The advent of Major League Fishing is interwoven between two professional groups of people – anglers and broadcasters - each with a similar goal: Present the sport of competitive professional bass fishing in a way that the viewing public has never seen it.
Professional bass angler Boyd Duckett and a few of his fellow competitors toyed for years with many concepts and ideas. However, the idea to create a new television product didn’t surface until the summer of 2009. That’s when a coalition of the world’s best anglers came together to discuss the future of their sport.
The anglers’ initial meeting started with a group of 14. Along with Duckett, the angler focus group included bass fishing household names such as Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese, Gary Klein, Alton Jones, Denny Brauer and many more. Every recent Bassmaster Classic champion and Bassmaster Angler of the Year was among this group.
The anglers conceived the idea that the tournament format needed to be specialized and something very different. A new tournament format was needed that would capture the imagination of fishing fans and sports fans in general. Among other exciting aspects of their format, the anglers envisioned surprise venues, no practice days, a real-time leader board in each boat, no limits on the number of fish weighed and time-based deadlines and weight-based cut lines.
The angler group thought it would take several years to find a suitable outlet for their competition format. In less than a year, the Outdoor Channel stepped into the game. Hungry for some fishing programming that was new and fresh, the puzzle pieces quickly began to drop in place.
The first Major League Fishing event was filmed at Lake Amistad, Texas, in 2011 and aired on the Outdoor Channel in 2012. It featured the original 14 anglers plus 10 other top competitors who became known as the Cup Anglers. An instant success, the competition grew the next year to include two Cup competitions, and in 2013 to include 24 more top anglers competing in two additional events deemed the Selects.
Major League Fishing is the top-rated show on the Outdoor Channel and showcases 50 of the world’s top bass anglers through five televised competitions and two major league lessons shows on the Outdoor Channel.