Looking over the tour-level events for the 2015 season on both major tours, the FLW and the Bassmaster Elite Series, there are some excellent locations to be sure. Some are old standbys (like the entire FLW schedule), and some that should be interesting (Sturgeon Bay in September and the Sacramento River in late April and early May peak my interest). However, only one event is a standout to me, Lake Havasu.
Havasu borders both California and Arizona. It's fairly close to Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix, AZ, and San Bernardino, CA. Frankly, it is not the choice most bass tournament fans think of when it comes to hotspots. Unless of course you're from the southwestern portion of the United States.
The 2015 Havasu stop will mark the first time the Elite Series has come to the lake and the state. B.A.S.S. has been there previously, over a decade ago, but not with their premier product.
|Photo by: Joel Shangle|
So, why is it such a bold choice? For me, it stands out as one of those locations folks don't expect to see. It isn't a household name of locations anglers want to fish. By now, the Great Lakes are well known for the amazing smallmouth bass fishing they offer. So, even though the Sturgeon Bay, Lake St. Clair and Waddington events on the Elite schedule will likely be amazing, they just are not particularly original anymore. Not complaining, just giving opinion.
The FLW Tour's schedule has zero in it that is adventurous. Let me be frank. They haven't stepped out of the box in like, forever. More on that at another time. Suffice it to say, the easy, safe choices are what is generally expected and delivered from the folks out of Benton, KY.
The Havasu event is the type of stop that is necessary to maintain and grow the sport of competitive bass fishing. Sure, you need to play to your base. The old faves, Toho, Potomac River, somewhere along the Great Lakes, Guntersville, etc., but you need outreach to the rest of the bass world as well, if you want your business to excel and grow. Heck, even if you stick to the same states, try a different lake.
Anyway, for me, Havasu is the shining gem of the combined 2015 tour schedules. It may not be a slug-fest. Maybe the crowds won't show or the anglers could bitch like they did in Philadelphia this year. Who knows? Who cares? You want a little spice in your tournament schedule and Havasu is the cayenne pepper this season. Zingy and a little different. Now if only the FLW Tour will put away the Wonder Bread and Fluff.