FLW announced its 2019 FLW Tour schedule this week, including a tournament on Chickamauga Lake, based out of Dayton and hosted by FishDayton.com.
FLW sponsors one of two major national bass tournament tours. The FLW Tour includes some of the biggest names in competitive bass fishing including famed Rhea County anglers Andy Morgan and Michael Neal. That means the two men will be fishing their “home lake” when the FLW Tour comes to Chickamauga Lake and Dayton, Tenn. May 2-5, 2019.
The FLW elite tour features seven tournaments with six-figure paydays and cash prizes awarded through 60th place. Along with the prize money at the Forrest Wood Cup championship and the $100,000 Pennzoil Marine Angler of the Year award, the circuit will pay out more than $6.5 million in 2019. The site of the final championship, the 2019 Cup will be announced later this year.
The 2019 FLW Tour Schedule
Jan. 10-13 – Sam Rayburn Reservoir – Brookeland, Texas – Jasper County Development District
Feb. 7-10 – Lake Toho – Kissimmee, Fla. – Experience Kissimmee/Kissimmee Sports
March 7-10 – Lake Seminole – Bainbridge, Ga. – Bainbridge Convention & Visitors Bureau
March 28-31 – Grand Lake – Grove, Okla. – City of Grove/Cherokee Casino Grove
April 11-14 – Cherokee Lake – Jefferson City, Tenn. – Economic Development Alliance, Jefferson County
May 2-5 – Lake Chickamauga – Dayton, Tenn. – Fish Dayton/Rhea Economic and Tourism Council, LLC
June 27-30 – Lake Champlain – Plattsburgh, N.Y. – City of Plattsburgh/Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau
On another note, FLW has eliminated what is called the co-angler program. Co-anglers fished from the back of the boat during elite FLW Tour events, actually competing against other co-anglers.
An FLW news release said the change enhances opportunities for the sport’s top pros and creates new opportunities for marshals. Marshals will ride and observe elite pro anglers during Tour events but they will not actually fish. FLW’s Costa FLW Series and the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL), along with their respective championships, will continue to offer payouts of up to $32,000 and $60,000, respectively, for co-anglers.
“Co-anglers are incredibly important to FLW – so important that we first coined the term ‘co-angler’ in 1999 because ‘amateur’ and ‘non-boater’ did not adequately describe the quality of angler fishing from the back of the boat in FLW tournaments,” says FLW President of Operations Kathy Fennel. “It is an apprenticeship like no other. But times have changed, and the co-angler program is no longer the stepping stone to the professional ranks that it once was.
“Anglers with professional aspirations are now starting in our High School Fishing program and continuing through FLW College Fishing. The majority of FLW Tour co-anglers fish other FLW circuits, and most only fish one or two FLW Tour events a season. Going forward, FLW will continue to provide the very best opportunities for co-anglers while expanding our offerings to include the new FLW Tour Marshal program.”
They says the FLW Tour Marshal program will provide the same learning opportunities that the co-angler program offered, along with the opportunity to win cash and a new Ranger Z518C powered by a 200-hp Evinrude or Mercury outboard, without impacting the outcome of the tournament. Each Marshal will attend a VIP dinner and seminar with select FLW Tour pros on the Wednesday before each tournament, plus get behind-the-scenes access to the biggest events in bass fishing. They will receive exclusive FLW clothing and play a vital role in live coverage of each FLW Tour event.