Be a Marshal!

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

We're kicking off another Bassmaster Elite Series season in Florida where two great waters will undoubtedly reveal some not new lures and techniques.

I can't think of a better way to have a front row seat to that action than serving as an Elite Series Marshal.

Now that we've got a few years under our belts with the marshal program, I am more excited about it now than before.

There were skeptics who said no one would want to sit in the back of the boat with a pro and not get a chance to fish. However, I can almost guarantee you that the marshals who have been in the boat with me and other Elite anglers came away feeling it was well worth the $100. I've had guys tell me it was the most rewarding fishing experience they've ever had.

Think about it. The best and quickest way to become a better angler is to spend time with as many different quality anglers as you can. The Elite Series provide marshals with a tremendous learning opportunity and a chance to become friends with these anglers.

I know I have developed some strong friendships with the guys who have served as my marshals. They've shared some exciting moments with me, whether it's a big fish catch or the heartaches that are also associated with competitive angling.

If you're attending a Florida event I recommend you bring a good quality camera. There's a good chance you will see some giant bass caught and a good camera will capture the action. I've been given some cool photos of me landing fish that were taken by my marshals.

You can ask questions of a pro throughout the day as he fishes under serious competitive conditions without the distraction of trying to catch fish yourself.

We're willing to explain how we analyzed the lake in practice, why we chose to fish one spot rather than another and why we're throwing particular baits. We'll explain what's on the bottom and why the fish are using that particular area.

One day you may be with a guy who is catching fish on crankbaits and the next it may be one who is a top-notch soft plastic lure fisherman. You'll be exposed to a lot of different methods for catching bass under the same set of conditions.

You can ask the same questions to each pro and might get different answers. Of course, you can't discuss those answers you got from another pro during the tournament, but you'll get insight into their philosophies and draw your own conclusions as to what's better for you.

We'll talk about line choice, gear ratios of reels and how we work the rod for various techniques. We'll be as candid as possible because we want you to have a positive experience.

As a marshal, you're providing a great service to us by offering protection and integrity for what we do. We don't cheat and we don't want anybody to think we do. Your presence in our boats helps protect our reputations.

There's still time to register and a few openings remain for the Florida events and others later in the season. I promise, you'll learn more in two days about catching Florida bass during the spring than you will from any other source.

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