UPCOMING EVENT: YETI FLW COLLEGE FISHING - 2019 - Lake Erie

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Bass Have Gone Global

Bass Have Gone Global
Sergio Garza Vara

It’s safe to say that before last fall many, if not most, fishermen in this country weren’t aware that bass lived anywhere except the northern half of the Western Hemisphere and a few places in Asia and Africa. Turns out that bass are a lot more international in their range than we might have originally thought, and it portends an interesting future.

In October, 13 teams from around the globe – including one from this country that was largely composed of FLW Tour pros – took part in the 13th Black Bass World Championships on the Vaal River in South Africa. FLWFishing.com audiences captivated by the tournament must have been at least mildly surprised when they learned that bass fishing has such a foothold in the world. Teams from Russia, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Spain and Portugal joined the usual mix of competitors such as the USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mexico.

Thirteen countries might not seem like much of an international mix, but it’s a start. Conspicuous by their absence in the World Championships were other countries that didn’t show up, but whose teams probably would have done well there: Canada, South Korea, China and Japan in particular.

To recap, South Africa won the event, followed by the United States in second and Italy in third. The South Africans were due, having finished runners-up the past two years. They’ll return to defend their title in 2018 when Mexico hosts the World Championships.

Who knows where this will all wind up? Presumably, wherever there are bass, there are avid anglers who want to fish for them. That takes in a lot of territory. FishBase.org, an online source of information about all things fish and fishing, claims that largemouth bass of the northern or Florida strains are present in 63 countries now and, in most cases, have become well established.

In Japan, for instance, bass were stocked in Lake Ashino in 1925 by a businessman named Akabishi Tetsuma simply because he enjoyed bass fishing when he was in the States and wanted to have access to it in his own land. It worked. Today Japan is known for its world-class bass fishermen, exceptional fishing tackle and Manabu Kurita, who caught the world-record-tying largemouth from Lake Biwa in 2009.

FishBase.org notes that largemouths were shipped to Belgium and France in 1877, making them the first foreign countries where the fish were stocked as far as anyone can determine. Two years later, England became home to largemouths, followed by Germany in 1888 and Italy in 1897 – the same year Hawaii waters got bass.

The Phillipines followed in 1907; then Japan in 1925, and South Africa and Cuba in 1928.

And so it goes; bass and bass fishing aren’t anything new to the anglers across the seas. It’s just that most guys on our side of the Big Pond probably didn’t know about it. In fact, foreign anglers have also dabbled around the edges of the American tournament scene for decades.

Zimbabwe was the first country outside the U.S. to affiliate with The Bass Federation, back in the early ’70s. One of its anglers, Gerry Jooste, qualified to fish in five Bassmaster Classics, and placed 15th in 1997. Jooste was the most successful of foreign anglers to compete in a major championship, but he wasn’t the first. That distinction belongs to Ontario fisherman Hank Gibson, who reached the Classic in 1990.

Since then, a number of Japanese anglers have fished the Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup, and pros such as Lionel Botha, formerly of South Africa, and Australian pro Carl Jocumsen are attesting to the fact that bass fishing isn’t confined to the United States.

A number of years ago, Irwin Jacobs, founder of FLW, began to connect the dots in terms of foreseeing the potential of bass tournament fishing as a worldwide sport supported by fans and sponsors wanting to tap into a growing international marketplace. His vision helped position the company front and center in the movement to globalize bass tournament fishing. Now FLW not only represents the initials of Ranger Boats founder Forrest L. Wood, but also those of Fishing League Worldwide.

As of this writing, the FLW partnership involves eight countries, including the United States, Canada, China, Mexico, South Korea, South Africa and – most recently – Italy and Portugal. Basically, countries set up their own qualification parameters and send their top guns to the Costa FLW Series Championship as International Division representatives. The top International Division angler there advances to the following year’s Forrest Wood Cup.

Competitive? Committed? You bet. At the Forrest Wood Cup last August, one moving moment occurred when South Korean angler Hyo Chul Kim, who qualified as the first champion of the Costa FLW Series International Division, spoke through an interpreter about his experience in the championship and what it meant to him.

