I’m really good at saying “yes.” My first inclination when presented with a challenge, new experience, or something that pushes me outside my comfort zone is excitement. It’s usually too late when I begin to think about what I have said “yes” to.
That’s how I came to be a marshal at the Bassmaster Elite Series on Bull Shoals Lake last week. I was already headed over there to cover the event. My office was trying to help secure marshals for it, and my boss asked me if I’d like to be one since I was going. “Awesome,” was my only thought. I love fishing and a day on the lake.
It wasn’t until the day before I headed to Bull Shoals when I was contemplating everything I needed to pack that I realized that would include a tin can or some similar container. Oh jeez. What had I gotten myself into? Oh, only the possibility of relieving myself in the bass boat of a professional angler who was a perfect stranger! Yep, a little outside of my comfort zone.
Now, some of you just stopped reading and are thinking, “TMI!” Most of you are laughing. I know this because no matter who I talked with about the marshal experience (and many of you were strangers I met during the event), and no matter what questions they asked, almost everyone wanted to know what a female marshal does if she has to go to the bathroom.
So let’s just cut to the chase, shall we? The rules state, “Pros and Marshals must remain together at all times, in sight of the pro’s catch… In the event of a needed restroom break or refueling situation at a marina gas pump partners are allowed to leave the boat upon which all fishing must cease until partners are back together in the boat.”
Basically, that means to me that you could ask to be put out on the bank to go, but your pro would have to stop fishing, or you can take a canister of some sort and just go in it in the boat. (Here’s a tip – take a poncho for “privacy.”)
Now I’m an outdoorsy girl and I’ve spent time fishing and on boats. While I had never been a marshal before, I knew good and well that I wouldn’t be asking a professional angler fishing for tournament money to drive me to a marina bathroom. I figured a quick trip to a tree or shrub on the bank might be an option, but didn’t like the idea of halting the fishing action. I didn’t want to be a disadvantage in a quest for a top prize of $100,000. So, I went with canister in hand. However, my ultimate game plan was simply not to go at all.
I’m happy to say that worked out for me both days. I didn’t drink a thing (okay a few sips of coffee the first day) before I met up with my pro each way-too-early morning. I’m a coffeeholic so that was hard for me, especially at the hour of the morning. Both days I stashed a bottle of water in the pros ice compartment, but didn’t drink it either day until we had actually reached the check-in at Bull Shoals Lake Dock. I’m just gonna say that for me, a little dehydration was worth avoiding the canister, which would have been pretty hysterical to try and use the second day with all the layers and rain gear I had on in the cold, wet weather.
Now the other thing you might be wondering is what the pros do with a female in the boat, although I think most of you guessed that all I had to do was look the other way.
When it comes down to it, the pros are pros and the restroom situation is no big deal.