you have been lied to or cheated out of something now that the Magical Mystery Tour is coming to an end. Co-anglers were a marketing strategy that apparently has run its course. If you care about this turn of events, you are, or were, a co-angler. And, that’s okay. Just don’t act surprised.

Having seen many articles discussing the code of ethical behavior regarding contributing to the pro’s expenses, it seems that losing co-anglers could be like losing a sponsor.

Somewhere Todd Kline is crying.

by Rhett Hickert

I was thinking of fishing the Rayovac series next year as a non boater so that I could get a feel for how those tournaments flow, while I fish the BFL’s as a boater.

I wonder if they will have Marshall’s like they have in the Elite’s to curb cheating. Not sure how that would work in the Rayovac level, I wouldn’t see a bunch of people lining up to watch another person fish at that level. Especially if they will have more options to watch pro’s fish the Elite’s and the FLW Tour.

It will be interesting to see the impacts on the sport. Will the Rayovac series see an overflow of non-boaters? Will those displaced non-boaters move to the boater ranks? It seemed to be a positive move in the Elite’s and I feel that it will be positive for the Tour Pro’s.

The final format for 2016 will ultimately be the path forward for FLW for the long term, I believe. There will always be co’s in BFLs and there will always be co’s in Rayovacs (and Rayovac Chmpnship). There will also always be co’s for the first two days of FLW Tour events. There has even been some comment from FLW suggesting such. This is because it is the ideal middle ground for FLW. You need “observers” for all the lower level events, and co’s serve that purpose. You also need observers for the Tour. They won’t get 150 of them unless they allow them to fish as co’s. After that – piece of cake – because there will always be 20 guys out of that 150 group willing to ride along with a finalist on Day 3, and another 10 who will do it again on Day 4. FLW can also drum up 50 observers for the Cup days without much problem. So FLW gets what they need to support their programs (and the pro’s desires), and can still claim to be the only professional circuit (of the two) to still allow co-anglers on Tour. It’s win-win for them.

by George Kramer

If what you suggest comes to pass, Brian, then it will confirm what I’m saying. Co’s will be officially relegated to the Nobody Cares division.

I’m all for FLW’s decision, those guys fish hard all year spend thousands of dollars and hours practicing then a stranger flys in and lands in the boat and catches your fish, or could cause some kind of unneeded distraction! Its un fair to the pro who’s lively hood is on the line. Ive been a co angler and some of my best friends are Co’s im not trying to offend any one. I’m just saying Bass did it at there top level I’m happy that FLW is making the move to do the same!

by Darrin Franklin

Why is eveyone hating on the co-anglers,the pro’s should be ashamed of the way they are treating the guys in the back of the boat. Not everyone can go buy a 60 to 70 thousand dollar boat, and many pros are fishing out of boats that sponsor’s are lending them. Hey pros you didn’t start as a pro on day one, you had to start small and as a what yea a co-angler. Being a back of the boat fishermen myself, i must speak my mind on the crazy idea that we don’t matter at all. How are the new pros to be made, the only options are to go through the college route and for us older guys that’s out of the question so what’s left is for us to go out and buy a boat that’s more than 2 cars and the cost of a nice home. We must have a third option and fishing tournament’s like the flw, bass are a way to achieve our goal of turning pro one day. So the pro’s are afraid the guy in the back may out fish them, but you have the clear advantage. Casting, going where you like, it’s us at your mercy, we struggle to catch fish behind such greats. So why fear us, we fish against other Co’s not you guys and we can be useful to you as we switch anglers and can bring useful tips. Bass got rid of Co’s and now the Flw is doing the same, leaving us with only a few option, fishing smaller stae tournements going to the Bfl, Tbf. To go all the way in the Bfl and not be able to fish the flw is wrong. Bass, Flw should keep Co’s on the boat. Give us a shot at making it to the front of the boat. Co’s matter, pro’s plaese remember you had to start somewhere and many of you that start was at the back.