UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

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Reel Chat: FLW College Fishing edition, Part 1

Reel Chat: FLW College Fishing edition, Part 1

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we're joined by FLW Outdoors CEO Charlie Evans and FLW College Fishing Tournament Director Kevin Hunt. With the start of the inaugural National Guard FLW College Fishing season just over a month away, we thought it would be a good idea to open the channels of communication to these two so they could answer questions about this historic venture into tournament bass fishing at the collegiate level.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
So if you have questions about how the circuit will operate, what it means for the future of the sport of bass fishing or anything else related to FLW College Fishing, now is your chance to ask the experts. Without further delay, let's get started.

Q: When are we supposed to check in? It says 30 minutes before takeoff, but is there a meeting the day before or call-in registration like the BFL?
-- Travis (Gonzales, La.)
A: We welcome everyone to attend the Stren weigh-in on Friday, which starts at 3 p.m. Kevin Hunt will be at that weigh-in to answer questions anyone may have. The electronic check-in Saturday morning starts 30 minutes before takeoff time. We will actually have a meeting 30 minutes before takeoff, which is mandatory. It is electronic and it will be done with your membership card. Its like using an ATM card or a card key at a motel.

Q: Do you have to have a partner for these tournaments if no one else in your club wants to fish?
-- S.D. Dooley (Quincy, Ill.)
A: The answer is yes. This is a two-man team tournament. Sign somebody up -- there is no entry fee, boats are furnished, and there is travel money.

Q: Do college fishing teams (schools) require a fishing coach? If not, would this be a good idea?
-- James (Tazewell, Va.)
A: No, coaches are not required. But some schools require faculty advisors. We don't require faculty advisors, but we think they are a good idea for consistency sake. We do offer advice from FLW Tour pros who serve as student advisors. You can ask these student advisors all kinds of questions on CollegeFishing.com.

Q: Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., I am hosting a meeting to generate interest in college fishing at South Dakota State University. If you have any advice other than what is on the Web site, please let me know. Thanks for all your good efforts.
-- Eric Weeman (Arlington, S.D.)
A: The Web site should contain all the information you need. But if you have any additional questions, please feel free to call Kevin Hunt at (270) 252-1593 or contact him via e-mail at khunt@flwoutdoors.com. Good luck with your meeting.

Q: How is the money from each tournament dispersed? Does it go to the individual angler or to the club?
-- Nick (Davenport, Iowa)
A: The monies from all tournaments will be divided equally between the club and the school. The winning team gets $10,000 from each qualifier. $5,000 goes to the fishing club, and $5,000 goes to their school. In the regional championship, the winner gets a Ranger boat powered by an Evinrude or a Yamaha for the club and $25,000 for the school. The national champions will get $25,000 for the club, a Ranger boat for the club, $50,000 for the school and the use of a wrapped Chevy truck and Ranger boat in the their school colors for the Forrest Wood Cup.

Q: What is the limit of bass for each tournament per angler? I read the rules, and it seems like five, but it said keep five and only weigh in three. Why keep five and only weigh in three? Thank you so much for your time.
-- Jake Heath (Corpus Christi, Texas)
A: We want each angler to weigh in their best three alive fish. You can have five in the livewell per person, but only bring in three alive. You can cull the remaining two at your discretion when you come in.

Q: What place in any National Guard FLW College Fishing tournament must we place in order to advance to the next round? What is the lowest place that you can come in?
-- Jonathan Garrison (Henning, Tenn.)
A: You must finish in the top five, and you'll advance to the next round.

Q: Is this the first year for the college fishing circuit? Do all 40 positions get entered at each tournament, or is there a possibility of sending more than one team?
-- Eric Weeman (Arlington, S.D.)
A: Eric, yes, this is the first year of National Guard College Fishing. This is the first college circuit with real significant exposure and prize money available. There are 40 spots in every qualifying event available. If less than 40 colleges submit a team, then colleges can have more than one team. The first 40 schools that register a team are guaranteed a spot. If less than 40 schools register, then more than one team from a school can enter. Clubs should enter as many teams as possible, and we'll let them know 14 days prior to the event if they are confirmed. We want to encourage people to enter as many teams as possible. We will take the first team from every school, and then we will keep entering as many as we can up to 40.

