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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some help...

My wife and I have been bass fishing for a number of years now and feel that we would like to try our hand at the BFL-Michigan division. However, I am not sure that I fully understand the idea of a co-angler. I have some specific questions that hopefully someone can shine some light on.

1. From reading the info on the BFL website, I am under the impression that if an FLW member registers as a boater and gets his/her entry in by the priority entry deadline, along with the co-angler's membership information that they are guaranteed to fish together. However, other sections indicate that partners will be paired by draw. Which is it?

2. The fishing limit is 5 fish. I assume that this is 5 fish per person, or a total of 10 fish for the boat. Is this correct? If so, I would assume that they should be stored in separate live wells, any tips if you only have one live well? Also, the rules indicate that a properly aerated live well with enough space to maintain alive a limit catch of bass by both contestants, my live well is only 11 gal., is it possible to have an after-market live well installed?

3. Are their any other local tournaments that we should check into?

Feel free to email me directly at [email protected]
 

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Entering into the bfl with a paid co-angler is only going to guarantee that both of you will be allowed to fish. Pairings are done by drawing, the likelyhood the two of you will fish together is very slim. Your livewell will have to be big enough to support two live limits and be seperated from one another. One large livewell with a divider should be sufficient if it is large. If you are looking to fish some local team events take your pick there is one everyday and every week end.
 

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gotanewboat, there are many MI BASS Federation clubs you can join to fish tournaments on weekends. There is also the ABA (American Bass Anglers) club, and as you said the BFL. There's also other clubs in michigan that are not part of the MI BASS Federation. Going on the internet and searching for this info is pretty easy. Hope this helps with the local tournaments question.
 

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newboat,

An excellent tournament series is our Michigan federation , we have a team format that would allow yourself and spouse to fish together , 3 (2) day tournaments and a classic at the end of the year for a new Ranger boat.Average draw is in the 50-75 boat range with 13 teams making the classic in the end.For a husband/wife team event this is bar none top shelf in my opinion, so maybe before you would commit to BFL possibly look at this as well. The BFL is a fine circut on more of an individual basis.
 

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My advice to you for beginning your tournament career is to join a BASS affiliated club and participate in the club tournaments to see how it goes. You will learn the answers to your questions without spending a whole lot of money only to find out you dont like it. OR if you do like there are many ways to advance in BASS including fishing the BASSMASTER Classic.

Now to answer your questions:

1. You will not be guarenteed to fish TOGETHER, you will guarenteed to fish the tournament. You will draw your boater or non boater the night before the tournament.

2. Yes you will have to keep 10 fish (if you catch each get your 5) in that 11 gallon livewell. I dont recommend you use that for tournament fishing. You can get aftermarket livewells that will suffice depending on your craft, buyt as I said you may want to try a few tournaments before spending a whole bunch of money first.

3. LOTS of other local circuits....BASS, FLW, BFL, MCBF Classic Series, GNT, ABA, NBAA, etc etc etc....you get the idea. All of them will require an annual fee for joining the organization, plus additional fees per tournament (entry/launch/gas/etc). Do a few searches on the internet about bass tournament fishing to get a better idea of all that is involved before (once again) you spend alot of money only to find out you dont like it. Also try to determine where your annula membership fee is going....the MCBF and BASS are leading the pack in supporting enviromental and governmental issues dealing with the outdoors and our waterways AND with teaching the youth of America the value of fishing and the outdoors.

Hope this helps!

Mini
 

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gotanewboat,

there are a few clubs you could check out if you want to fish a layed back team event with your wife. which i think is excellent.

NBAA has many local circuits including a tuesday, saturday and sunday lake st clair tournament.

they also have a wednesday night inland lake tournament trail.

the aba is a draw format. basically like the bfl with only about 20 boats and much less money. but you cant fish with your wife without drawing her. which wouldnt be uncommon with only 20 boats. it happens all the time. but it is a good basis to get the feel of a draw style trail without spending as much money.

the michigan bass federation is cool too. honestly, i wouldnt join that if you are just getting into tournamets. but that would be for you to decide. but generally you would be up against alot of teams who really know what they are doing. im not knocking the org in any way, it is great. but for a first year tourney angler you might want to start off a little smaller.

depending on what county you are in, there are so many options for weekend or even weeknight team tournaments to get your feet wet in.

i personally started off in the nbaa and also fished bunch of opens put on by different clubs. the opens are good because you can get a good feel for the club and how they operate or what type of fisherman are in them.

do a little exploring and you will find that your options are almost unlimited as to what and who you can fish.

i hope this helps and i hope to see you out on the water.
tournament fishing can be very rewarding. i am confident you will enjoy yourselves.

madman himself
 

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i almost forgot.

