After dropping the wife and boys of in Minneapolis, I arrived in La Crosse, WI. last Wednesday afternoon to participate in the Bassmaster Marshal program. The tournament was the Bassmaster Elite Series Mississippi River Rumble which launched out of pool 8 of the upper Miss. Anglers were allowed to lock into pools 7 or 9.
Chris Lane giving an interview before the meeting.
At the meeting we they went over rules and then introduced up to our day 1 partner, which for me was rookie Elite Angler Kyle Fox from Lakeland, FL. He's a 24YO kid with allot going for him, and we had a great time BS'ing our day away. He led the tournament after that day with a great bag of 16-8. The next day his pattern fizzled with fast rising water levels and only weighed 3 fish.
Day 2 I drew Elite Series veteran Matt Herren from Trussville, Al. His area had changed as well with the rising water and he struggled most of the day with a small limit in the well. A last minute effort to upgrade his weight proved success as he culled all of his fish out and weighed a 13-1 limit all but one were smallies and his main area was LM. He was convinced he didn't have enough to make the cut and was preparing to head up to Green Bay for next weeks event. Driving his boat on the trailer was no thing, but really weird.
He had more than he thought and went into day 3 in 27th place.
After the weigh-in there was a briefing for the anglers that made the cut and the Marshals that would go out with them. We got our pairings for Saturday and called it a day.
In the morning I hopped in this boat:
We locked through north and he began fishing among nearly 2 dozen spectator boats.
It was no-chit, an 8 hour Strike King Demo.
At the end of the day, Mr. VanDam politely asked me to back his trailer down the ramp for him explaining that if he got out of his boat, and went into the parking lot that he would never get past the crowds to weigh his fish and he was right. This dude had 30-40 people from media to fans constantly yanking on his shirttail. He had more than he thought but missed the 12 man cut for Sunday by an ounce. He also sent me home with a chewed up ass frog(WTF?) as a souvenir.
A few notes:
*All 3 guys fished completely different water(depth/clarity/current/cover).
*All 3 guys used different applications.
*All 3 guys for the most part stuck with the same thing ALL DAY LONG. One or two tactics with *minor variations.
*The 2 veterans were consistent with their weights all 3 days they fished. They both cashed nice checks as a result.
*Running 65mph through snaking canals 15yds wide and 3 feet deep is no problem. These dudes run WOT in 2FOW
*The water lever rose 2 feet in 3 days.
*The margin of error at the highest level of the sport is extremely minute.
*Those boys can catchem.
*The crowds came out by the hundreds up there!
*Todd Faircloth wins with 62 lbs.
*BP stuck himself with another KVD treble
I didn't take many pictures on the water because the guys don't really like cameras in the boats. Didn't take pics off the water because I was too busy BS'ing. The pics I did get aren't that great but here they are.
The Marshal program is legit and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a desire to take their game to the next level, or just bullshit with all the dudes for a week including Trip, ZTRAIN, Db, Mercer, etc.