“In my 17 years of fishing, this is the proudest moment of my life,” he said.

Kim, whose homeland was first stocked with bass in 1963, could have been anybody from any country standing there and baring his soul. As such, he spoke for thousands of anglers from many countries who are now in the process of linking hands. All of them share a love for fishing, and all dream the same dream as Kim: to stand on that larger stage, and be acknowledged as among the best bass fishermen on the planet.

Tags: colin-moore  article 

Curveballs at the Cup

Curveballs at the Cup

When the field of 52 anglers arrived in Hot Springs, Ark., for the official practice period for the 2019 FLW Cup, they were greeted with sunshine, humidity and brutal daytime temperatures in the upper 90s. Early in the week, there was little mention of anything other than the same – a typical Arkansas summer forecast of sunny and hot. READ MORE »

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Slow Down in Brush for More Success

Many times, hitting as many brush piles as possible is the key to success, with Bryan Thrift’s 2015 FLW Tour win on Lake Eufaula serving as a prime example of that strategy. However, with the fishing pretty tough on Lake Hamilton, both Wade Strelic and Joel Willert turned to more methodical approaches to generate bites. READ MORE »

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash and Bonus Bucks at Cup

Lawyer Loads Up on Cover Cash and Bonus Bucks at Cup

Jeremy Lawyer’s fourth-place finish at the FLW Cup on Arkansas’ Lake Hamilton was enough to earn him an extra $1,000 from LEER Cover Cash and $3,500 from Toyota Bonus Bucks. The third year FLW Tour pro used a two-prong approach of fishing shallow with a topwater and probing deep brush piles with a drop-shot to notch his best finish to date in the Cup. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Set to Air Wednesday

Rapala Varsity Bass Set to Air Wednesday

The second episode of Rapala Varsity Bass presented by General Tire will air today at 2 p.m. CT. In Episode 2, Noah Ezickson and his teammate Connor Walsh journey to the fabled Alabama fishery of Lake Guntersville. Utilizing his diverse fishing experience from his travels around the world, can the Wake Forest University team qualify for the 2020 YETI FLW College Fishing Championship? READ MORE »

FLW Marshal Don White Wins New Ranger Boat

FLW Marshal Don White Wins New Ranger Boat

Angler Don White of Columbus, Mississippi, was announced as the first winner of a brand new Ranger Z521 courtesy of the FLW Marshal Program. READ MORE »

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Henderson Holds Steady to Take FLW-KBF Cup Crown

Even with day-one leader Eric Jackson taking a massive lead into the final day of competition and 70 more of the best kayak anglers on the planet behind him, Clint Henderson did what he said he was going to do. He won the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack and the $15,000 top prize. READ MORE »

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Jackson Crushes on Day One of FLW-KBF Cup

Eric Jackson is simply a hammer fishing from a kayak. The FLW Tour pro and owner of Jackson Kayak is fresh off an individual and team gold-medal-winning performance in the 2019 Pan Am Bass Kayak Championship (not to mention a third-place finish in the final 2019 FLW Tour event on Lake Champlain), and his five-fish limit of 98.25 inches on day one of the Dee Zee FLW/KBF Cup presented by YakAttack puts him in stellar position to earn another victory on Saturday. READ MORE »

2020 FLW Tour Schedule

2020 FLW Tour Schedule

FLW announced today its regular-season schedule for the 25th season of the FLW Tour, which kicks off in January 2020. The schedule was revealed to anglers and media at the annual pre-FLW Cup banquet in Hot Springs, Ark. READ MORE »

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

Alan Reed Dishes on FLW-KBF Cup Practice

We caught up with Reed after his practice on Wednesday to get the scoop on how Ouachita is fishing and what the outlook is for the two-day event that begins Friday and runs concurrently with the FLW Cup on neighboring Lake Hamilton. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for the Cup

FLW Live Schedule for the Cup

FLW Live will air all three days of the FLW Cup on Lake Hamilton, beginning with on-the-water coverage Friday, Aug. 9. READ MORE »

