Format changes coming to FFCBC


Some big changes are coming to the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.
Anglers will not notice most of the changes until Day 3 of the tournament, when things really begin to pick up.
On Day 3, anglers will leave in flights based on their overall ranking over the first two days of the tournament.
Like in past years, competitors will draw a random flight order prior to the tournament, leave in that order on Day 1, and then leave in reverse order on Day 2.
Day 3 will see anglers earn daily prizes from within their flight of 40.
For example, teams ranked first through 40th leave in a “championship flight,” where the top 15 teams will split $66,450, an increase of $3,500 over the payout for the top 15 teams last year.
The winning team will still earn a $20,000 prize.
Meanwhile, teams in the second flight of the third day will battle for $12,800, where the top six teams will earn prizes based on their performance on the day. The top team in the flight will take $5,000 of that.
In a release, incoming FFCBC chairman Gord Watson noted that teams in that flight could traditionally have only earned up to $1,000, so they now have an incentive to keep fishing hard if a rough day earlier in the tournament had sunk their championship hopes.
Similarly, teams in the third flight will compete for a $9,000 pot, where the top team will cash a $2,500 cheque.
Watson explained that these teams previously had little to work for on the third day, save for a big catch or big fish award.
This year’s Day 3 big fish will net a team $750.
Daily prizes for big fish and top three catches for Day 1 and Day 2, meanwhile will amount to $4,500 each day, double what it had been in previous years.
All prize board figures, with total $102,000, are based on a full lineup of 120 teams.
“On Day Three all anglers compete in their respective ‘weight classes’ in this format,” Watson observed in the release.
“All anglers are in the game, albeit a new game, until the end. This structure will require a different angling strategy than conventional payout tournament.”
Another Day 3 change is that the championship flight will leave the earliest and return the latest, hitting the water at 7 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m.
The second flight will leave at 7:30 and return at 4 p.m., while the third flight will leave at 8 a.m. and come back at 3:30 p.m.
The change was made to reward the top anglers with more time on the water, which is compensated for by having anglers in each flight compete against only themselves, not the rest of the field, on Day 3.
Outgoing chairman Tom Fry likened the new format to a golf tournament, where a levelling-out of ability tends to happen.
“The amateurs invested the majority of the prize money and the pros traditionally took it home,” Fry said in the release.
“What we have in this new format is a leveling of the playing field not unlike what happens in golf, where golfers tend to play within their own skill level or if they don’t, they have a handicap to compensate for their lesser abilities.
“At the end of the first two days anglers are ranked into three levels and then fish against their level of competitiveness on the final day,” continued Fry.
“Everyone has a chance to win money on the final day and the most proficient still have an opportunity for the big money.”
The changes were made after Watson received suggestions from anglers of all skill levels.
He believes that the adjustments should satisfy all of the concerned groups,
“The anglers who finished at or near the top wanted the prizes at the top to be increased,” said Watson in the release.
“Teams in the middle of the pack wanted to increase the number of spots paid out.
“And the bottom third need a reason to compete if they had one bad day.”
The FFCBC board also hopes that the changes bring about in increase in area anglers, some of whom have already weighed in positively.
“It’s almost a game of chess on the water. I really like it,” enthused three-time champion Dave Lindsay.
“It’s a little more than just fishing. It’s going to really force the good anglers to think strategically.”
“I hope everyone gets into this as it will make each day exciting for anglers of all levels,” added Frank McClymont.
“For those who may have felt the playing field hasn’t been level, this will level things out.
“Yes, we will still want to do our best on Days One and Two, but we better have a solid Day Three plan,” he concluded.
Registration for this year’s tournament is open, and is based on a “first-paid, first-in” basis.
Registration costs $1,000 per team, and each entry must be paid in full by Apr. 30, 2011.
A $250 non-refundable deposit must be paid at the time of registration.
Complete details and the prize board is available at
Meanwhile, full rule changes for the 2011 tournament are planned to be posted by the end of the week.