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Mike Suchan

Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona will host Bassmaster Classic LIVE.

B.A.S.S. looked into enhancing its LIVE franchise for the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, and one surefire improvement was offering more of a good thing.

Bassmaster Classic LIVE is increasing its coverage to 6 hours each of the three competition days, March 4-6, from 7:30 a.m. CT to 1:30 p.m. CT.

Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona will host the shows from the B.A.S.S. booth at the Classic Outdoors Expo in Tulsa's Cox Business Center.

Davy Hite, the 1999 Classic champion, will serve as guest host, and tournament emcee Dave Mercer will provide reports from around the Expo. There will be variety of guest anglers and celebrities, including Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison.

Out on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, cameras will be in several anglers’ boats to cover their day on the water, and Robbie Floyd will roam the lake providing live reports.

“Last year, the Classic was the first time we ever did LIVE,” Bassmaster producer Mike McKinnis said. “We were kind of feeling our way there. Now we’ve got a whole season under our belts and know the how, where and why.”

LIVE went on to broadcast four hours on the final three days of Elite events in 2015. It was a big hit with fans, who got to witness Aaron Martens turn a struggling day into victory with a 7-pound catch on Chesapeake Bay.

The only downfall during the year was cell signal. The cameras rely on cell service to transmit video, and at times coverage in the far flung reaches of some fisheries was spotty to nonexistent.

Grand Lake has decent cell service in most areas, JM Associates technical director Howard Downs said. He spot checked much of the lake during a live shoot with Edwin Evers’ Healing Heroes Tour last year.

“It was flooded, and when they got up into people’s back yards, up under the trees, the service was a little bit bad,” he said. “But when they were out on the lake, it was good. My worry is if we get any more rain. We’d like the lake to be down to a normal level.”

The lake has receded 12 feet since flooding from a three-day deluge around Christmas and is in its normal range.

Bassmaster Classic LIVE fact sheet

  • March 4-6, 2016
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CT
  • Bassmaster.com
  • Hosted live from the Bassmaster Classic Expo in the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa, Okla.
  • Live Studio analysis with hosts Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona and guest host Davy Hite
  • Dave Mercer with live reports from inside the Bassmaster Classic Expo
  • Robbie Floyd reporting live from Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees
  • Guest anglers and celebrities including Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison
  • Live coverage of the top anglers as they compete for the championship.
  • A full recorded archive of Bassmaster LIVE from the 2016 Bassmaster Classic will be available the week after the Classic.