Nice to see WalMart back - however . . . . (editorial opinions)

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Texas Transplant

Well-Known Member
Feb 24, 2001
Reaction score
Fort Worth, TX
After catching up on some of my reading and the various sites on the Internet, I was pleased to see that WalMart has once again signed on as the Primary Sponsor of the FLW Tour. That can only be viewed as a 'good thing', regardless of the other problems that face the Professional Angler of today and tomorrow. Without someone sponsoring at the primary level, who has some ability to benefit from the entire fishing promotion(s), the FLW would likely be on the trail of going under or greatly scaling back.

However . . . .

Until WalMart decides to actually market and actively sell better quality (along with a better selection) merchandise to the angling public, they will never reap the benefits that they are seeking. This past weekend I was in a major WalMart store here in the DFW Metroplex area. There are tens of thousands active anglers in our area served by BassPro, Cabela's, Dick's, Academy and other lesser named/know retailers. However, when I was in the Sport's department of WalMart (looking for something else), I couldn't help but notice once again the lack of quality merchandise for sale in the ONE and only ONE aisle containing fishing equipment. That, and I am almost certain (purley judged by the overall impression that the 'staff' made on me), that there was also no one there who knew little about the products/selections.

When Sam Walton started WalMart, he touted it as a store that offered American Products to the American Consumer, made by Americans. Sadly, that has long since gone the way of an 'extinct species'. For the most part, it is Chinese Products, made by Chinese Labor sold to the American Public. That, and unless you want to discount your price tremendously for the satisfaction of selling through WalMart; the sign simply says: "Next in line please."

The other item (although not really related to WalMart) is the obvious acknowledgement that anyone other than the top 15-20 Professional Anglers in either league, will have a tough time trying to make a living within the Professional Tournament trails. And with the recent success of what previously was a 'wannabe' at the FLW Cup tournament on Lanier (Kevin Hawk), there will likely be many, many that try to hang on hopinig to catch lightning in a bottle similar to what he did. Too bad, that neither of the two 'leagues' cannot do what Ray Scott did initially with BASS. That is, no one knows the lake where the Championship is going to be held, till days before the competition.

Climbing back down off my soap box for awhile . . . .

Tex - I was at the FLW Cup on Sunday, they reiterated the Saturday announcement of keeping sponsorship of FLW, they also mentioned Tbone Pickens joined as a financial partner in FLW, he even added $100k to the winner on Sunday (sure that was orchestrated behind the scenes...). To be honest i've seen/know little of the FLW, know a lot of about BASS due to the federation nation, magazine, TV press...

Always good for our sport when more corporate sponsors get involved.
You make some valid points. The politics of pro fishing must be hell to keep up with. That's why I don't do tournament fishing......if I don't catch......I don't loose anything but time and don't have pressure on me. Although I do have a hard time trying to beat Bruce Y!!
Trep,.....his name is "T. BOONE Pickens" A multi millionaire who made his cheddar in oil, and now wants to push his "natural gas" agenda....

"T.Bone" is the fat dude who shoots deer with Michael Waddell!

Just a little FYI so all ya'll southern boys don't get the 2 confused!!:rolleyes:;)

TT,...I think Walmart coming back in is good for them too.....otherwise I think the FLW was on it's last leg. I don't think you'll ever see their stores stock a really good supply of tackle...they'll supply the "basics" (think of their clientel,..:wacko: ) and that's about it. They'll add more than what they have now,...but the "serious" fishermen and women will always go to the BIG stores for their gear....the "Marts" will be a stop on the way to the lakes for licenses, drinks, snacks etc. Besides,..that's where they make their $$ back from sponsoring the angler's. You'll see the Snicker's and Power drinks and dog food teams probably come back...but you won't see a Walmart/FLW "Split Shot or Sinker" Team...LOL know what I mean? Walmart made deals with their suppliers for prime retail locations for their items based on their $$ involvement with the fishing teams. I doubt that will change.