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

McCaghren Lives Out Childhood Baseball Dream

FLW Tour pro Billy McCaghren, who’ll be competing in the FLW Cup this week at Lake Hamilton, says his childhood dream was not to be a pro bass angler. He wanted to play professional baseball. Well, this week, the Mayflower, Ark., angler gets to dabble in both professions. The 2019 FLW Cup qualifier will compete on Lake Hamilton in front of what is practically a hometown crowd, and last night he was honored for his fishing accomplishments by the Arkansas Travelers baseball team, which invited McCaghren to throw out the first pitch in a game against the Springfield Cardinals. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: 2019 FLW Cup

By the Numbers: 2019 FLW Cup

The FLW Cup is a week away, and 52 of the best bass anglers on the planet are all gearing up for a chance at the $300,000 top prize and a slice of bass fishing immortality. READ MORE »

Meet FLW Pros at Pro Day This Weekend

Meet FLW Pros at Pro Day This Weekend

FLW has teamed up with Bass Pro Shops and Greeson’s Polaris to host four Pro Day events on Saturday, Aug. 3. Fans can take photos and get autographs from the pros, or just talk fishing and get some in-store tackle-buying advice.  READ MORE »

From the All-American to the Cup

From the All-American to the Cup

Brennon McCord is a self-described quiet, easygoing guy, but the 22-year-old T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League All-American champion hopes to make some Lake Hamilton noise in his first FLW Cup appearance. For the moment, understandably so, he’s still basking in the afterglow of a victory that earned what he calls the biggest honor of his career. READ MORE »

FLW Cup Predictions

FLW Cup Predictions

With the FLW Cup just a little over a week away on Lake Hamilton in Hot Springs, Ark., anticipation is starting to grow. We wrangled several FLW staff members and FLW Tour pros who aren’t fishing this year’s Cup and asked them to give their take on who will win and how it’ll be done, along with any other prediction they have. READ MORE »

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

How Brad Knight Plans to Win the Cup

Brad Knight’s life changed forever in Hot Springs. In 2015, the Tennessee pro won the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita, earning $500,000 and thrusting himself into the pro bass fishing spotlight. Now that he knows just what a Cup win can do for a tournament angler’s career, Knight is even more motivated to win the title again, which he’ll have a chance to do Aug. 9-11 on Lake Hamilton, right back in Hot Springs, Ark.  READ MORE »

Thrift Eyeing Final Feather in His Cap

Thrift Eyeing Final Feather in His Cap

Another year, another FLW Cup. Which means, once more, one of the top storylines going into the championship is, “Will this be the year Bryan Thrift finally wins it?” When you have the pedigree of Thrift – arguably the top angler in the sport – it’s bound to come up. After all, he’s won Rookie of the Year, two Angler of the Year titles (and finished in the top 10 another 11 times) and 11 tournaments (six tour, five Costa FLW Series). READ MORE »

Previewing Dee Zee FLW-KBF Cup

Previewing Dee Zee FLW-KBF Cup

For the first time ever, FLW and Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) have joined forces for the championship of kayak bass fishing. Running in conjunction with the 2019 FLW Cup (on nearby Lake Hamilton), the FLW-KBF Cup will feature a stacked field of qualifying anglers all vying to take home a top prize of between $15,000 and $25,000, depending on final field size. READ MORE »

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

Training Future Pros at Summer Camp 

There were more than a dozen FLW pros in attendance for the first round of lakeside seminars at the Costa FLW High School Fishing Campthis morning. But within the crowd, chances are high that there are at least a couple dozen more future pros among the 230 high schoolers who traveled to Kentucky Lake to attend the camp.  It’s clear from the level of knowledge and experience the campers have exhibited during the seminars that these are some of the more accomplished high school anglers in the country. Their dedication is obvious, too. Campers came from as far away as Nevada, California, Vermont and even Montreal.  READ MORE »

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

300 Campers Headed for Murray State

On Wednesday, 230 high school students and 70 adults (coaches, parents and club advisors) from as far west as California and as far north as Vermont will gather at Murray State University in western Kentucky for the second annual Costa FLW High School Fishing Camp. That’s nearly double the number of participants from last year’s inaugural camp. READ MORE »