😁 Highlights from an interesting MLF announcement plus a little 2c:
Every fish counts is back, starting next year
> MLF GM Kathy Fennel: "We responded in 2023 to fans and anglers that wanted to see how 5-fish scoring would work with our Scoretracker live leaderboard. Unfortunately viewership growth was stagnant.
> "The Bass Pro Tour thrives on intense competition, and the scoring change affected the Tour's competitiveness in an unexpected way.
> "By reinstating the every fish counts scoring structure and having fewer anglers in the Knockout Round, pros will no longer be able to let their guard down without the risk of being overtaken by someone climbing Scoretracker."
All good but I didn't think anyone let their guard down – because it was theoretically easier to come back from being 3 lbs down in a 5 fish derby than 23 lbs down in a catch 'em all. Other than that, I'm gonna expect Dustin Connell to pick up where he left off in 2022.
The 2024 BPT format will be a little different
It's still 40 guys on days 1 and 3 and the other 40 on days 2 and 4, but only 10 from each group will advance to the Knockout Round instead of 20 from each group:
> Only the top 10 anglers from each group – based on the 2-day heaviest cumulative weight – will advance to the Knockout Round (day 5). Weights will be zeroed for the Knockout Round, and the top 10 anglers will advance to the Championship Round (day 6). Weights from the Knockout Round will carry over into the Championship Round....
Because of weights getting zeroed, the guys are still basically fishing two 2-day tournaments.
Also MLF will no longer livestream BPT competition days. Just the final 2 days of the Qualifying Round, the Knockout Round and the Championship Round. In my 2c, less Live (not just MLF) is actually good, but there's such big eyeball #s in it so....
In 2025 the BPT will only have 50 guys 👀
> ...50 anglers comprised of the top 35 pros from the 2024 Bass Pro Tour lifetime Angler of the Year (AOY) standings, the top 10 anglers from the 2024 Bass Pro Tour single-year standings that did not qualify via the top 35 lifetime AOY standings, and the top 5 anglers from the 2024 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals.
> MLF CEO Boyd Duckett: "By focusing on 50 anglers in a more compact event that's easy for both diehard and casual fans alike to follow, we'll do what other successful leagues have done to grow – focus on a small group of the highest performers and make them the most visible personalities in the sport. It also allows us to enhance what are already the sport's best payouts."
> Each Stage on the 2025 Bass Pro Tour will pay $130,000 to the winner and $2,000 through 50th place. Redcrest will feature the sport's top award of $300,000 with $10,000 through 20th place and $5,000 through last place. Heavy Hitters will feature $100,000 for a win with big bass awards in each round of $25,000, $50,000 and $100,000.
The change to 50 is an irony because that was Jerry McKinnis' vision for the top tier of pro bass fishing – which I guess started at FLW, but he tried real hard to somehow make that happen at B.A.S.S. for the same reasons Boyd mentioned.
Other than that, can I buy stock in Jacob Wheeler?? 😁
MLF also mentioned that starting next year they will livestream the fall General Tire Team Series – 25 days total.
Final 2c: Overall I like that the MLFers still aren't afraid to change things up to figure out their best recipe.