A spin-off of the successful Bassmaster Elite Series Marshal program, the new Elite Experience offers intense instruction and personal coaching by Elite pros — and the opportunity for fans to actually go fishing with one.
Offered in conjunction with the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series season, most Elite Experience sessions will happen Saturdays and Sundays.
Saturdays will be filled with seminars and workshops conducted by Elite pros. The next day will be a pro-am tournament in which two Elite Experience participants will be paired with an Elite pro to form a three-angler team.
Each team will compete against all other Elite Experience pro-am teams on a body of water near the concurrent Elite event’s fishery. Each team can weigh in five bass. The heaviest bag will determine the winner.
Prizes will be awarded, with payouts based on the number of entries. In addition, the one angler with the largest bass will win a prize.
The height of the Experience will be when the winning team members are brought up on the Bassmaster Elite Series stage and recognized for their accomplishment.
“The Elite Series Marshal program has been so successful, we decided to expand on the opportunities for fan-pro interaction,” said Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S., owner of the Elite Series. “Intense instruction followed by applying what was learned can only add up to a well-spent — and fun — weekend.”
As the B.A.S.S. tournament director, Trip Weldon has steered the Marshal program, which pairs a fan with a pro as the official observer during competition. He’s heard firsthand the stories about how much marshals learn when riding along with the pros.
“But in the boat, actually fishing alongside an Elite pro, Elite Experience participants are going to come away with a lot more of those stories to tell their families and friends,” Weldon said. “Elite pros are excited about this opportunity. We’ve had excellent buy-in from them on this new idea.”
The structure of the seminars and workshops, said Weldon, will allow participants to move from pro to pro to learn what makes them successful. Topics will cover a wide range of tournament tactics. The format will give each Elite Experience angler a chance to “learn from many experts what makes them Elite pros,” Weldon said.
Six Elite Experience sessions are planned for 2014. They are:
Saturday, March 8 – Lay Lake, Alabama (tournament only)
Saturday and Sunday, March 22-23 – Rodman Reservoir, Florida
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6 – Bull Shoals, Arkansas
Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18 – Piney Creek, Arkansas
Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15 – Nickajack Lake, Tennessee
Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24 – Onondaga Lake, New York
For more information about the program, or to register after Feb. 3, contact the B.A.S.S. tournament department at 205-313-0900.