Q: Do we use certain sponsors, or do we ask for our own sponsors on our jerseys? Are there any that we have to have or cannot have?
-- Lauren J. (Mount Pocono, Pa.)
A: Sponsorship is what makes this program work. We couldn't provide this huge, nationally-televised competition without our sponsors. We appreciate everybody that flies the colors and purchases the sponsor products. In qualifying events, the only restrictions are alcohol and tobacco. They cannot wear or display any alcohol or tobacco. All qualifying events will be broadcast live on FLWOutdoords.com, so we ecourage them to wear clothing that represents their school and their sponsors. For regional championships and the national championships, which are internationally televised events, FLW Outdoors will furnish jerseys that will represent their school and FLW Outdoors sponsors.

Q: How much will we be getting for a travel allowance? We are able to get money from our university for gas, but if we knew how much money we would get for the allowance, then we could factor that in when we go ask the university for travel money as well.
-- Logan Bliss (Stevens Point, Wis.)
A: For the qualifying events, it will average $100 based on distance from the school to the tournament site. For schools farther away, they will get more; for schools closer, they will get less. They will also receive the travel allowance check onsite. For the regional events, it will average $200, and for the national championsip, it will average $1,000.

Q: Can one school send more than one team to a regional or national championship event? Or will each team only be able to qualify one?
-- Roy Roberts (Russellville , Ark.)
A: The first 40 schools that enter a team are guaranteed a position. If less than 40 schools enter, than multiple teams from one school can enter. The selection will be based on time of entry. Clubs should submit multiple teams. We will confirm whether or not they got in 14 days prior to the tournament by sending an e-mail. Again, we want to encourage as many teams as are interested to sign up now, because it is based on date and time.

Q: How do you know that 40 fishermen from the Stren Series events will be willing to stay and let us use their boats? And how will the top 10 fishermen from the Stren Series fishing the last day of their competition feel about sharing the water?
-- Bob Jones (Fayettville , Ark.)
A: The professional anglers that fish the Stren Series are excited about the college circuit. They realize this is a tremendous opportunity for the future of our sport. They are more than willing to share their time and their equipment to help improve the future of our sport.

Q: How many schools are registered in the Western Division, and how many teams are competing in Oroville?
-- Carter Troughton (Eugene, Ore.)
A: We've got 13 teams currently registered for the Oroville tournament, and we've got space for 27 more.

Q: What kind of off-limits (period) will there be for the college anglers? Will there be more than just the normal tournament off-limits - gas docks, anchored boats, etc.? With the pros fishing for the big bucks on their final day, the same day we are going to fish, I don't want to interfere with their tournament, but I'm there to win the tournament I'd be in too.
-- S.D. Dooley (Quincy, Ill.)
A: Good question. We will furnish all college anglers with the information they need about available fishing water. The complete off-limits details for each event are located on CollegeFishing.com. We appreciate the concern for the Stren anglers, and if you see a top-10 Stren pro, please respect their waters.

Q: I've heard that the Central Division is already full. I am interested in participating. Is there a waiting list? If so, how does that work?
-- Chris L. (Covington, Tenn.)
A: For the Central Division, we've got 44 teams, but we don't have 40 separate schools entered. So spots are still available until we have 40 individual schools represented. Yes, we will have a waiting list, so go ahead and sign up, and we'll go down the waiting list if needed.

Q: I am confused here. Does someone get to fish as a pro at the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup? If so, how do you determine who is the pro? Don't these guys fish as a team?
-- Tony G. (Bentonville, Ark.)
A: The winning team from the National Championship will qualify for the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup. At the National Championship, both anglers weigh in up to three fish per day for three days. The angler of those two with the heaviest individual weight will compete in the Pro Division at the Forrest Wood Cup for a shot at up to $1 million for first place and a minimum of $7,000 for last place. Money won at the Forrest Wood Cup will go directly to the individual.

Q: I was wondering if anyone can join a college club. Is there any age limit? And do you have to attend a college? Thanks.
-- Corey (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
A: You must be a full-time undergraduate college student at a four-year college or university. There is no age limit.