2 of the main things i took into consideration when choosing what i wanted to fish were travel time and money.

if you join a club that has you running all over the place to fish, it might not be a good idea. unless you have time on your hands, this can become a hindrence(sp?)!

also, if the entry fees are expensive, you might want to consider another option. unless you have the cash, dont put yourself out.

also remember that if you fish as a co angler there is an unwritten law about paying your boater a courtesy fee for covering gas and useage of the boat. ther is no set minimum on the amount......but it usually starts at $20 and goes up depending on the day.

remember this tho, no one in town is going to take you out fishing for 8 hours and charge you less than $150.00. unless you know something i dont, in which case, please get ahold of me


madman himself
 

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Let me clarify something here....the Michigan Chapter of BASS Federation has many different clubs all over the state. Most of the clubs hold there own tournaments that will qualify people from that club to fish in the State Championship for a chance to make the 12 person team. This twelve person team will represent Michigan at the Northern Divisional and fish against the other States in the Region. By finishing the highest from your State you would qualify to go to the Nationals and represent your State and rRgion there with a chance to eventually fish the BASSMASTERS Classic. You would qualify to fish the Classic if you were the top finisher from your Region at the National tournament.

There is also a tournament circuit that the Federation has that is completely separate from the "Road to the Classic" via the State Championship. This series is called confusingly enough, the "Classic Series". This Classic is not be confused with the BASSMASTER Classic. In this circuit you fish against other teams from around the state that wanted to see fish more tournaments than just at the club level. These tournaments are alot of fun and have some really good fishermen and women.

Getting back to my advice earlier, I suggested that you join a local club and fish their circuit of tournaments to try it out. There are alot of good fisherpeople to learn from AND many newcomers to the sport. A nice mix of learning from a seasoned veteran in a relaxed, low cost format. This was the route I was suggesting. I think madman may have misread or be misinformed on what the Federation is and what tournaments actually take place. Of course you could always jump right into the Classic Series, but I wouldnt recommend it, start at the club level first and work your way up. Sooo:

1. Local Club level qualifies you for:

2. State Championship, finish in the top 12 and qualify for:

3. Regional Tournament, finish the highest from your State and qualify for:

4. National Tournament, finish the highest from your Region and qulaify for:

5. BASSMASTER Classic, win this baby and you will be set for a while! lol

And then there is the Federation Classic Series.....6 tournaments, 3 weekends, team events, top 12 teams go to the Michigan Federation Classic with a chance to win a Ranger/Mercury boat package.

Just want to clarify things a bit....good luck!

Mini
 

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mini,

i was talking about the classic series. i guess i was not specific enough. my fault.

but i was suggesting the same thing you are. starting off in a small local club to get a feel for tournament fishing.

thats all.

madman himself
 

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The suggestions above are solid. Here are a couple of more...

1) I don't think an 11gal livewell is well suited for fishing in the BFL and carrying 2 limits of fish. If you wish to fish the BFL I would suggest first entering as a co-angler for both you and your wife. Fish a couple this way and get the lay of the land and then determine if your interested, ready, and what you need to do fish on the angler side.

2) If you want to fish together. The best way I can suggest would be to fish a weeknight trail. I can't think of any better way to get involved in team tournament fishing then picking a weeknite trail. It is more laid back then the weekends so you will be able to meet more people. The competition is still good but not as stiff as the weekend circuits. The cost is about half. Typical weeknite tournament fee is $60 as oppossed to the $100-$200 weekend trials. There are also more tournaments, meaning more time on the water or flexibility depending on your schedule. And most still offer championship qualifications. I will be fishing the Tuesday night Greater North Tournaments (GNT's) on St. Clair again this next year. Give it a try.
 

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gnb,
I wouldn't worry to much about sticking with one series your first year or so. If you want to fish with your wife as your partner I would suggest jumping around the local tournaments for a season or two to get some experience. Here are a few that offer two person team tournaments in the area.

NBAA - Director Paul Sacks posts regularly on the site. He runs an excellent tournament and you don't have to fish all of them. Like madman said, they run tuesday, saturday and sunday.

Oakland Bass - Director Roy Randolf runs a quality tournament with good payouts and lots of give aways.

Active Anglers - Director John??? runs a tournament series on Erie thats well run.

There are many more and tournament fishing is growing all the time. Later in the year you can check out this forums fishing calendar for open tournaments.

One good thing about fishing the local tournaments is they are one day and you don't have to attend a mandatory meeting the night before like some of the big tournaments. Also, some of them you don't have to pay in advance you just show up in the morning. Or, you wake up to the alarm at 3:30am and hear the rain pounding the window and the 25 mph winds. You didn't pay any money so you can just turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.
 

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Workingman...you actually SLEEP the night before a tourney?!


I have to concur with what everyone else has stated. There are a lot of smaller club and weekly tournaments you can fish before you jump to the BFL. I have personally fished opens and a couple local clubs and the experience you gain is invaluable. If you and your wife would like to fish together (which is AWESOME btw), try a couple of the weeknight team tourneys. I know that there are tourneys on a few of the local inland lakes which could be a good starter, and you aren't dishing out a ton of dough to fish them. I personally fished the TNT tournaments on Belleville Lake this past year (I'm a westsider), and for the $40 it costs per team, it's a good value. I know that there are also weekly tourneys on Lake Orion if you are on that side of town. The biggest bit of advice I would give when it comes to tournament fishing...have fun. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the act of trying to catch fish that you lose sight of why you started fishing in the first place...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I would like to thank everyone who responded to my questions. I never knew that there were so many local tournaments. The BFL idea is out… for now anyway. Locals sound the way to go, probably the GNT and/or the NBAA. I wish you all good luck and look forward to seeing on the water.

All we need now is some open water and an open bass season.
 
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