Behind the scenes at B.A.S.S.

What in the world was I thinking, hit the road with James Overstreet for almost three weeks? Traveling  over 3,000 miles, from South Louisiana to Wisconsin,  just to watch my fellow Elite Anglers compete? 

It wasn’t entirely the only reason.  The lure of catching giant smallmouth was the arm-twisting factor that sealed the deal. Then there was the opportunity to get an up close look at the behind the scenes of the Bassmaster Elite Series.

For the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to not only witness the work involved in bringing up-to-date coverage, but also take part in the on the water coverage of the events. 

The last two Elite events I covered the winner on the final day of competition.  Wow, what a rush! 

For those who think camera crews don’t get excited when anglers catch fish, you are wrong.  It can be very exhilarating at times. This was a really neat and rare opportunity very few anglers, or fans, ever get the chance to see.

It is really great to sit at home and open up the computer.  Just pull up and get all the up-to-the-minute live or just daily coverage of the Elite Tournaments. 

At your fingertips hasn’t always been the case. I can remember, after any BASS tournament, when you were lucky to find the results in a local newspaper.  There were times when it might be a week after the tournament. Today, you can go to and get current daily results along with photo galleries of the entire day, up to the minute on-the-water blogs, videos on the water throughout the day, and more up-to-the-minute stories of what is happening.

Haven’t we gotten spoiled? It’s awesome. But now there comes a new dilemma. What happens when the coverage doesn’t meet the public’s expectations? 

 What happens when you turn your computer on and can’t get an up-to-the-minute blog or video?  What happens when up-to-the-minute coverage is misinterpreted because one word is mistyped in a blog, changing the true story of what really happened?

Unfortunately when these things happen, the negative comments, the criticisms, and the phone calls start to come in.  Very few people ever compliment the job well done.  It’s just the way it is.

As an angler, I have been one of those critics.  Always a question of why didn’t they have more of this, why didn’t they get pics of that, and why in the world did they do that?

Let me break down a little of the live coverage.  Blogs and Live on the water videos come from out in the field.  Everything is dependent on phone and Internet service. Unfortunately, most good lakes have very little service if any. Blogs and videos are generally sent by email; blogs are texted and retyped, videos at times are actually run in by boats on the water. 

Some blogs have to be sent to Birmingham then uploaded from there.  When a text has to be used, there are times they don’t get received on time. 

Last week, in Green Bay I sent one video seven times before finally getting it done.

The worst case is when there is absolutely no service and nothing can get uploaded until late in the day when the guys in the field return to the studio. 

This was the first time I saw first hand all the obstacles that impact just how fast the public gets this information. 

What did I learn over the past few weeks, traveling with photographers, BASS Staff, writers, and many others that take part in the events? For starters, you probably won’t ever hear much more criticism from me when things aren’t up to my expectations.

As Elite Anglers, there are things that we can do better to help the writers and photographers get what is needed. 

Anglers, when you catch a fish, don’t hide it down in the boat and hurry to put it in the live well.  When possible land it on the camera side of the boat, hold it up on your way to the live well.  It is an opportunity lost if you don’t. 

Don’t wonder why you don’t have a good photo in the galleries. When a writer ask you questions, take a few seconds and give them something.  These guys help us let’s help them out a little.

Why don’t we see more of the countless contributions given by the BASS Staff?  Why isn’t there a show, just to reveal the work that is put into each event? 

These people put months of work in before the tournaments, not to say the sleepless nights before each event.  All this effort so Elite Anglers look good for just a few hours.  I really hope you all know just how much you are appreciated.  Thank you very much.


Dennis Tietje is an Elite Series angler, on medical leave this year from back surgery.

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