Ponca City, Ok. (October 23, 2015) – The Bass Federation (TBF) announced today that it is expanding the adult qualifying program from seven TBF division championships to a TBF National Semi-Finals Program comprised of more than 20 “close-to-home” events.
“It is time,” was the theme heard throughout the 2015 state presidents’ conferences, which were held in conjunction with the Forrest Wood Cup in August in Hot Springs, Ark.
The 2016 season will mark the final year the long-established TBF framework of seven division championships will serve as the process by which anglers qualify nationwide into the biggest events with the largest prizes in all of competitive fishing. It will be replaced by a massive expansion of more than 20 TBF National Semi-Final events. Both programs (the division championships and the new National Semi-Final events) will run concurrently for the 2016 transition year so that no one is left out.
The basic structure of TBF’s current adult program was voted into place in 1990 by the state federation presidents. It has served the federation well for 25 years. The first hurdle in making such a major change is getting all state presidents to agree on a basic outline and then working through all the details to roll it out. When the presidents work through this, it’s a pretty good vetting system and the new concept outline was voted into place unanimously by all states attending TBF’s 2015 annual meetings.
The new TBF National Semi-Finals Program will make competing much more cost effective and much more rewarding financially, with travel costs way down and cash payout direct to the individual anglers increased. No longer will TBF members have to travel across the nation to attempt to qualify for the Federation National Championship, or to earn one of 14 TBF member qualifying spots in the BFL All-American or to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup and the FLW Tour with all entry fees paid, use of a custom wrapped Ranger boat all year and a chance of a lifetime to “Live The Dream.”
“Obviously as you’ll see we’re not cutting anything. We’re drastically expanding something, which has been very successful and that decision was not taken lightly,” TBF president and CEO, Robert Cartlidge, said. “Of course, the states have made improvements over the years to the program, such as, the national insurance program started in 1991, the TBF\FLW Living The Dream program, numerous member discounts, doubling the number of anglers from each state advancing to the Federation National Championship and advancing beyond the Federation National Championship in our partnership in fishing with FLW in 2006. But, this is the first major revamp and expansion of the basic format.”
Highlights of the new program include:
• All National Semi-Final events will take place in two- and three-state groups so travel will only be “next door”. This means not only are travel costs greatly reduced and payouts greatly increased, but also the new program will host a National Semi-Final event in every market segment of North America.
• Anglers want to fish for some money, so that will be a huge added feature.
• This program greatly reduces the amount of time required to qualify and advance.
• In a giant new club benefit for every individual TBF affiliated club in good standing with their state, they’ll have the ability to qualify their top angler(s) direct from their club to a TBF National Semi-Final.
• Larger membership states will qualify more anglers to a National Semi-Final because they have more members competing. Each state federation will send a minimum of 12 anglers to a National Semi Finals, there is no maximum based on membership participation and growth.
• MORE anglers from each state will also advance to the TBF Federation National Championship. For instance at the 2017 Federation National Championship at least 2 boaters and 2 co-anglers from each state will advance. Depending on participation numbers, some states may advance even MORE.
• State Pride – The program will continue a new “State vs State Competition” piece within each National Semi-Final where a percentage of top qualifying anglers will represent their home state with significant prizes and bragging rights for the state who wins their National Semi- Final.
• All payouts will increase significantly across the board; however major emphasis and rewards are being added for those members qualifying as a co-angler in each National Semi-Final and in the Federation National Championship.
• Full details and outlines will go out to the state Federation Presidents & membership in coming days and weeks and be posted to bassfederation.com as the new program is rolled out.
“TBF as the oldest and largest organized grassroots fishing, youth and conservation group at the grassroots level has been laser-focused on the High School Fishing program since we founded that movement nationwide in 2007,” Cartlidge continued. “The High School program is well established and continues to grow annually by leaps and bounds. It’s time for us to turn the same laser focus we used to found and develop the wildly successful National High School program toward our adult program, and we are doing exactly that.”
“Many of our programs are widely imitated in the industry, in part, because they are so successful, so we do recognize this change will affect a lot of folks,” Cartlidge added. “I’m sure this new program the presidents have built will be imitated as well, and change will spread. As an industry leader in grassroots fishing, we have a responsibility to look ahead to the next 25 years, recognize the world is a different place than it was in 1990 and build a program that fits today lifestyles and economy. Most federation members do not want to fish professionally full time but they all would like the chance to try their skills against other members, have some fun, earn their share of a nice prize pool and possibly advance to fish the biggest events in all of fishing once in their lifetime. This program provides every club member with that chance.”
About The Bass Federation
The Bass Federation Inc., (TBF) is owned by those we serve and dedicated to the sport of fishing and proudly “partners in fishing” with FLW. TBF is a member of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and the only 100% member-owned national fishing organization. TBF is the largest and oldest organized grassroots fishing, youth and conservation organization in North America. TBF-affiliated state federations and their member clubs conduct more than 20,000 fishing, youth and conservation events each year. The Federation has provided a foundation for the entire bass fishing industry for more than 45 years. For more information about TBF visit Bassfederation.com or look for bassfederation on Facebook.