Want to Be a Better Angler? Be a Bassmaster Marshal

If you want to be a better angler, register to be a marshal at a Bassmaster Elite Series fishing tournament. Just watching different anglers fish and hearing them talk to each other is an education in itself. Plus it’s extremely interesting to see their different styles and personalities. The procedures themselves are fun from a front-row seat too, whether it be the parade-like take-off each morning of the tournament or the pros culling fish after fish to gain ounces for weigh-in.
I had my first experience as a marshal on Thursday (April 19) for the Bassmaster Elite Series TroKar Quest on Bull Shoals Lake in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks. Comprised of 100 of the most talented anglers in bass fishing, the field of competitors has won more than 200 Bassmaster tournaments, 17 Bassmaster Classic championships and 21 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles.
Bassmaster Pro Clark Reehm
I was lucky enough to draw Clark Reehm, who was more than willing to share information as he fished. He worked a pattern fishing points and bluff walls using crankbaits and jerkbaits. As soon as he got to a spot and shut the motor down he was halfway out of his seat throwing off his life vest putting down his trolling motor and casting his line. He fished with purpose and intensity.

When he got a big fish on his enthusiasm was contagious. He hauled in a 5.5 pounder the morning I was with him and didn’t contain his excitement. “That’s a $10,000 fish,” he exclaimed.
He remarked once that he was thirsty but he didn’t want to stop fishing long enough to take that drink. He didn’t eat, and didn’t grab a Gatorade until we were checked in back at the dock.
Bassmaster Pro Ish Monroe
On the second day I drew Ish Monroe as a partner. Like Reehm, he’s a super nice guy, but had a totally different style on the water. Despite being in a wide open lake, I could feel tension in the air. He told me he’d chill out and talk to me after he got five fish in the boat, which he did. Surprisingly, he listened to techno dance music while he cranked along the bank. “It calms me down,” he told me.
The techno dance music seemed a strange combination with the outdoor fishing at first, but I grew to appreciate it. In fact, I’ve been playing it on Pandora while I write and find it energizes me and puts me in the zone. So, I guess I got more than a fishing lesson from being with Ish.
The hard part of being a marshal that day, other than the cold, wet weather, became the inability to get up and dance or fish, and only to be an observer.
While Ish was more reserved than Reehm, he too showed his excitement of having a large fish on the line, although when he got it to the boat it wasn’t a bass. Five minutes later he said his heart was still racing from that and I realized just what it meant to him, that possibility of the big one. Even though you’re just watching you begin to get excited for them at each cast. The number of fish they were catching on Bull Shoals Lake meant I had no worries of being bored watching someone else fish.
No matter who you draw as a partner, whether they talk and share information or mainly keep quiet in concentration, you’ll learn just by watching. You’ll also learn as you hear these pro anglers talking to each other about the day. Plus, there’s always the added bonus of the 70 mph thrill ride in a bass boat!

You can also find out what the pros are using at the weigh-in events, which are big shows with lots of vendors. Nearly all of the anglers remarked on the fantastic fishery that Bull Shoals Lake offers as well as the great support and turnout for the event from the community. Many also expressed a desire to return to Bull Shoals Lake. The tournament was based at Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock and Bull Shoal-White River State Park.

The Bassmaster Elite Series on Bull Shoals will air on Sunday, April 29 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2 and from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET on ESPN Classic.
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