BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — For the first time, B.A.S.S. members will be offered the exclusive opportunity to ride along with a 2013 Bassmaster Classic angler during actual competition, B.A.S.S. LLC announced today — just in time for the Bassmaster Classic Marshal Program to take top ranking on any angler’s ultimate holiday wish list.
Modeled after the Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal program, the new Classic version will launch in Tulsa, Okla., Feb. 22-24. Those are the dates of the 43rd Bassmaster Classic during which 53 anglers will vie for a first-place prize of $500,000 and the most coveted crown of pro bass fishing.
“B.A.S.S. is pleased to offer the marshal experience at the highest level of professional bass fishing. Classic week is as exciting as it gets in this great sport of ours,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon.
As a thank you to the host state of Oklahoma, B.A.S.S. will provide priority marshal registration to members of the Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Nation from Dec. 11-13. Then, on Bassmaster.com at 9 a.m. on Dec. 18, registration will open to all B.A.S.S. members. The cost is $350, which includes a special Bassmaster Classic marshal uniform, as well as a minimum of two days on the water having fun and learning from the techniques and tactics of a Classic qualifier.
But marshals do more than sit and watch. They actually become part of the event (although, of course, they aren’t allowed to fish or to offer a competitor any type of help or advice). A marshal’s first assignment is to be the angler’s official observer. That fact alone gives the marshal a view of the action and a perspective on the competition that a fan could not find in any other way.
Not to mention that a marshal gets to climb aboard what, in all probability, will be a state-of-the-art bass boat and meet a Classic competitor. Then the marshal can get into the excitement of waiting for the start of competition, of being next to the Classic angler as he lines up for his take-off time — all the while being close enough to other Classic anglers to observe them, too. When the fishing starts, marshals can expect a front-row seat for what could turn out to be a game-changing hookup (or missed fish).
A marshal also serves as the crucial link in BASSTrakk, Bassmaster’s electronic catch-reporting system that tells fans on shore what’s happening on the water. Every time a Classic angler boats a fish, his marshal will log the catch on the pre-programmed device that’s been issued to him. A few minutes of training are all it takes to learn how to operate the unit, which is much like a cell phone.
Marshals can sign up for the first two days of competition, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23. On the third and final day (Sunday, Feb. 23), when the field is cut in half, marshal opportunities will be offered for available marshal openings on a first-come, first-served basis to those registered marshals.