Moore, OK – In 2006, the inaugural year for the Bassmaster Elite Series, 10 current Elite Series pros fished both the FLW Tour (six regular season tournaments) and the Elite Series (11 regular season tournaments). Those anglers included Alton Jones, Steve Kennedy, Dean Rojas, Fred Roumbanis, Ish Monroe, Brent Chapman, Dave Smith, John Murray, Tommy Biffle, and Takahiro Omori.
Out of that group, Dean Rojas and Ish Monroe were the only two anglers who fished in both the 2006 FLW Tour Championship and the Bassmaster Classic. With six FLW Tour Majors, 11 Bassmaster Elite Series regular season tournaments, three Bassmaster Majors, the FLW Championship and the Bassmaster Classic, Rojas and Monroe each fished in 22 tour level events in 2006.
Overlapping schedules between the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2007, 2008, and 2009 seasons made pulling double duty unfeasible. In 2010, Ish Monroe, Steve Kennedy, and Dave Smith fished full FLW Tour and Bassmaster Elite Series seasons, but it was a much less rigorous schedule than during the 2006 season. In 2010, the first FLW Tour Major of the season on the Red River was cancelled due to unsafe boating conditions, meaning that the FLW Tour season consisted of five tournaments. With just eight regular season Elite Series tournaments, the three anglers each fished a total of 13 regular season tournaments between the two tours.
Kennedy fished the most tour level events in 2010. He fished two PAA Tournament Series events and also qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup, Bassmaster Classic, and Toyota Texas Bass Classic. In all, Kennedy fished 18 tournaments between the FLW Tour, Bassmaster Elite Series, and PAA Tournament Series.
Monroe has emerged over the past several years as the one angler willing to undertake the demands of fishing both the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series when the schedule allows. In 2011, he fished three FLW Tour Majors and three FLW Tour Opens along with a full Elite Series schedule. In 2012, he fished in four FLW Tour Majors and one FLW Tour Open in addition to the Elite Series.
For the first time since 2010, the upcoming 2013 season doesn’t feature any overlapping tournaments between the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series. In October, Ish Monroe announced that he is planning on fishing both the FLW Tour and the Elite Series this upcoming season. He’ll employ a two boat strategy, using his recognizable Cocoon’s wrap while fishing on the Elite Series and introducing a River2Sea wrap for the FLW Tour events.
While the number of anglers who will attempt to fish both tours in 2013 isn’t set, Oklahoma’s Fred Roumbanis recently announced that he will also fish the FLW Tour in 2013 in addition to the Elite Series. Roumbanis earned an invitation to fish the 2013 FLW Tour with a 50th place finish in the 2012 FLW Tour Open AOY standings.
“I really feel like fishing both tours this year is a great opportunity for me,” said Roumbanis. “I have trained my whole life to fish tournaments, so I’m not really that worried about the tournaments that are back-to-back.”