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#11554570 - 04/20/16 10:57 AM Elite Tour & Classic Qualification
Neal G Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 598
Loc: Texas
Guys if you are not heavily interested in professional tournament fishing then this post will not be of interest to you.

The current Elite Tour qualification process is if you fish the Opens and finish in the AOY Top 5 you get invited to participate on the Elite Tour. If you win an Open and fish all three divisional tournaments you get a ticket to the Classic.

What we end up with is guys getting a last minute invite to the Elites with many of them are unprepared financially due to the short time to get increased sponsorship and 3 guys getting Classic entries that may not come close to qualifying for the Elite Tour. Note: I understand the win and you are in the Classic attraction for the Opens but I think the Opens would still attract plenty of entrants w/o it.

Proposed changes:
1) Elite Tour qualification is based on the Top 5 over a 3-year AOY rolling average. So every year 5 guys still get the Elite invitation but qualification covers a larger number (9) of tournaments over the last 3 years. Maybe drop the worst tournament finish.
2) Change the unlimited practice time in the Opens to match the current Elite off limits and practice periods to even the playing field.
3) Grant 3 Classic berths per division per year which is the same number now but to the Top 3 over the 3-year rolling AOY average. Maybe drop the worst tournament finish. This would help get the best Open anglers into the Classic and give them an extra boost for getting sponsorship.

Please fire away and shoot holes in these ideas or make comments for better ideas. Or I guess you could just say “kind of lame” like a poster did in another thread.
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#11554600 - 04/20/16 11:03 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
Doug R. Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 8082
Loc: Cowboy Nation
Do you work for BASS??
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#11554615 - 04/20/16 11:06 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
Neal G Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 598
Loc: Texas
No, Doug I do not.
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#11554617 - 04/20/16 11:06 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
David Burton Online   confused
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/14/11
Posts: 1497
Loc: McKinney, TX
Why would you want someone having a really hot year to not get a chance at a classic win? You block some on a current hot streak for someone who may have had three decent years, or a hot streak a few years ago.

I am less concerned about changing elite qualifications, but the beauty of the Classic is that a relative no-name can come in and surprise Everyone!
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#11554644 - 04/20/16 11:13 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
Neal G Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 11/06/09
Posts: 598
Loc: Texas
David - I was viewing consistently good as better than a hot streak but see your point. The Elite Series has also gone away from the win and you are in the Classic. Trust me - I would love to be the no-name one year but over time I am becoming more sympathetic to the professional angler with Classic berths.
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#11554708 - 04/20/16 11:36 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
M Wyatt Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/09/15
Posts: 286
Loc: North Texas
I think the proposal 1 is ok. Every year a few guys who are good on one or two lakes in their areas get lucky with the right Opens schedule and end up qualifying for the elites, only to completely flop on tour the next year. Then they get a free pass to fish the elites the second year if they can afford to lose another 90 grand, and then they're done. Proving long-term success over three years would help this - provided that the Opens don't repeat the same fisheries in back to back years. And it would give anglers more time to establish themselves with the actual job of a pro - selling product for sponsors.

I have no problem with an unknown guy qualifying for the classic by winning an open on his home lake. That's kinda my dream.

But, overall, I don't think the elite/classic qualifications are all that bad now. What is bad is the high cost to play the game and the low payouts. The anglers put in most of the money themselves for the payouts and hope to end up with a decent percentage of it by the end of the year. BASS contributes less than they did 10 years ago according to Kevin Short.

I want to see BASS cut back on costs somehow (expos, tv shows, I'm not sure...), decrease entry fees by 20%, and increase payouts by 20%. That would be a good start.
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#11554733 - 04/20/16 11:42 AM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
Doug R. Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 06/11/12
Posts: 8082
Loc: Cowboy Nation
In a perfect world all the tournaments would have no entry fee at the Elite level. That would make tour life much more viable for some of the grass roots or younger anglers. I honestly think that BASS along with their parent company and major sponsors could absorb this cost with little to no impact on their bottomline.

