December 11, 2008 by Patrick Baker
MINNEAPOLIS - FLWOutdoors.com has long served as the authority on FLW tournaments, but the Web site has branched out in recent months to address a far larger fishing community. The redesigned site now offers an array of new tools, dramatically expanded content and networking capabilities to bring that community together at a central location - FLWOutdoors.com, the ultimate fishing resource. As always, FLWOutdoors.com will continue to provide fishing fans with news, photos and results from all of its bass and walleye tournaments. But now the site also provides a wealth of information for anglers of all ages and skill levels, whether you're a touring pro or just picking up a rod and reel for the first time. All of that with improved, user-friendly navigation. On top of that, the site now brings together fishing enthusiasts from across the globe to share stories, tips, lake reports, photos and much more. And with sections dedicated to the lucrative $10 million FLW Fantasy Fishing game, the newly developed college-fishing program and an online shopping center, FLWOutdoors.com is truly a comprehensive center for fishing information. The following sections will provide more details about the general categories of the new FLWOutdoors.com. (And please give us your feedback regarding the new site.) Fishing The new "Fishing" section provides useful information for anyone with an interest in angling as well as entertaining and informative news features. Articles here will run the gamut: basic tips and techniques; angling adventures featuring a wide variety of fish species; focuses on baits, boating and other fishing equipment; pieces on specific fishing destinations; columns from psychologists, pros and other knowledgeable fishing figures via "Tips from the Pros"; and much more. The "Locator" tool helps people find places to fish, buddies to fish with or tournaments in which to compete. Users can submit fishing reports for any location - also accessible via "Fishing Reports" - which can then be read by people wanting to know where the bite is hot and where it's not. And each function supports a variety of criteria so users can customize their searches - by distance, lake ranking or fish species, for example. "Fishing 101: The Basics" is a great place for the novice angler to start as well as a fine resource for parents who know little about the pastime but want to help teach their children to fish. Here are just some of the categories of information found there: general information about common species of sport fish, including pictures; illustrated help with tying knots; an alphabetical glossary of fishing terms; as well as useful tips on where to find fish, the nuts and bolts of equipment and baits, safety and conservation. The "FLW On Demand" section provides videos through the "Fishing 101" tab that provide a visual aid for learning basic techniques. "Solunar Tables" try to forecast the best time of day to catch fish, while "Catch of the Week" gives anyone the chance to share pictures of their catches as well as the stories that go along with them. Community It's difficult to hone fishing skills in an information vacuum, so exchanging ideas is a key part of becoming a well-rounded angler. The new "Community" section of the Web site offers a way for anglers to do just that. Whether you're interested in telling fishing stories, offering or seeking advice on how and where to catch them, learning about hot new baits or looking for a fishing partner, the "Community" aspect of FLWOutdoors.com has got it covered. Furthermore, social networking is now part of the picture, so you can make friends and stay in touch online. Visitors can create a free online account, create their own FLW profiles and then begin interacting with others on the site. Find other FLW friends already in the system or invite yours to join the fold so you can share photos, write blogs and link up with other anglers on the water through the "Fishing Buddy Locator." The new "Forum" section lets users find tournament partners, search classifieds, connect with travel partners or just sound off about any fishing topic. And "Catch of the Week" features some of the best fishing photos and stories submitted to FLWOutdoors.com. Shop The "Shop" section lets fishing fans browse a variety of items from the comfort of their homes, including classifieds. The FLW Online Store sports FLW Outdoors' official line of clothing - from T-shirts and sweatshirts to jackets to hats, including children's sizes for certain items - and offers discounts to FLW and TBF members. Relive the Catch lets users create their own memory books, wall calendars and other products using personal photos or pictures from an online image library. The "Shop" section also lets visitors link to a wide array of boat brands, purchase FLW Outdoors memberships and magazine subscriptions, and peruse a broad spectrum of discounted products and services for FLW members through Beneplace. Tournaments, college, fantasy But with all the new functionality of FLWOutdoors.com, we haven't lost sight of the fundamentals - we've just made them easier to navigate. FLWOutdoors.com will continue to provide full tournament coverage for all of the organization's bass and walleye tournaments. From the "Bass" or "Walleye" sections, visitors can easily jump to their circuit of interest, tournament registration, angler profiles, schedules, FLW Live or the tournament-locator tool. In addition, users can filter content by species as opposed to specific circuits by simply clicking on "Bass" or "Walleye." Anyone interested in playing FLW Fantasy Fishing or participating in, or just checking out, the new FLW National Guard College Fishing circuit in 2009 can jump directly to those home pages via FLWOutdoors.com. There's a whole lot more going on at FLWOutdoors.com in 2009, but with all the enhancements to the site and more user-friendly navigation, it's never been easier to find exactly what you want in the world of FLW Outdoors fishing.