BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Registration is now open for B.A.S.S. members who are interested in serving as marshals for the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series, including the Bassmaster Classic heading for Knoxville in March.
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 four 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.
The marshal experience appeals to those from all walks of life. But since it allows people to gather tips and tricks, it obviously appeals most to serious bass fishermen.
“I marshaled for the first time about five years ago — just one tournament — because B.A.S.S. was holding an event in the western part of the United States, and it was something I had been wanting to do,” said Rick Moore, a retired California resident who fishes more than 100 days a year. “Since then I’ve just done it more and more, and now I think I’m scheduled to marshal seven events this coming year. It’s just become one of my hobbies.”
Moore said he expects to learn something on every trip.
“I’ve fished events in the past as a co-angler, and to me, marshaling is just a better experience,” he said. “The anglers are more relaxed and honest with you when you’re not fishing — and you can pay better attention to everything they’re doing when you’re not worried about putting fish in the boat yourself.”
Marshal spots are available for eight of the nine regular-season Elite Series events for $150. The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department doesn’t include marshals; instead, judges are recruited to assist with the catch/weigh/release scoring process in that Elite event. Marshals also are invited to participate in the postseason event — Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in September at a site to be announced, and the 2019 Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods March 15-17 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Every marshal is guaranteed to be on the water for the first two competition days. As the Elite Series field is cut to 20 for the semifinal day and 10 on Championship Sunday, marshals are selected for those bonus days based on their blogging and photography in the preliminary rounds.
Bass fishing fans who want to spend time on the water with a pro can register on the Elite Series page at Bassmaster.com or by phone at (877) BASS-USA.