Also when angler is offered a "spot" for the next season they should have to provide proof they can afford to fish the whole season. If not the next guy on the list that can afford the expenses should be offered that spot.
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#11554784 - 04/20/16 12:08 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
Frank the Tank Online   content
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 17637
Loc: Rockwall & a lake somewhere
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#11554786 - 04/20/16 12:09 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
LakeForkGroupie Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 275
I agree that you fish all year and maybe this year (maybe not) you will get invited to join the Elites. So you have to decide to quit your job and spend your savings and hope you draw checks. Maybe it's not as rough as I think, but the rule change I would propose is that you should be able to postpone your entry for 1 year if you would like. So at the end of the year, you find out you make it to the Elites, then you could have over a year to get your life in order to do so.

No change is needed for the classic. It's one tournament. You don't have to take off 3 weeks in April and travel cross country every week just to fish the classic.

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#11554805 - 04/20/16 12:15 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Frank the Tank]
M Wyatt Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/09/15
Posts: 286
Loc: North Texas
Originally Posted By: Frank the Tank


BASS contribution to payouts
2006: 5.44 mil (48%)
2016: 3.25 mil (38%)

There's your problem right there.
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#11554815 - 04/20/16 12:19 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
InTheClear Online   content
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/28/12
Posts: 1270
Loc: Southwest Texas
My thought is that if you can't consistently dominate in the Opens and others like them, you won't consistently draw checks on the Elites and therefore don't stand a chance.

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#11554821 - 04/20/16 12:23 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
M Wyatt Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/09/15
Posts: 286
Loc: North Texas
One thing about sponsors: I assume you already have to be on the elite roster before paying sponsors will pick you up. You have to have credibility. So, even if it takes three years of Opens success to qualify for the elites, you'll still have very little sponsor funding in your first year on the pro level. Just like it is now.
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#11554826 - 04/20/16 12:25 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: Neal G]
fouzman Offline
Methuselah

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 43064
Loc: Houston, TX
We know IKE came up through the Opens. Palaniuk, too. I'd be curious to know the number of Opens anglers who have accepted their invites to fish the Elites and are still fishing the Elites?
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#11554868 - 04/20/16 12:45 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: fouzman]
M Wyatt Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/09/15
Posts: 286
Loc: North Texas
Originally Posted By: fouzman
We know IKE came up through the Opens. Palaniuk, too. I'd be curious to know the number of Opens anglers who have accepted their invites to fish the Elites and are still fishing the Elites?


What seems to be happening over the past few years is that a lot of young guys qualify for the elites, don't have enough success to make money, and move to FLW (with fewer tournaments and more time to spend guiding and making money in other ways). At the same time, guys who started in FLW and had success/gained good sponsors for several years fish the opens and qualify for the elites. These guys have enough experience and financial backing to make it. A lot of guys did it this way - Ehrler, Christie, Tharp, Powroznik, B. Hite, and a whole bunch this year.

Very few guys over the past 5 years have been able to start their pro careers in the elites and actually make it work long term. It's just too expensive, and you have to establish yourself as a top-tier brand promotor before you can fish the elites long-term.

Palaniuk is one of the few who has done it, but he is a special talent.


Edited by M Wyatt (04/20/16 12:57 PM)
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#11555138 - 04/20/16 02:33 PM Re: Elite Tour & Classic Qualification [Re: M Wyatt]
Mark Jones Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 10/18/11
Posts: 1677
Originally Posted By: M Wyatt
And it would give anglers more time to establish themselves with the actual job of a pro - selling product for sponsors.


That's actually not the job of a professional angler. Their primary job is to compete successfully on the water and win. Sponsorship can certainly support sales, but it is NOT sales. Sponsorship is a rights based relationship between an athlete/property and the company/brand. The job of driving revenue/sales is handled by sales, not marketing/sponsorship.

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