Q: We have a tournament on Erie in the Central Division. What do you do if the boater doesn't want to go out on Erie but you do? What are the limitations of what we can make the boater do?
-- Richard Cobb V (Richmond, Ky.)
A: That's a good question. Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair are actually off-limits for the Detroit River event. The boundary for the college competitors is the river only.

Q: Why not do a traditional five-fish-per-team stringer?
-- Jude (Marrero, La.)
A: We wanted each angler to have the opportunity to weigh in the same number of fish. Simply put, that's three and three equals six. Each angler can only weigh fish that he or she caught. You cannot weigh in your partner's fish. That also determines who goes as a pro and who goes as a co-angler for the Forrest Wood Cup.

Q: How will the launch and weigh-in be handled since there will be a Stren Series tournament and a college tournament going on at the same time?
-- Roy Roberts (Russellville , Ark.)
A: We will have cut to the top 10 (anglers) for the Stren Series. They will take off first and will be followed immediately by the college takeoff. Upon check-in, the Stren pros will head to their weigh-in at Walmart, and the college weigh-in will take place lakeside.

Q: I am currently, and have been, a participant in the Stren Series. I also am the club president of Florida Atlantic University's bass fishing club. Is there any way I am able to compete in both at the same time? Or do I have to choose only one, which would be awful because I already am entered in all Stren events in the Southeast Division?
-- Kyle Connelly (Boca Raton, Fla.)
A: Unfortunately, you'll have to pick one. The five-day off-limits for the college tournaments was instituted for two reasons. No. 1 was to encourage class attendance, and No. 2 was to eliminate conflict with the Stren events. Good luck either way.

Q: Is the off-limits beforehand limited to fishing, or is it being on the water in general?
-- Thomas (Fort Myers, Fla.)
A: No, you simply can't go on the water five days prior - period.

Q: What will be supplied at the qualifying tournaments, and what will we need to bring?
-- Lauren J. (Mount Pocono, Pa.)
A: We'll supply the boat, a Frabill landing net, a Frabill fish-handling net, an official FLW Outdoors measuring board, culling clips and fish bags for transportation. We will be posting the student-advisor information shortly (tackle-wise, clothing-wise). For starters, you are allowed to bring up to five rod-and-reel combinations for each partner.

Q: If a team qualifies twice for the regional (two or more top-five finishes), what will happen?
-- Thomas (Fort Myers, Fla.)
A: Once you have qualified for the regional, you're in. If you qualify again, we'll pull up the sixth-place team.

Q: Can you talk us through what's going to happen on tournament day?
-- Kyle Harsanyi (Newport News, Va.)
A: We'll take off after the 10 Stren pros; there will be approximately eight hours of fishing; you can keep up to five bass per angler in your livewell; and then you'll bring in your three largest live bass to the weigh-in. We want to stress the importance of proper fish care and handling because only live fish will be allowed at the weigh-in.

Q: If I win a qualifier with one partner, but he can't fish the regional for whatever reason, can we make a substitution?
-- Bill (Austin, Texas)
A: That's a good question, but the answer is no. The same two individuals must compete in championship events. There are no substitutes allowed.

Q: How do we design our own team jerseys?
-- John Lawson (Henderson , Tenn.)
A: Go to CollegeFishing.com and click on the tab to the left (to order team jerseys), and the Winning Team will assist you. Team jerseys are not required, but they look professional.

Q: If each person is allowed three fish, how are you going to determine the team's weight at the end? Add each teammate's fish together to get the total or only count as an individual?
-- Tyler (Berea, Ky.)
A: Tyler, Berea is my hometown, so thanks for checking in. The answer is yes, the six-fish total weight (up to three per team member) will determine the team's total standings. The six-fish weight is the weight we record and will determine the team's standings.

Q: Once you have qualified, you can still fish the other tournaments, right?
-- Thomas (Fort Myers, Fla.)
A: Yes, as long as spots are available.

Q: How many schools are registered for the Potomac River? What about Lake Champlain?
-- Paul Kimball (Glastonbury, Conn.)
A: For both the Potomac and Champlain, we have 16 teams.

Q: How many schools are registered to fish the Okeechobee tournament in February?
-- Matt (Gainesville, Fla.)
A: Eighteen teams so far have registered, so encourage your friends to sign up.

