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Top Professional Bass Fishing Tournaments and Payouts

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Fishing professionally is no easy task and carries with it no guarantees. This career path can be just as challenging, if not more, than any other.

Professional bass fishing ranks at the top of my list of dream careers without a doubt. The thought of getting paid large sums of money to fish tournaments around the country gets me all fuzzy inside. However, fishing professionally is no easy task and carries with it no guarantees. This career path can be just as challenging, if not more, than any other. 

For those professional fishermen who have mastered the skill, the rewards can be plentiful. Successful bass fishermen are showered with major endorsement deals and contracts much like professional football, baseball and basketball players. Fishing tackle companies are willing to dish out millions of dollars to have the top bass fishermen endorse their products. The path to reaching these giant endorsements is a long and rough one, traveling through several major tournament trails each year. Anglers from around the world battle each other each week in head to head to competition to determine who is the best bass fishermen on the tour. These tournaments offer huge rewards in the form of cash payouts, new boats, new vehicles and loads of new tackle. Here's a look at the Top Professional Bass Fishing Tournaments for 2011 and their respective prize packages.

Bassmaster Classic

Bassmaster Classic - $500,000

The grandaddy of all bass tournaments is the Bassmaster Classic. 2011 was the 41st year for the sports most prestigious event. The 2011 Bassmaster Classic took place on the Louisiana Delta in Feburary, and matched the top 50 Bass fishermen in the country against one another. After 3 grueling days of fishing competition, this years Bassmaster Classic was won by Kevin Van Dam. The 2011 Bassmaster Classic Championship was Van Dam's fourth of his career, tying the all time record held by Rick Clunn. The $500,000 top prize pushed Van Dam's career tournament earnings over $5 million, making him the all time leader in cash earnings from professional bass fishing tournaments.

2011 Bassmaster Classic

   2011 Bassmaster Classic Champion Kevin Van Dam 

The Bassmaster Classic may be the most prestigious of all professional bass fishing tournaments, but it's not the richest. That title belongs to the FLW Outdoors Forest Wood Cup, the largest tournament of the Walmart FLW Outdoors tournament series each year.

FLW Outdoors

Walmart FLW Outdoors Forrest Wood Cup - $600,000

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of nearly 200 tournaments each year. The most lucrative of these tournaments is the Forrest Wood Cup, which features a $500,000 top prize from FLW along with a $100,000 top prize from Ranger Boats, making for an overall payout of $600,000 to the winner. The 2007 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita (Arkansas) featured the all time largest top prize for a professional bass fishing tournament at $1 Million. That prize went to Scott Suggs of Bryant, Arkansas.

2007 Forrest Wood Cup

The 2011 Forrest Wood Cup is set for August 11-14 on Lake Ouachita in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The tournament will feature the top 58 professional bass fishermen on the 2011 FLW Tour. For more information on this year's tournament click here.

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Posted on Mar 20, 2011

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Jeff Jenkins

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