National Professional Fishing League set for March 2021 Debut

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On the heels of the blockbuster acquisition of Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) by Major League Fishing (MLF), another major fishing tournament league is set to enter the fray.

The National Professional Fishing League Ownership Group promoted a March 2021 launch via a press release on Facebook on October 28th. The announcement drummed up considerable interest (and questions) from the fishing community. The group provided plenty of details, but many will be watching for breaking developments over the coming weeks.

What is the National Professional Fishing League?

According to the press release, the National Professional Fishing League Ownership Group will run under the auspices of Al McCullouch (majority owner). McCullouch will be joined by Brad and Michele Fuller (second majority owners) and Paul Benson (minority owner).

The goal of the league is to “bring simplicity back to professional bass fishing.” Intentions suggest that the league will provide lucrative opportunities to anglers who also hold full-time employment and family obligations. The league is also promoting payouts to one-third of its anglers.

Qualifying for the NPFL

The press release offers very specific details about who will be participants, qualifications, etc.

The league will accept 125 anglers who will sign a two-year contract (with an option available for a third year). Accepted anglers will not be required to re-qualify for the first three years. Contracts will also be non-exclusive, allowing anglers to compete other circuits throughout the year.

To sweeten the pot, the NPFL will not require an entry fee for the National Championship. And for interested anglers, there are also no qualifying requirements. The group has stated that it will select the 125 anglers who present the strongest case for inclusion in the league. The group claims that it will make selection criteria “very transparent” and inform applicants who weren’t selected why such decisions were made.

Want to sign up? The application window for the NPFL is open until the end of November 2019.

There are some (considerable) caveats that interested anglers should be aware of, however.

High Cost, Higher Reward

The National Professional Fishing League’s press release suggests that there will be six qualifying events throughout 2021: two spring, two summer, and two fall.

Each qualifying event will carry a $5,000 entry fee. For those playing at home, that amounts to $30,000 per angler, per year. That also amounts to $625,000 to NPFL per event, and $3,750,000 for the year. This is in addition to the group looking to secure both endemic and non-endemic sponsorship.

The silver lining? The proposed payouts are pretty substantial! Even better, the top 44-placers in each event will take home at least $9,000.

The payouts for all six qualifying events are as follows:

  • 1st: $50,000
  • 2nd: $30,000
  • 3rd: $20,000
  • 4th: $15,000
  • 5th: $14,000
  • 6th-25th: $10,000
  • 26th-44th: $9,000

The stakes get even higher for the National Championship. The culminating event will be a three-day, one-lake showdown with the highest combined weight taking home a hefty grand prize. The top 25 places in the field will leave with at least $5,000.

The NPFL National Championship payouts are as follows:

  • 1st: $50,000
  • 2nd: $30,000
  • 3rd: $20,000
  • 4th: $18,000
  • 5th: $14,000
  • 6th: 12,000
  • 7th: $10,000
  • 8th: $8,000
  • 9th: $7,000
  • 10th: $6,000
  • 11th-25th: $5,000

An Ambitious Vision

For the ownership group, the NPFL will ideally be more than a one-off trail. The press release claims some ambitious future goals.

Our goal is to build an enduring tour with the anglers and their families at the forefront. Our sponsorship goals go deeper than dollars. We are striving for partners that share our values and our passion for the outdoors. – National Professional Fishing League/Facebook

The league hopes to pay out one of two anglers by the 2023 season. More impressive are the projected payouts, which include:

  • $100,000 to each qualifying event winner
  • $100,000 to the Angler of the Year (as determined by points)
  • $500,000 to the NPFL National Championship winner

Finalized rules are expected near the start of November. For those interested in registering for the league or obtaining more information, you can contact the owners by phone.

  • Al McCullough: 314-853-0353
  • Brad Fuller: 850-496-3348

What are your thoughts on this exciting new pro fishing league? Let us know in the comments section below.

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