BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Bass fishing enthusiasts who want to learn from the world’s best anglers while exploring legendary fisheries will soon be able to register as marshals for the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series.
Bassmaster Elite Series marshals, like Crystal McAllister shown with Elite Series pro Patrick Walters on the St. Lawrence River, ride along with the pros in competition, learn tips for breaking down a fishery and may file blog posts and photos. Photo by Crystal McAllister
“Being able to see how the top pros fish a body of water you may fish frequently or may fish in a future tournament is absolutely invaluable,” said Rick Moore, a retired California resident who has served as a marshal in 22 B.A.S.S. events. “The enthusiasm among the 2019 Elite pros was great, and their connection and interaction with marshals was exceptional!
“I have been able to see many of the new bait prototypes, learn new techniques and receive personal tips from the Elite pros at many tournaments. As a marshal, the pros will be candid about what and why they are fishing a certain way. I can’t count the number of times a pro has had me join him on the front deck to show how he was interpreting his graphs or reading the movements of a bedding fish.”
The marshal program, created by B.A.S.S. in 2009 as a way to attract observers who would ride along with the pros, allows people to spend two to three days on the water with some of the best professional anglers in the sport. Marshals are not allowed to fish, but they are encouraged to take photos, send blog posts to Bassmaster.com and serve as an extra set of eyes for B.A.S.S. tournament officials, making sure all rules are observed. Additionally, marshals operate the digital BASSTrakk scoring system that enables fans to follow the action in real time.
For Moore, both enforcing the rules and chronicling the tournament are part of the benefit of serving as a marshal.
“I enjoyed the responsibility of being the ‘eyes and ears’ on the water,” said Moore. “B.A.S.S. has a long history of big bass tournaments, and being able to do my part to assist with ensuring the sanctity of the event has been a welcomed challenge.”
Marshal spots are available for eight regular-season Elite Series events for just $99 per tournament. The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department does not include marshals; instead, judges assist with the catch-weigh-release scoring process in that event. Marshals also are invited to participate in the 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk March 6-8 on Lake Guntersville, Ala.
As part of the program, at every tournament participants will enjoy an exclusive dinner and a meet-and-greet with all of the Elite anglers as well as receive official Bassmaster marshal apparel and products from tournament sponsors. Every marshal is guaranteed to be on the water for the first two competition days. As the Elite Series field is cut to 40 for the semifinal day, marshals are chosen based on how early they register for the event as well as their blogging and photography in the preliminary rounds.
“Just sitting in the boat would make for a long day without photographing the tournament, skyping with the TV team during live coverage and helping with Bassmaster Media content,” Moore said. “And many of my photos have also been used by the pros for their social media content.”
The marshal experience appeals to those from all walks of life and anyone ready to gather tips and tricks from seasoned fishermen.
“From the first morning with your angler to behind the stage with the winner on the final day, a lot of inside stories develop that you would never know as a strict observer,” Moore said. “It takes the serious bass fisherman to a different level as a fan.”
Registration for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members opens on Dec. 3 and on Dec. 10 for all other B.A.S.S. members. To learn more and register for the Elite Series marshal program, visit Bassmaster.com or register by phone at (877) BASS-USA.
2020 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule:
Feb. 6-9, St. Johns River, Palatka, Fla.
Feb. 14-17, Chickamauga Lake, Dayton, Tenn.
March 6-8, Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, Lake Guntersville, Birmingham, Ala.
April 2-5, Lake Eufaula, Eufaula, Ala.
April 16-19, Santee Cooper Lakes, Manning, S.C.
May 29-June 1, Sabine River, Orange, Texas
June 5-9, Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lake Fork, Quitman, Texas
July 23-26, St. Lawrence River, Waddington, N.Y.
July 30-Aug. 2, Lake Champlain, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Aug. 13-16, Elite makeup date
Aug. 20-23, Lake St. Clair, Macomb County, Mich.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.