Why BassFan Created
the Top Gun Tournament:
A short Q&A with BassFan CEO Jay Kumar
Why did BassFan
create the Top Gun Championship?
A couple of reasons. One is that we're fans
ourselves, and we wanted to see it. We want to see the best
anglers in the world fish against one another in a tournament,
with no baggage about sponsors, loyalty to a particular tour
or whatever. Just the best going out and fishing. And we heard
from plenty of fans, industry people and pros who want to
see it too.
Another reason we did it is because we want
to report on what happens. That's what BassFan does. We tell
people what happens, and we think this will be an exciting
A final reason is that we've watched the sport
become more and more mired in politics and what I call 'sponsorial
correctness.' We wanted to remind everyone that you can have
a tournament that features the best anglers in the world (and)
that makes everyone happy - fans, sponsors, the anglers, the
tournament organizers, everyone - even though it doesn't have
all these restrictions on it. The anglers can wear what they
want, fish out of their own boats the whole time and the media
coverage will be good.
Incidentally, those are basically the same
reasons we created the Skeeter-sponsored
BassFan Army Weekend Warrior Championship
That's two tournaments. Is BassFan getting into the tournament
Absolutely. This is a championship that tour anglers qualify
for, same as the Classic or the FLW Tour Championship. So
how the anglers do in this championship could affect their
There's been some talk about tour pros having tournaments
with no practice. Will they get practice days in this event?
Yes, two. Two days. Pros will be able to practice Wednesday
the 10th (of August) and Thursday the 11th. And the competition
days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I think it would be interesting to have
a tournament with no practice, especially if it's on a lake
that's new to all or most of the competitors. But this tournament
will be in August in Texas, and we want the guys to have every
chance they can to catch fish.
Practice for the Weekend Warrior Championship is Saturday
the 6th and Sunday the 7th, with Monday and Tuesday competition
days - on the same lake (Eagle Mountain Lake) the Top Gun
pros will be fishing. Is it good to give the Weekend Warrior
competitors first crack at the fish?
It's good logistically, and anyway I think the effect on the
pros will be minimal. Eagle Mountain is a public lake, and
at most 50 guys will fish Weekend Warrior. That's less than
your average local tournament.
The final field will be set after the Bassmaster Classic,
which ends July 31st. Top Gun practice begins August 10th.
That doesn't give the pros much notice. If a pro can't attend,
will BassFan go down the World Rankings list to fill the field?
Yes, but we won't go below 30th in the world. We only want
the best anglers in the world fishing this event.
There won't be any cuts at Top Gun. Why is that?
I pushed for it. I don't like cuts. My opinion is that all
the anglers should fish all the competition days. The points
matter. The big-bass awards matter. The exposure matters.
That's the main reason. But another one is that Top Gun will
have at most 27 anglers, so why cut the field?
There's also an appearance fee, something new to the sport
of bass fishing?
Yeah. We - BassFan - really feel strongly about that one.
This is a premier tournament featuring the premier anglers
in the world. These guys should get paid just to show up.
Track athletes get appearance fees. Why not bass anglers?
It's a concept we'd like to see the major
tournament organizations adopt. BASS does it in the Elite
50s, or at least they did in 2004, but no one has offered
an appearance fee this high before $4,000 plus another $1,000
if the angler is a member of the Professional Anglers Association
There's also no entry fee for Top Gun or Weekend
Warrior -Ed., and we take care of all lodging, food and gas
expenses at the event. So the guys only have to pay their
way there and back. They profit right away just for showing
up and fishing the three competition days. That's the way
it should be.