The formation of a new walleye tournament trail was announced Wednesday night, effectively signaling FLW’s exit from the walleye tournament business.
The new trail, called Cabela’s National Walleye Tour, will offer three 2-day tournaments plus an entry-fee 3-day championship event in 2013.
So far, boat companies Ranger Boats, Triton and Stratos – all Fishing Holdings brands – as well as Evinrude have signed on as sponsors and will offer incentives to anglers using their equipment.
The announcement was made, oddly enough, at the rules meeting prior to what will prove to be the final FLW Walleye Tour Championship at the Mississippi River in Quad Cities, Iowa.
FLW’s exit from walleye tournaments fuels speculation that the National Guard has drastically reduced or ended its sponsorship presence with FLW as it had served as the title sponsor for the Walleye Tour the last 2 years. It also adds to the list of cutbacks FLW has made for 2013, which already included elimination of the Tour Opens and EverStart Series Championship on the bass side.
At its height, FLW’s walleye offerings rivaled the tournament options for bass anglers, but the economic downturn in recent years saw the tour level trimmed to four events plus a championship the last 2 seasons.