The Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) and The Bass Federation (TBF) have been partners since the formation of the ACA. Since its inception, the organization has grown to serve thousands of collegiate anglers with the nation’s largest collegiate fishing events, dedicated television coverage, and a variety of contingency and benefit programs designed for students. These programs continue to grow, and 2012 could be a big year for students who fish ACA events as registered members of The Bass Federation.
First and foremost, if the winning team of the 2012 BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship has both members registered as current TBF members, that team will move on to the TBF Federation National Championship as a boater and a non-boater, which is only the beginning. The TBF Federation National Championship is a NO ENTRY FEE tournament, presented by the National Guard, with a payout of nearly a quarter of a million dollars in cash and prizes, including the Living the Dream prize package. That package alone could change an anglers life, with an essentially no cost opportunity to compete on the FLW Tour for the season with a fully rigged Ranger Boat, Chevy Truck, and paid entry fees and travel stipends. The winning boater and non-boater from this event also earn an automatic berth into the Forrest Wood Cup, another NO ENTRY FEE event, and the pinnacle of bass fishing, with a payout of over two million dollars. Last but certainly not least, winning the Federation National Championship also secures an automatic berth into the Walmart Bass Fishing League All American Tournament and another shot at a one million dollar purse, again at no cost to the angler.
According to ACA Program Director Danny Blandford, “I think this is one of the most lucrative programs out there for collegiate anglers, and I want to encourage our participants to take the time to understand it and participate. An angler can fish our BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship for no charge, pick up a $35 TBF membership which includes an FLW membership, and become eligible for a life changing opportunity. Given, the fish have to cooperate, and the anglers have to catch them, but that $35 can be parlayed into chances to compete for over 3.25 million dollars in cash and prizes, national exposure, and a chance to compete as a professional bass fisherman as part of the Living the Dream Package on the FLW Tour. It would be a shame to crown the 2012 BoatU.S. National Champions and have their journey end there on the stage because they didn’t take the time join the TBF prior to the event. Although it is a great honor to win our event, and it has launched careers, the more opportunities these students have to compete in these high-caliber events, the more they can get from the overall experience of college bass fishing. With the help of The Bass Federation, we are building a path for young anglers that lead them from high school to the big leagues, and the ACA is proud to be a part of this progression.”
Obviously the biggest benefit is to the winners, should they be TBF members, but those who join and don’t win the BoatU.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship still stand to gain from this partnership. The $35 TBF membership offered through the ACA does several things for the students:
- Makes them eligible to compete in National Guard FLW College Fishing events, which are sanctioned for ACA School of the Year points
- Provides the added FLW membership benefits of the FLW Outdoors Magazine and priority TBF eligibility to compete in BFL events
- Allows access to full benefits of the TBF, including the TBF member-only discount store, weekly e-newsletters, club websites, and access to the Faculty of Fishing in-depth training courses
- Protects the members under TBF’s liability and AD&D insurance coverage, which can be extended to cover club tournaments and officers, should at least six members of the club join the TBF
According to the TBF’s Student Angler Federation (SAF) Program Manager Alex Craw, “As a former collegiate angler and officer of the UT-Chattanooga Mocs Bass Anglers, I can undoubtedly say that the opportunities the TBF and ACA are providing will make 2012 the biggest year in the history of college fishing. You just can’t beat a $35 TBF membership that enables you to fish every FLW College event, plus the ACA bonus for a whole year plus so many more benefits, all for less than half a tank of gas!”