Folks at home, folks at home… People’s Champ Nick Ferry here. I decided to enlist in the B.A.S.S. Marshal Program for the Elite Tournament in New York’s 1000 Islands on the St Lawrence River, and I wanted to share the experience with you.
The Marshal Program puts a person in the passenger seat with the pros during the big events. This serves a few purposes. First, the Marshals are B.A.S.S.’ eyes and ears on the water. Their assignment is to keep the game honest. If there were no marshal in the boat, there would always be concerns that someone might be tempted to bend a rule or two- but not with a Marshal in the boat! Second, Marshals keep tournament officials posted throughout the day as to the pro’s status. The Marshals have to download the BASSTrakk app and they receive a specific code for that week’s tournament. They use this to keep track of the fish caught, and keep track of who’s doing well, so that the media team can send the camera boats to the hottest anglers. The Marshals are encouraged to take pictures and send them, with a little caption, to B.A.S.S. to be used to update their live coverage and their blogs
throughout the day. This helps fans to keep track of their favorite Anglers during the day.
Interested? Let me tell you how you can become a Marshal. First, you need to be a member of B.A.S.S. Next, you need to familiarize yourself with the upcoming season’s tournament dates and the dates when you can start signing up to be a Marshal. Pick the tournament you would like to work and fill out the application. Don’t forget to send in the $150 (yes you do have to pay). If you are a B.A.S.S. Life Member you get first dibs, and the first 50 people who register are guaranteed to work three days. The rest of the people accepted will work the first two days with the full field of anglers before the field gets cut to 50 for Day 3.
After Day 3, this is where it gets interesting. For Championship Sunday the field is cut to the top 12. There are six Marshals chosen to accompany these anglers. How do you get chosen? Well remember I mentioned B.A.S.S. encouraged pictures and blogs? Those who do a stellar job doing so have the opportunity to reap the reward of going out for the final.
For me, being a Marshal was a great experience and I encourage all of you who follow tournament fishing to sign up. Why? First, this has to be your best opportunity to hang out with a pro for an entire day of their work. Next, can you think of a better way to learn a new body of water and hopefully learn a few techniques that work there to put fish in the live well? This is where I feel you get a return for that $150. For me, I was able to spend the day with one of the sport’s true living legends- Rick Clunn!
Rick ended up 21st overall for the tournament- not bad at all! Couldn’t imagine a better honor than to sit in the boat with him. I certainly learned some things, and honestly, I would never have thought to use some of the fishing techniques and baits he chose to
use under the conditions we were facing. He was catching them on a spinnerbait of his own design and custom color as well as with a chatterbait. He used a burning retrieve in 2-7 feet of water. I also noted his precise boat control which was obviously critical to his success. He set specific depths and had all the depth under that shaded a certain color so that when he got to these areas, he kept the boat right on the edge of that charted line, allowing him to keep his baits in the strike zone all day. I believe this was the most critical thing he did throughout the day- keeping control of that boat in the heavy current so that he was always positioned right next to the sweet spot. So yes, that $150 was well spent considering all the lessons learned from a legend like Rick Clunn.
Not good enough? You’re tough. On the 2nd day my pairing was with Keith Poche. It was neat to be paired with him since he is also on team JaKKed. This gave us something to talk about right off the bat. Keith is a great guy. He interacted with me a lot and took the time to explain what he was doing and why, all day long. Although he didn’t have a strong finish in this tourney, he caught lots of fish and I learned a number of key things from him, the most critical being the importance of paying attention to your electronics.
To sum it up, what do I say about being a Marshal? Just do it! It’s worth the couple of bucks- you’ll meet some really good guys, and be 1 on 1 with them for 9 hours. Make the best of it and Live The Passion!
iBass360 Pro staff Nick Ferry is a “people person”. He has an engaging personality that lives up to his billing as “The People’s Champ”. Nick has been a very successful club angler in SE Pennsylvania with both the Peace Valley Bass Anglers and the Bucks County Anglers Club who is now taking that experience to the BFL. Nick is Pro Staff for Ardent Reels, Kistler Rods, Zee Baits, Forage Lures, JaKKed Baits Whiskey River Bait Company and Seaguar Line. Nick is a regular contributor to the iBass360 Blog.