TULSA, Okla. – Martens is leery, KVD grateful, Edwin honored, Ike thrilled and Casey jealous. Anglers have different takes on the dynamic of how Bassmaster Classic LIVE will affect fishing.
LIVE will air for six hours each of the next three days starting at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Day 1 of the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.
Aaron Martens, who had a LIVE camera with him the most last year as he dominated in a third Toyota Angler of the Year run, said being among the six anglers with a transmitting camera on Day 1 is slightly unnerving.
“I think about last year, (LIVE) didn’t seem to affect my performance as much, so maybe I just ignore it?” he asked. “I have stuff I consider secret, and it’s a little unnerving. I had some things last year I didn’t want a lot of people to see.”
His blackbird pattern among them. Their deepest fishing secrets are potentially the concern of every angler with a camera in their boat. If they do well, other anglers could see their lures and areas and replicate it, even steal a fish from their spot that could cost them the title.
“I got the best bait figured out,” Martens said. “But you can’t really hide bait that much.”
B.A.S.S. hopes it remedied the potential for improprieties by holding the archival LIVE videos until the event is over. Don’t expect to see a rerun of LIVE this weekend. If you want to watch an angler catch the potential winning fish, viewers will have to watch LIVE live. Or wait till Monday.
In that case, Martens said anglers with cameramen in their boats would have recourse if another angler shows up at his spot using an identical bait. Only anglers are allowed to share information, and none can watch LIVE during their day fishing. That information would have to be shared by an outside source and therefore be illegally obtained.
“If somebody does end up finding out what I’m using, they’re breaking the rules,” Martens said. “They can get disqualified.”
Martens said instead he might be more worried about the overzealous spectator who gets so hepped up watching all the pros catch fish that they feel compelled to fish.
“There’s going to be lots of spectator traffic, especially with the weekend being nice,” Martens said, “and they’re going to see what I’m throwing and a lot of them are going to have the same baits … and lightbulbs are going to go off.”
He sees that scenario when a non-competitor tries his spot and plucks out what might have been a winning fish for him.
Besides Martens, the Day 1 lineup of anglers with cameras in their boats is Kevin VanDam, local favorites Edwin Evers and Jason Christie, and Mike Iaconelli, who finished fourth in the 2013 Classic here. Brandon Palaniuk (runner-up in 2013) hzs a camera in his boat, but not a live feed.
VanDam, who’s absence last year was his first from a Classic in a quarter century, said he’s comfortable with a cameraman in his boat but relates the concerns.
“In a three-day Classic, to be able to maybe have that one day without all the extra attention, it’s beneficial, there’s no doubt, but I understand that’s where I’m in the sport,” he said. “It’s good that I’m relevant before the start. It’s a good problem to have.”
KVD said he thinks he and Iaconelli are probably the two anglers who best understand how to deal with things like 50-boat spectator galleries and cameramen.
“I’ve always figured out that you worry about variables you can control, but you have to understand every variable you have to deal with. And that’s one that I understand,” VanDam said. “Is it exactly the way I would prefer from a competitive standpoint? No, but you make the most of it.”
Like Martens, KVD said he thinks news does travel fast at any Classic, because they certainly aren’t fishing in a vacuum.
“This is the biggest stage there is, and nobody is going fly under the radar for very long,” he said. “With BASSTrakk and that, if somebody is doing well, they may get one little jump, but (attention is) going to happen pretty quick.”