The history of Major League Fishing can’t be told simply as a single story. But instead, it must be told multiple stories that all connect together. Those involved include professional anglers(people who fish), the Outdoor Channel, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), and FLW Outdoors. What connected the multiple groups besides the most obvious? A common goal, to provide the viewing public with a competitive, professional, and adrenaline pumping way of angling they hadn’t seen yet before.
To start the Outdoor Channel and professional anglers, both had similar ideas and the same goal of showing competitive bass fishing using a new compelling format and on a level of competitiveness and professionalism not seen yet of the sport of Angling(fishing). This new style of fishing would be made with the idea of a televised tournament series that would be more dramatic and action packed to illustrate to the viewer’s intense competition that takes place in the world of pro bass fishing.
The Outdoor Channel had a specific vision of ideas and opportunities to grow its programming to televise much more fishing than before. So pro anglers helped provide both ideas and the talent needed to turn the chance into a very real possibility. The Outdoor Channel was looking for chances to claim a spot in the competitive pro fishing market, and a group of pro anglers had started developing an innovative style of pro bass fishing. The anglers wanted to provide fishing fans, sports fans, and the public, with a view of the competitiveness of pro fishing the same way they view other major league or professional sports. The anglers wanted fans to witness how difficult, stressful, and challenging it is to attempt to outlast and outsmart other pro anglers while still landing(catching) fish. Their goal was to revolutionize the world of pro bass fishing.
The Anglers got the process started when pro bass angler Boyd Duckett met with a few other pro anglers to determine concepts and ideas for the project. They came up with the idea of a new television product in the summer of 2009. They then met with the top anglers in the world to decide the future of the sport. In attendance at the first meeting of 14 anglers was, of course, Bobby Duckett, Alton Jones, Denny Brauer, Gary Klein, Skeet Reese, Kevin Van Dam, and many others. Every Bass Master Classic Champion and Bassmaster Angler of the year of the past ten years were there.
The group decided to elect two of those among themselves to lead the group. They selected 30 years pro Gary Klein and Boyd Duckett who had won the 2007 Bassmaster Classic Championship as well being a successful business man. After a few long meetings, the group had come to multiple conclusions. They had concluded that they would not compete with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society(B.A.S.S.) nor FLW Outdoors. Because both those organizations had provided positive outlets and platforms for competitive bass fishing in the past. They decided to instead work with both organizations to build up the sport of angling(fishing). They also concluded, Major League Fishing would be created to only strengthen the sport of fishing, not to compete over the market of it.
The angler group, however, believed the sport of professional bass fishing needed to expand their fan base. They also thought the fans don’t get the chance to see the intelligence or the very different personalities of the anglers competing. They also felt that fans almost never get a chance to see the behind the scenes drama and competitiveness that takes place both on and off the water. The anglers wanted to change all that to appeal to a larger audience.The anglers came up with the idea, the tournament format must be specialized and very different from anything before. A new tournament format was needed to attract current fans and new fans alike. It would have to be something that would be very active and lively as well as fair for all competing. Some of the new elements included: surprise venues, no practice days, real time leader board in each boat, no limit on
The anglers came up with the idea, the tournament format must be specialized and very different from anything before. A new tournament format was needed to attract current fans and new fans alike. It would have to be something that would be very active and lively as well as fair for all competing. Some of the new elements included: surprise venues, no practice days, real time leader board in each boat, no limit on a number of fish weighed in, time-based deadlines, and weight based cut lines. The anglers also want more attention on the personalities of the angles, their struggles, and the competitiveness of the sport as oppose to catching of the fish itself. They wanted to make the fans and viewers feel like they were in the boat with the anglers.
The angler group feared it would take multiple years to find an outlet for their competition format. However, it took less than one year to do so. That’s when the Outdoor Channel became involved. The Outdoor Channel wanted a new fishing program, not like anything around. And the anglers wanted an outlet for their new format. It was perfect for both groups. The first meeting between the anglers and the Outdoor Channel took place in spring of 2010. It was in those meetings that Boyd Duckett and Gary Klein shared the ideas the anglers had for televised competitive bass fishing with the Outdoor Channel. In less than a year, the anglers and the Outdoor Channel had reached an agreement and formed a partnership together.
In 2011 Major League Fishing would film its first event at Lake Amistad, Texas. It aired in 2012 on the Outdoor Channel and featured the original 14 anglers plus 10 other top competitors. Those ten other anglers would become the Cup Anglers. It worked better than expected to start. The competition the next year had grown to include two Cup competitions, plus 24 additional top anglers in 2013 that included competing in two additional events called the Selects.
Since it’s aired debut in 2012, Major League Fishing has become the number one show on the Outdoor Channel. I have watched several episodes myself, and all are far more competitive and intriguing than any other fishing tournaments I’ve ever seen on television. I watched the first MLF World Championship and it was the most exciting fishing tournament I’ve seen. If you haven’t seen any Major League Fishing yet, watch some. They have defiantly succeeded in revolutionizing pro bass fishing and the way it is seen.
If you like sports, you’ll probably love MLF. Angling(fishing) is a sport that has been in our country since it very starts, and in other places for much longer than that even. Major League Fishing has successfully found a way to present the sport in a way never seen before. With many tournaments coming up, what will we see happen in Major League Fishing? I know I can’t wait to see what is to come in the world of fishing. I’ll be here helping you stay up to date on what is to come in Major League Fishing, and I hope now you are at least familiar with it. But when you’re not reading awesome sports coverage on 365 Sports Network, get out there and fish some.
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