Things will change for BASS Pro's now too, since the latest aquisition...hopefully McKinnis and Co. will bring back the emphasis of family and kid's and not JUST tournaments,..that's the only thing that will make this sport grow! As far as the professional's "future" goes,...I think it will continue to be a league where the MONEY is with the FLW,...but the real notoriety and credibility is with BASS. But, you may see the $$ grow substantially with BASS too if they can get the public awareness focused on conservation, family involvement and the growth of the sport for future generations. We (BASS Members) also need to fight the anti's head on and BASS has the know-how to do that. I think the FLW will focus more on their own agenda,...that being "pay BIG $$ winnings,..push Walmart brands and limit or eliminate the recently loosened logo restriction policy again." The FLW has been very weak in supporting conservation, youth involvement (and I'm not talking about family fun zones!!) and the general growth of the sport. Will that change?? Who knows,..but if they don't want to make the same mistakes twice,..they better!! IMHO anyway.
I personally don't think that the $$$ are that much more in the FLW, when you consider it is spread out over so many more anglers. Another take on that is, there are far fewer Professional Anglers going broke in BASS, then there are in FLW (I'm pretty certain of that one!).

When I was Tourney fishing (club level and state level only), I NEVER did it for the money (good thing too!). I did it because I enjoyed the competition and really enjoyed fishing with so many different anglers (styles, personalities, etc). I learned so much, doing that.

I do think that having someone like Jerry McK running the ship, is a great thing. He knows this business; has the credintals; and should be very successful. The biggest problem facing the sport, IMHO, is still the fact that it is NOT a spectator sport. No matter how many cameras that you try to have on the water.

Deffinitely NOT a spectator sport....and like golf,..kinda boring to watch if you don't play yourself! On the contrary,..there are probably just as many if not more people going broke trying to fish BASS than the FLW. "IF" the FLW people like you, have a very good chance of getting on a team (boat, & entry fees paid and expense money, and with Walmart coming back.....probably a lot more will be developed),..but on the BASS side, you're on your own,...virtually ALL of those expenses are up to you and your sponsors. No "Team deals" on the BASS side, other than a few Bait Mfgr's, BPS and a few others. Both sides of the livewell are revolving doors,...and both sides better get a grip on the cheaters out there if they want to earn public credibility and respect!!
Just read this a.m. where Charlie Evans stepped down from the FLW CEO and Tourney Director role! HHhmmmmm....that's huge!! Sounds like Irwin is cleaning house and getting ready to make some more MAJOR changes!! This is going to get very interesting and will only "benefit" the Pro's!! ;)
"T.Bone" is the fat dude who shoots deer with Michael Waddell!

Just a little FYI so all ya'll southern boys don't get the 2 confused!!

Heck, I thought T-Bone was Clifford the Big Red Dog's lil' bulldog buddy. :D
I think the better description is:

T. Boone Pickens is the rich guy . . . .

From Texas of course. Ironic - he's a Billionaire from Texas, now promoting Wind Driven Energy (that would be 'hot air')! :rolleyes:

Current net worth estimated to be at about $3B - so the $100k he dropped at the FLW Cup was a 'tip'! ;)

And he had a long a storied finacial boom in petroleum products prior to his current push of natural gas and wind farms.

as for the "influx" of $$ into FLW.....rememebr that fisherman are still fishing for their own money on both trails! PAA is a bit different.
Well, I'll take a 'minor' exception to the statement by Mini . . .

rememebr that fisherman are still fishing for their own money on both trails!

Actually, they are fishing for the 'other anglers' money!


And what good will WalMart do? Give a couple of guys (20 or so) some deals? TO help them fish?

I would think that infusing that money into the payout would bring the entry fees down and thus making it easier for the masses to fish....
Actually, I think the Walmart "money" fuels the FLW overhead, which is (I am sure) very high. Individual sponsors (Castrol, etc) provide wrapped boats, etc to some of the selected anglers. I have no inside info so this is just my opinion based on observations and snippets of info gleaned over the years fishing the FLW Walleye events.
Castrol provides no boats. Ranger does and gets paid. As a part of Castrols involvement, they have a team of anglers that wear their colors for money AND they get boats wrapped.

Almost all of the money from FLW sponsorship goes to overhead of the FLW. Not much goes to the anglers....

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