Q: Is there going to be an update to the Web site so that you can see which schools are registered for the tournaments?
-- Troy Stokes (Mount Pleasant, Mich.)
A: Access to that information will be posted on collegefishing.com soon.

Q: How much travel money can we expect to get? Especially in an instance where an Arkansas team has to travel to Detroit, which I know is over 1,000 miles one way for our team!
-- Roy Roberts (Russellville , Ark.)
A: Again, the teams that travel the farthest will get more money. It all depends on where the other teams are coming from.

Q: This situation will most likely never happen, but just in case: What happens if one individual makes the top five in two seperate qualifiers with two different partners?
-- Logan Bliss (Stevens Point, Wis.)
A: Once you've qualified once, you're qualified. You cannot requalify.

Q: How many teams are registered in the Southeast Division?
-- Jonathan Ledoux (Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
A: Okeechobee has 18, Santee Cooper has 19, Wheeler has 21, and Guntersville has 21.

Q: How many teams are registered for Falcon Lake?
-- Travis (Gonzales, La.)
A: We have 39 teams registered. You better hurry up and register; the tournament is only five weeks away.

Q: Will there be any alternate spots in case of no-shows?
-- Brian (Columbus, Ohio)
A: We will maintain a waiting list.

Q: If only live fish can be weighed, what happens if a boater's livewell breaks or something like that? It's rare, but it does happen; it happened in a tournament to me.
-- Thomas (Fort Myers, Fla.)
A: Thomas, that's why taking care of your catch is your responsibility. If the pump breaks, it's your responsibility to dip fresh water for them. They're your responsibility - keep them alive.

Q: Do we register for each individual event now or just the division in general?
-- Bret Benton (Greenville, N.C.)
A: You can do them one at a time or all at once.

Q: As far as the regions are concerned, can we fish in tournaments out of our region, or are we limited to fishing within our designated region?
-- Joey (Pottsville, Ark.)
A: You can only compete in the division in which your school is located. (Moderator comment: A division map is available through the schedule link at CollegeFishing.com.)

Q: I'm gonna jump on the bandwagon too ... How many teams are registered for the Texas Division tournaments?
-- Bill (Austin, Texas)
A: There are 39 at Falcon, 28 at Rayburn and Amistad, and 26 on Toledo Bend.

Q: At the Central Division Fort Madison tournament, what are the limitations on how far up or down the Mississippi we can go?
-- Ben Fuchs (Manhattan, KS)
A: Pool 19 only.

Q: Yeah, Charlie. I've grown up with all the Devere boys, went to school with Lucas, Mike's son, and fish with them all the time. Berea raises up the best fishermen in the country. You know it.
-- Tyler (Berea, Ky.)
A: Amen.

Q: Have 40 different schools signed up for the first tournament in the Texas Division at Falcon yet?
-- Matt (New Orleans, LA)
A: No.

Q: In a state like Florida, where the actual size limit is 14 inches but waivers can be gotten for 12-inch fish, will the size limit be 12 or 14 inches?
-- Thomas (Fort Myers, Fla.)
A: It will be 12 inches.

Q: Are the Stren guys allowed to GPS our spots, or can we clear out of their GPS after the day?
-- Richard Cobb V (Richmond, Ky)
A: Believe me, the Stren pros already know every inch of every body of water they fish - that's why they're pros. They are also true professionals - they wouldn't take that information anyway.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
College anglers and bass-fishing fans, unfortunately that's all the time we have for a Q&A session as of right now. We appreciate the tremendous volume of questions regarding the upcoming FLW College Fishing season and wish there was time for all of them to be answered. To try to accommodate those whose questions weren't answered, we've decided to schedule another Live Chat specific to FLW College Fishing at 2 p.m. Central time on Jan. 8. Be sure to come back and join us then to learn more.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Again, thanks to Charlie Evans and Kevin Hunt for giving us their valuable time. And a very special thanks to all of those who participated in today's Reel Chat program on FLWOutdoors.com. Don't forget to sign up for the 2009 $10 million FLW Fantasy Fishing season at FantasyFishing.com, and be sure to check back at CollegeFishing.com and FLWOutdoors.com frequently for all your tournament and recreational fishing news and features.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
The full transcript of this FLW Live Reel Chat will be published shortly at FLWOutdoors.com.

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