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BFL - As a Co-Angler


JF660R

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So, in reading the thread about MLF vs FLW (and watching Scott Martin) talk about it... I got to reading about the BFL, and I'm pretty intrigued. 

I've never really followed the different tour setups, basically always considered them to be too expensive and far away for me. 

I only just read and realized the BFL is divided into divisions, with 5 stops in the Ozark division. And $150 a pop to co-angle. All within driving distance.

That, for me is really do-able. I've only ever done some club style buddy tourneys, and the BBT on Table Rock. Both of which I really enjoy and would do more if I had a buddy that wanted to consistently participate. 

I'm drawn to the amateur option because of the affordability, no wear on my boat, and... I'm just not that good. 

So, all that said, I checked out the FLW Facebook page and the 2019 BFL post comments are almost all complaints...

About the entry fees, how rude the boaters are, payouts, etc...

Now I'm not sure what to think. I mean 5 stops is $750 (plus food etc. I get that) not terrible. I'm not in it with big expectations of winning so the payout deal doesn't really bother me. Really just thinking it would be a fun experience. 

Am I wrong? Are a large portion of the Pros hard to spend a day with? 

 

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I have no idea, but why sign up to be someone’s unwanted drag along? The pro is gonna high hole and have you swinging in the breeze mostly. Maybe you can learn something, but would rather hire a guide or find a mentor.

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Not at all, but fishing the BFL is not Elite or Full Time FLW touring pro's.  Most often these are guys fishing in the front of the boat that are everyday guys that own companies and businesses or guys that save vacation.  ie they are just like you.  I will tell you they are not worried about travel expenses or entry fees, and if you are, you really need to rethink your position.

This is money that is not important to them.  If you need it for other things or are worried about it, don't do it.  I always tell folks when booking guide trips if my price sounds like to much for you, IT IS.   Don't do it.

Same things apply when fishing tournaments. This is a game, no different than softball or golf, you are not going to the Elite Series or the new MFL series no matter what you do.  You can do FLW or BLF as that is all about the green, and if you can afford it you can do it.

Remember this, for the most part the guy in the front of the boat unless this is his home water, or he has fished it multiple times knows exactly squat about anything, or really he knows just what you know but has ponyed up the bucks to fish the front.

If you get the chance to fish with the Elite guys it is always a plus, but most times on the BFL it is just the Jimmy and Joe's

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46 minutes ago, Bill Babler said:

  I will tell you they are not worried about travel expenses or entry fees, and if you are, you really need to rethink your position.

This is money that is not important to them.  If you need it for other things or are worried about it, don't do it. 

 

It's funny you mention that, because several of the FB comments were about the boater wanting the co to kick them some cash for fuel and whatever. ... I mean it's not like I can't afford some extra cash for fuel, it's just strange to me...like isn't that part of you choosing to be the boater? 

But to your point yes, doing it as a Co really wouldn't be any financial burden. Which is why I'm considering it. Doing it as a boater would however take a lot of the fun out for me just from the additional expense. 

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It would be common courtesy to offer to chip in for expenses  if someone is using their equipment to cart you around w/o getting paid for it. Gas money, food cost, bring lunch & beer, buy dinner, etc.

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In a pro-am format there should be no boater expectations for cost share of fuel. If you catch a ton and eat/drink from his cooler, by all means offer up. Courtesy is the rule, if they expect $ they shouldn’t be there either. 

I never asked or expected and typically refused any $ as a “boater” “pro” or whatever. Including head to head. Buddy tournament stuff needs to share if anywhere  

fishing from a boat on a reservoir for bass ain’t cheap  

 

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I guess many would see it that way. 

Like two buddies would when fishing recreationally, or fishing a buddy tournament.

But in this instance you're not buddies, you don't split entry fees, or winnings, and you're not getting carted around. He's required to have a co, can't fish without one...

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Here are a few tips to help make you a "likeable" co-angler....

Keep your stuff tidy and not littering the floor/seats/deck of the boat. Wads of line, torn up plastics, half empty water bottles ect.....Shove them in a pocket, quietly chew them up and swallow them, or whatever.

When you notice that your boater is ready to make a move, reel in, get your pfd on, and sit yo'posterior down with a quickness. Don't fiddle-dick around and make him wait on you. 

Don't piss and moan, heavy sigh, or get otherwise emotional about backlashes, snags, missed bites, lost fish, or poorly placed casts.  Just deal with it quietly.  Having someone behind you that is frustrated or having a bad day is incredibly distracting. Anything that comes out of your mouth should have a positive tone attached to it.

If you pause for a drink or a bite to eat, say something like  "I'm gonna get a drink, can I get you anything?"

Save all the questions about jig trailers, line, that weird knot he was tying, and other gear and techniques for after the weigh-in.   

Concentration is important.  Keep in mind that odds are he'd rather be alone in the boat, so try to make your presence an asset if at all possible.  

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8 hours ago, Gavin said:

It would be common courtesy to offer to chip in for expenses  if someone is using their equipment to cart you around w/o getting paid for it. Gas money, food cost, bring lunch & beer, buy dinner, etc.

Exactly right, in my opinion. I never wanted and seldom took any money but I silently expected at least an offer. As you said, common courtesy. 

I’ve had careless co’s rip seats, spill beverages and even damage engine cowlings without even offering to pay for what they tore up. This is part of the reason for the present popularity of solo pro events. 

On the other hand, I enjoyed practically every co that I ever fished with over the years. I helped quite a few of them make a check, as Bill will attest. Had one win the BFL event on TR just a few years ago.

But not every boater is like that and there are more than a few who have more money than fishing ability and probably won’t get you within a country mile of a decent fish all day. Others drive their boats with wanton disregard for the lives of everyone on the lake, especially their co-angler. 

Can’t recommend it as worthwhile.

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26 minutes ago, Champ188 said:

 

I’ve had careless co’s rip seats, spill beverages and even damage engine cowlings without even offering to pay for what they tore up. This is part of the reason for the present popularity of solo pro events. 

 

Yeah man, sorry about the pint of Jack Daniels I spilled on the carpet, and it is unfortunate that some of it got in the livewell and killed those nice bass you had caught.  And I just plumb forgot I had set that lit cigar on your engine cowling, you'd think Mercury would make them out of plastic that was a little more heat resistant, hard to blame me for that one.  And the experiment with me wearing golf spikes for shoes (I had hoped they would help me 'dig in' for a hook set), apparently caused some damage to your boat carpet, but c'mon dude, that carpet was getting a bit ratty looking.

Next time I promise to be more considerate of your boat, and I'll bring $20 to help out.

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