FLW announced Thursday its planned enhancements and key changes for the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season. Among the major changes are the additions of two fall FLW Tour Invitational tournaments and changes to Rule No. 19 to now allow competitors to fish in their own wrapped boats on all four days of FLW Tour competition.
Key points from the recently updated rules:
Fall FLW Tour Invitationals
Two fall FLW Tour Invitational tournaments will be held after the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup at locations yet to be announced. The tournaments will feature a three-day format and a 125-boat pro field (no co-anglers) with a $4,000 entry fee. The field will consist of the top 100 professionals and top five co-anglers from the 2016 FLW Tour Angler of the Year and Co-angler of the Year standings, respectively, along with the top four pros from the Angler of the Year standings in each of the five 2015 Rayovac FLW Series divisions. Co-anglers accepting invitations to compete in the Invitational tournaments will compete as pros. The winner of each Invitational will receive a top prize of $100,000 cash along with automatic qualification into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup.
Angler Boats, Boat Wrap Exclusivity, Jersey Exclusivity
Also new for 2016, pros will use their own boats on every day of competition. Sponsor exclusivity for boat wraps will no longer exist, and the list of FLW exclusive categories for logo display on jerseys during the final two days of competition has been reduced from nine to five.
Co-angler of the Year Payout
Instead of advancing to the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup, top co-anglers will now receive a Co-angler of the Year payout through 10th place, with first place receiving a Ranger Z518C with a 200-hp Mercury or Evinrude utboard and 10th place earning $4,000. The top five co-anglers will also have the opportunity to compete as pros in the new Invitationals to punch their ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup.
Payouts and Entry Fees
The top prize at the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup will be $300,000 with the rest of the payouts remaining the same as 2015. FLW Tour pro entry fees will increase $200 per event, for total entry fees of $27,000 for the six regular-season events. These changes allow FLW to continue offering professional bass fishing’s best overall payouts for the lowest overall investment while providing a much more open platform for anglers to promote themselves.
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