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Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Television Show


Tim Huffman



Crappie Masters President, Paul Alpers, has been instrumental and persistent in making the new crappie fishing television show a reality. He says, "There are a lot of bass and saltwater shows but not much on crappie fishing. We have multiple goals with one being to promote our tournaments and we'll be promoting the products of our sponsors. A more important goal is to teach more people how they can catch crappie."

Alpers says guests will include several different national sponsors. For example, Sam Heaton with Minn Kota/ Humminbird explains how to use electronics to find and catch crappie. Tournament fishermen will include Whitey Outlaw from South Carolina, Wade Mansfield from Missouri, Bill Braswell from Kentucky, Don and Toni Collins from Florida and others to give you their best tips and techniques."

What's been the most fun? "I'm an avid crappie fisherman and enjoy going when I have time so I have really enjoyed fishing with different people. It's the camaraderie that's fun. I've also enjoyed fishing the different lakes with different techniques. From a satisfaction standpoint, I'm proud to be bringing a television show that I think will help fishermen all across the country catch more fish. It's a good feeling to be teaching anglers how to become better fishermen."

What's not fun? "Being away from home. All parts of my job require me to spend a lot of time away from my family. I don't like that. Also, I hate going door to door asking people for money and that's the critical element to be able to have the tournament trail or the television show."

What about filming the show at Conway? "Weather can be tough on fishing. We run into that and it's part of fishing. We ended up at the end of the day catching about 15 fish but they weren't the quality we wanted. However, the advantage of shooting at a tournament location is that we will get to show the weigh-in and the quality of crappie that the lake is capable of producing like the 3.08-pound slab brought to the scales at Conway. We have to schedule our filming dates in advance and sometimes the weather just makes it difficult. This Conway Lake show does give us the opportunity to teach viewers that a strong cold front really bothers shallow fish and what they can do when that happens, so it will be a good teaching tool and that's what we are wanting."


Steve Easom, Camera & Post-Production

Steve Easom brings 22 years of experience to the show and has been filming segments with Crappie Masters for four years for the nationally televised show, Revive the Outdoors with Cody and Cody. "The Crappie Masters show has taken some time to develop but now is a good time for the transition from being a segment to their own how-to crappie show that will focus upon not only tournament fishing but one that gives basic fishing tips for the weekend angler," says Easom.

His job is to film the right stuff so the show will be both informative and fun to watch. One show, 20 minutes of fishing, takes about 40 hours of shot footage and that may take up to 120 hours of editing time. Shooting a quality show takes time.

Easom says, "I have to plan ahead to have the right technique show on the right lake. I encourage the fishermen to tell not only how to tie a knot, but to tell why they wet the knot so it's tighter, stronger and lasts longer. Basic things tournament fishermen take for granted is what the weekend angler needs to learn. Our show will have advanced information but will also help a beginning fishermen learn the basics that he must know before he can perform a technique."

What do you enjoy most about your job? "Overall, it has been working with my son. He has had the opportunity to learn the reasons why character, integrity and honesty are everything. And that it takes discipline, knowledge and the application of the right principles in whatever you do in life. It's like Ronnie Capps and Steve Coleman. When they come to the weigh-in a lot of the fishermen wonder how they do well so often no matter what lake or conditions. A day on the water with them and it's easy to see because they are like machines out there and they go full speed from start to finish. They are intense and always working to be better. I've got to share these principles with my son and that has been gratifying."

What do you not like about the job? "It's the outside influences that I can't control. It might be other people who are not prepared. It's the weather or the fish not biting. I always try to keep in mind that it's not about me but rather getting a product completed so I've tried to learn to be more patient."

"Lake Conway is a good example to discuss. The show is only 20 minutes so it will look like we were busy catching fish, but we had a lot of difficulty catching them. We're not going to say we caught a lot of fish, but perception may look like we did. I hope we come across with how tough it was and being patient and persistent with the technique we are teaching is important; Things are not as easy as they appear. I like to compare our show with a successful hunting show. We scout, hunt, kill, retrieve and make it back to the house all in 30 minutes. I hope viewers understand that an interesting show has action but it's not as easy or quick as it looks."


The Fisherman

Dennis Bayles, Jr, calls Conway Lake his home. He has qualified and fished a Crappie Masters classic and is qualified to fish at Truman this fall.

Pre-filming: "I'm nervous. It's my first time to do something like this but I think we will do fine. The fish have been doing good here for about two weeks. We are fishing shallow flats tightlining for crappie. It's late March but due to the weather the fish are just now coming in. The water temperature is 58 degrees. We'll hopefully find the fish on a small drop in three to five feet of water."

Post-filming and post-tournament: "It's been tough filming and fishing the tournament. A cold front moved through, put the fish right on bottom and the fish got finicky. Yesterday on the first day of the tournament we caught four and on day two about 40. But the filming earlier in the week was really hard and different than I expected. I wish conditions had of been better because this can be an outstanding lake."



Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters has been doing segments for Revive the Outdoors for several years. This year marks the beginning of our own show that will focus on teaching sportsmen around the country how to catch crappie.

Shows will begin the last of June and will appear on Direct TV, the Pursuit channel, 608 and will go out to over 23 million households. Show times are Wednesday at 4:00 pm; Saturday at 6:00 pm; and Sunday at 6:00 am eastern times. It will also be streamed on on Bass Pro Shops.