Some time has passed since Major League Fishing (MLF) acquired Fishing League Worldwide (FLW). In those six weeks, there has been some confusion about the 2020 FLW Season.
The original format was laid out to incorporate MLF’s ‘every fish counts’ format and FLW’s traditional five-fish format into each stop of the FLW Pro Circuit. However, after much discussion, the regular season events will be in accordance with traditional five-fish events. And the new year-end Pro Circuit Championship will operate under the MLF format.
We sat down with two FLW pros and ANGLR Experts, Matt Becker and Grae Buck, to see what they think about the merger and the new FLW Pro Circuit.
Matt Becker’s Thoughts on the 2020 FLW Season
“I like the merger,” he said. “Now there’s a path to get to the Bass Pro Tour and in turn have no entry fees, all the coverage can be at the highest level. So I’m certainly excited about that.”
Becker welcomed the championship’s new format.
“I do like the championship changing. That’s where it gives you a little taste of the Bass Pro Tour before you get there. The championship is no entry fee and you’re getting paid regardless in that event,” he said.
There’s a debate as to whether or not an angler’s style has to change in order to compete in the new MLF ‘every fish counts’ format. Becker’s not worried about that.
“I’ve always been a believer in just catching as many as I can. But now, every one of them will count. I’m sure every event will be a little bit different because of that.”
He continued: “There are definitely people that don’t favor that format. Everyone is a little bit different. Everyone has their own opinion. You’re never going to please everybody. At the end of the day, you have to catch the biggest bass or the most bass to win. It doesn’t matter which you choose.”
Grae Buck’s Thoughts on the 2020 FLW Season
Buck appreciated the organizations’ willingness to hear the anglers out and modify their original proposed format accordingly.
“I like how they were willing to listen to what we had to say,” Buck said, “And they took into account what the fans on social media had to say about it.”
Buck doesn’t believe the format change will affect how he fishes typically, but there will also be certain occasions where it may. Take this inaugural championship for instance.
In traditional five-fish tournaments on the St. Lawrence, an angler needs over 20-pounds a day to do well. To get there, he would need all 4 and 5-pound smallmouth. So anglers looking to win usually pass up numerous schools of 2 to 2-½ pounders. But with the MLF format, those schools are now worth fishing for.
“I think you’re going to be able to milk them for all they’re worth. Up there, or places like that, it’s definitely going to change the strategy for a lot of guys.”
Overall, Buck is pleased with the merger and optimistic about the new FLW Pro Circuit.
“I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for us. Being able to qualify to fish the Bass Pro Tour and not have any entry fees if you have two good years of fishing. That gives us something to work towards.”