BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Fishing fans who just can’t wait for the official kickoff of the 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Feb. 7 on the St. Johns River, Florida, can get a sneak preview of the fishing action during a special “Bassmaster LIVE Preview Week” on Bassmaster.com every day through Friday.
“Since we introduced live-streamed, on-the-water tournament coverage to the world in 2015, bass fishing fans have clamored for more,” said Mike McKinnis, vice president of media content for JM Associates and producer of Bassmaster LIVE and The Bassmasters TV show. “We are expanding LIVE coverage from 18 to 24 hours for each Elite event this season, and we’re adding more cameras to cover more anglers.
“We think fans will appreciate getting a taste of what’s in store for them this year through this week-long push of LIVE and pre-produced content served on all B.A.S.S. social and digital media outlets.”
The special programming is designed to entertain and educate fans and will be anchored by the Dream Team of tournament broadcast coverage — Tommy Sanders, Mark Zona, Davy Hite, Dave Mercer, Ronnie Moore and Mike Suchan — along with a host of players from the Toyota Bassmaster Studios and from throughout the country.
The special programming kicks off today with the “2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Preview,” a one-hour studio show featuring video and special reports on each of the nine regular-season Elite tournaments, including video, graphics and interviews with Elite Series anglers. Long-time B.A.S.S. members will want to tune in for a special guest appearance by Bob Cobb, the former editor of Bassmaster Magazine and founding producer of The Bassmasters.
The parade of big-bass lakes begins with Elite No. 1 on the St. Johns River at Palatka, Fla., Feb. 7-10, and continues the following week with a visit to Gwinnett, Ga., and Lake Lanier, renowned for its big spotted bass.
The season takes a break for the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Knoxville, Tenn., March 15-17, and the Classic is the focus of Tuesday’s preview show, airing on Bassmaster.com at 11 a.m. ET. The program incorporates historical footage of memorable Classics, along with video of Knoxville and the Tennessee River fishery, plus interviews with some of the 52 Classic contenders.
Fans of Fantasy Fishing will want to tune in to Wednesday’s show, “Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing 2019 — Meet the Pros,” debuting at 11 a.m. ET. With a number of rookies and other newcomers this year, the field will be harder to handicap without insights from the Bassmaster LIVE crew and other experts.
Registration for Fantasy Fishing is now open on Bassmaster.com. The top scorer of each Elite event will earn a $2,500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, and the overall winner will receive a fully rigged Triton/Yamaha boat-and-motor combo valued at more than $35,000.
Thursday features a fun-filled competition, the “B.A.S.S. Brawl,” during which Zona and Hite are paired with Elite anglers Drew Benton and Drew Cook for a four-hour live-stream team competition on Bassmaster LIVE. The show will be streamed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET and will be hosted from the Toyota Bassmaster Studios.
And on Friday, “Zona LIVE” presents a fun-filled fishing trip with Zona and Benton as they cut up on the water and preview the upcoming Elite No. 1 on the St. Johns River. “Zona LIVE” is a spinoff of the hugely popular Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show on the Outdoor Channel.
“We’ve adopted the theme — ‘Big Bass. Big Stage. Big Dreams.’ — for our 2019 Bassmaster Elite Series season,” noted Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “Fans who tune in for our special ‘Bassmaster LIVE Preview Week’ will quickly understand why that theme is so fitting.
“We hope they’ll follow the Elite anglers throughout the year as they try to catch the heaviest limits of big bass and fulfill their dreams of grabbing the spotlight on the biggest stages in bass fishing — the Elite Series and the Bassmaster Classic.”