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Lately in the bass fishing industry a lot of focus has been put on the brand new Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and its new format. A lot of you are probably familiar with the new format, but for those who aren’t here’s a quick overview: every bass over 1 pound counts, no 5 fish limit, new conservation-minded penalties are being enforced, and no entry fees. While all of this is well and good, this style of fishing is taking a good bit of focus away from big bass. Most of us bass fisherman grew up on big bass. Whether it be the 5-fish tournaments we are all used to, or just friendly competition between buddies. We all love big fish and who can catch the biggest. This being said, I am not trying to slam MLF, but it is a big change to what we are used to and what we love seeing. MLF has its place and is making big strides at getting a new audience to bass fishing with more live fish catches and giving the viewer more to watch and I commend them for that.

For big bass lovers and newcomers alike, though, I have a tournament trail to share with you that not only has great payouts, but an awesome way to get into tournament bass fishing. The Bass Pro Shops Cabela’s Big Bass Tour is a tournament trail that is cut and dry, set up to make you money. This 3 day tournament works by holding 7 hourly weigh-ins with hourly payouts starting at $1,000 for first prize paying all the way down ten places to $100. It’s simple; catch the single biggest fish you can and weigh it in for your chance to cut a check. The Big Bass Tour also provides a link to a live leaderboard every hour to see how big the fish are that everyone is weighing in so you can know whether to weigh your fish in then, or take a chance and wait it out and hope they don’t catch ‘em as good the next hour.

This format is great for newcomers because all you have to do is catch one good one. You do not have to stress yourself to fill out a 5-fish limit. You could get lucky and catch one by a complete freak chance and still make $1,000, or even better, this year for grand prize they are giving away a brand new Nitro z19 with a Mercury Pro XS 200 valued at $45,000. This format for more experienced bass fisherman is fun too because you can just hunt for one biggin’ all day long each day. Go around and sling your favorite big fish bait until you run into one. It gives such a cool twist to tournament bass fishing and showcases some of the biggest fish your lake has to offer.

This year I got to fish the Smith Mountain Lake stop and had an absolute blast. This tournament allows up to three people per boat so you can just go out and have a good time with your friends and family like I did. At this tournament we had 930 people fish the tournament from 21 different states, but don’t let that number intimidate you. Over $133,000 was given away on top of the $45,000 boat. I ended up cutting a 2nd place finish in the first hour of the tournament, being blessed with a $500 check. If I can do it, so can you! Check out for their tournament schedule and give one a shot!


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