Any new walleye tournament announcement begs questions, and Cabela’s National Walleye Tour spokesman Bart Schad said, “First and foremost, we wanted to create a credible tournament organization that treats all anglers and the products they represent fairly.”

Schad, also the Vice President of Marketing of Fishing Holdings, owner of Ranger, Stratos and Triton boat companies said, “Our focus is on running great events. We don’t intend to hit people over the heads with product. The top anglers will receive the TV time, no matter what boat they drive or which sponsors appear on their shirts.” That message is being conveyed to members of the prestigious National Professional Anglers Association. The CNWT is the latest industry organization to join the NPAA, whose members are leaders in the tournament fishing world with a goal of preserving and growing the sport of fishing.

“We felt like this was a great opportunity to build on a long and impressive track record built by FLW Outdoors with their Walleye Tour. They’ve been supportive of the new CNWT and the transition so far has been seamless,” said Schad. “It’s important to make sure a pro-am tour schedule, especially at this level, will continue to be an option for anglers. And the feedback we’ve received so far has been outstanding. We’re excited to get started and look forward to a big year.”

For instance, the three qualifying tournaments have been reduced to two days, with all competitors fishing both days. The championship is open to all anglers who fish the first three events and points leaders. Anglers will pay a championship entry fee.

Payouts exceed 100-percent of entry fees. Based on 125 boats at $1,500, the total payout is set at $236,000. This includes a $42,000 boat and $15,000 cash for first, with contingencies that could push this to $75,000. Second is $20,000, with 31st (1 in 4 get a check) paying $3,000. Contingencies from Ranger, Triton, Stratos and Evinrude will add to the payouts.

He said, “The schedule and sites may be modified based on other tournaments. We are listening to our customers, but the original plan was the Mississippi River at Red Wing, MN in April; Lake Erie at Port Clinton, Ohio, in June; and the Bay of Green Bay at Sturgeon Bay, WI, in July. The championship has been slated for Devils Lake, ND in September.”

A 13-week TV series will be shot and aired on NBC Sports, the Pursuit Channel and the Lucas Oil Network – MAV-TV. “We want to do our job right, knowing a rising tide will lift all boat companies. This national media is important to our mission,” he said. “The multi-species boat market is important to us, and of course we hope to sell more of our brands, but want the potential players to know that all boat brands can compete; there are no logo restrictions.” Information is being added to www.nationalwalleyetour.com.

Logo courtesy National Professional Anglers Association

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