Big money, memberships and angler buy in options for tournament trails are becoming more popular and prevalent in the tournament angling world. At first glance many are dismissive of these programs as a money grab when in actuality the can pay for themselves many, many times over. The question is, should you consider purchasing memberships and bonus programs for the 2016 Season?
Before we go too much further you should know two schools of thought populate the landscape of kayak tournament fishing. Some anglers are searching for bigger and bigger payouts looking for that giant payday that could pay their bills for a year. Others are just looking for some side action on a Thursday night for some walking around money.
This article isn’t for the Thursday night crowd.
For the angler looking at making some checks with commas in the amount box, the bonus programs and memberships should be in your expenses this year. I know that’s easy to say but let me give you some real life examples.
KBF (Kayak Bass Fishing)has a series of Opens and the National Championship. Membership fees do a lot to support the infrastructure but the payout is always 100% plus. You also get gear when you buy in unlike some trails that just swallow the money like a black hole. Additionally you can buy into Bonus Bucks.
At Toledo Bend in October at a KBF Open the KBF Bonus Bucks Program was introduced. Only one angler had bought into it the first day of the Big Bass Competition. The $100 buy in for the program good through December 31, 2016 turned into an instant $200 the first day for Kimberly Flores.
Barry Davis turned his $100 into $600 throughout the tournament with big fish and overall winner Christopher Anglin cashed in with total winnings of $2400 and an ATAK Prize pack. $1000 of that was because of the Bonus Buck program.
To learn more about the KBF Benefits Programs click here or watch the video below.
KBF isn’t the only one leveraging buy in programs to up the big check amounts. In Texas, the Kayak Angler’s Tournament Series (KATS) made a change in 2015. The KATS Advantage Program allows the top placing angler in each event to take home some additional money. How much money?
At KATS Event #1 on Lake Bastrop, 147 anglers battled changing weather conditions and a tough bite. The eventual winner was Cody Prather and his $50 buy in to the KATS Advantage netted him an additional $360. As people buy in to the Advantage Program that amount will go up and more than one angler can capitalize on it. Check out the payout structure for the KATS Advantage Program:
What should you consider when thinking about a membership or additional money program? I’d think about these questions:
Do you want bigger payouts and a chance to cash bigger checks?
Additional buy in programs and memberships allow more money to be put in the pot. When more money is on the line more people show up. When more people show up, sponsors take notice and start to contribute cash and prizes toward the participants. That’s a good thing any way you slice it.
Will you get something in return?
For a membership program it’s always nice to get a hat, some stickers, a t-shirt or some form of recognition. Much like B.A.S.S. and others do, this has become and should be an expectation. For buy in programs that money goes right back to you and sometimes to the tune of 10 times your buy in. Also, once you’ve bought in, many times that buy in carries over throughout the year. If Christopher Anglin fishes more KBF tournaments in 2016, he’s already bought in so the money just keeps multiplying. As more people do the math on Cody Prather’s win at Bastrop, they’ll soon figure out the Advantage buy in from KATS is a good way to turn $50 into a LOT more.
Do you want to see continued growth for bigger tournaments, bigger opportunities and eventually full time pros?
Payouts for the avid tournament angler, those competitive guys out there crushing it weeks in advance, are growing. A few years ago $3,000 was a lot of money for a kayak tournament. Last year the first place finisher at an open won $16,000 with all the qualifying bonuses. This year a guaranteed $25,000 and a possibility of $40,000 will go to one lucky winner. This is getting the attention of companies and even bass boat anglers. I don’t know many people who would scoff at a $25,000 pay day, especially for fishing.
I won’t tell you what to do but you should definitely consider looking at memberships and buy in programs to help grow the sport and your bank account.