WOOHOO! I was chosen to be a camera boat operator for the duration of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic! I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting myself into. Up at 3:30am every morning to be in the water by 5:15am…
WOOHOO! I was chosen to be a camera boat operator for the duration of the 2009 Bassmaster Classic! I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting myself into. Up at 3:30am every morning to be in the water by 5:15am and we didn’t get to pull our boats out until after our pros had been pulled out which was usually around 4:30pm. Then it was off to the weigh-in on Friday and the Expo on Saturday. Still had to get the boat ready for the next morning too!
You cannot believe the extraordinary effort that goes on behind the scenes to put on this show! The ESPN production crew, BASS Officials, and all the volunteers were scrambling early every day and still going after everyone went home! I would meet up with my camera guy, Mark Sudol, every morning and we’d meet the angler we were to follow that day. All of the Pros I followed were friendly and helpful. I told them I’d stay out of their way whenever possible and to let me know if I needed to stay farther back at any time. We would catch our angler at the Lock & Dam or at the entrance of the Port Lake and it was off to the races! Coming out of the lock on Friday and Sunday was a sight to behold. Everyone that rode in my Legend was thanking the stars for my boat and it’s dual consoles! Most commented that they were hurting after the ride in the Pro’s boat!
Mark spent most of his time on the boat with the Pro and I usually had the observer with me unless he needed some shots from outside the Pro’s boat. Several times throughout the day I would have to run the tapes back to a runner on the bank, or in a boat, who would then get them to the production facility. Any time the Pro moved, so did we. I lost my Pro once when a bunch of spectator boats got the jump on me as I was coming out of the creek the Pro just left. Luckily I found him pretty quick!
“Organized Chaos” is the best way that I can describe my experience! Trying to stay out of their way and still performing our duties required a constant vigilance. I didn’t want to be the guy that cost someone $500,000!
I missed out on a lot of the typical Classic experience, but I wouldn’t trade my time working behind the scenes for anything!