General Event Information Official Rules Why BassFan Created the Top Gun Tournament


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 story.

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 business?

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 ranking.


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 - Ed..

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.



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