Q&A with Bassmaster Editor James Hall
The Bassmaster Classic will take place on Lake Conroe March 24 to 26.
With weigh-ins at Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, this will likely be the most well-attended Classic in history. We recently caught up with Bassmaster Editor James Hall who gave us the rundown on what this particular event means to BASS and how bass fishing fans can access the action.
Editor: What does it mean for BASS to hold an event in Texas at a time when the state including Lake Conroe is firing on all cylinders in terms of bass fishing?
Hall: We are extremely excited to bring the Classic to Texas. Lake Conroe is on fire right now, and the timing should be perfect to showcase how impressive that fishery has become. Plus, we expect everything to be bigger in Texas, including the crowds. We feel like we will break every attendance record the sport has seen. Texas is filled with incredible anglers, from high school programs all the way up to Elite Series competitors so putting the Super Bowl of bass fishing within easy driving distance for these fans should be something special to witness.
Editor: What ways can our readers/web viewers follow the event from BASS?
Hall: The Bassmaster LIVE technology continues to improve. For the Classic, the LIVE coverage will be enhanced and new wrinkles in content will be added. BassTrakk will be firing on all cylinders, and the Live Blog will bring back stories from the water as they happen. And the weigh-in will be live-streamed. All of this coverage will be on bassmaster.com
Editor: How has technology such as the aforementioned BASS properties along with things such as drones for overhead views changed how anglers perceive bass fishing? Are you seeing feedback indicating growth in that area?
Hall: When we unveiled Bassmaster LIVE, it changed the way fans followed our sport. We have seen incredible growth in online viewership. The 2016 Elite Series events saw up to 145 percent growth over last year. Minutes viewed are in the many millions each event. Views from drones offer a perspective we’ve not had in years past, and anglers really get to see what the competitors are fishing, not just the fishermen. And adding GoPros to every boat has ensured that we do not miss the most important moments of the event.
Editor: Will there be any special events, for fans to engage with BASS and top pros from past and present?
Hall: The expo in Houston is teed up to be the largest in Classic history. (It will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center March 24 to 26 and admission is free.) Hopefully everyone will be able to attend. However, there will be content flowing from the expo. Bassmaster.com will have photo galleries of all the products unveiled at the show, videos will be produced including pros on the show floor, and the Toyota Hooked-Up show will feature pros discussing the Classic as it unfolds, offering predictions and commentary.
—by Chester Moore
TPWD Releases the Kraken
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Artificial Reef Program sank a 371-ft cargo vessel, named The Kraken, on Jan. 20, 2017. Dubbed the Kraken after the mythical, squid-like sea monster immortalized on film and in literature, the vessel was sunk 67 miles off the coast of Galveston to create a new artificial reef.
The Kraken began its journey in May 2016 when it was towed from Trinidad to Brownsville, Texas to be repurposed for its new life as an artificial reef 140 feet below the surface. Contractors with Cahaba Disaster Recovery LLC worked with our Artificial Reef Program to remove all fuel, oil and hazardous materials from the vessel in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s best management practices.
Over time, this sunken ship will become an artificial reef that attracts fish, coral and other invertebrates as well as divers and anglers. The Kraken’s proximity to the Flower Gardens Marine Sanctuary also makes it a premiere dive location in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The entire marine ecosystem benefits from artificial reef projects like the Kraken,” said TPWD Artificial Reef Program Leader J. Dale Shively. “The Gulf of Mexico has only a few naturally occurring reefs so whenever we are able to add a new structure like this, the whole area benefits from the added habitat and species diversity.”
As an Artificial Reef Program Ships-to-Reefs project, the sinking of the Kraken was made possible by donations and Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill natural resource damage settlement funds jointly provided by natural resource trustee agencies in Texas which include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas General Land Office.
For more information about the Texas Artificial Reef Program, see the artificial reefs website, and its companion interactive mapping application.
For video of the sinking, visit the TPWD YouTube page (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES2yA6ECk-g&feature=youtu.be).
Images of the sinking are also found on the TPWD news images page.