Wherever you look at the BASS Masters Classic, somewhere in the scene is at least one person in a yellow and white baseball cap -- a driver, a press aide, an assistant at the weigh-ins or a clerk at the outdoors show.
These people in the yellow and white caps are volunteers from the Maryland BASS Federation, and essentially they are the people who make this tournament work.
"There are about 150 volunteers here every day," said Ken
Andrejak, president of the federation. "Some of them work from 5 to 5 p.m., and all of them pay their own bills, and a lot of them are spending their vacations here."
So what makes a person want to take vacation time and spend 12 hours a day serving other people?
"For anybody who is interested in the sport, it is a treat," Andrejak said. "You get to meet some of the people you read about or see on TV and spend a little time with them. It is like being with your favorite baseball star for a day."
As an incentive, volunteers who signed up for the entire week as drivers in the tow vehicles were allowed to choose which pros they would take out to Dundee Creek Marina each morning.
Those volunteers who work a full week also will be able to qualify for a lifetime membership in the federation at a cost of $100 rather than the standard $300.
"It is just a massive number of people doing a lot of various jobs," Andrejak said. "Drivers, chauffeurs and so on. The hours can be long, but it is a chance of a lifetime for lots of people."
* Federation angler Gary "Four-Day" Brown of Little Hocking, Ohio, pulled in the biggest bass of the day yesterday (4 pounds, 12 ounces), had the second-largest stringer (11-14) and is tied for eighth place overall.
No federation angler has won or led the Classic. Brown now is three pounds off the pace and has caught two limits in two days.
"I am just fishing my fish," said Brown, 50, who is a pipefitter and seemed nervous in the spotlight at the Baltimore Arena. "They were there yesterday, they were there today, and I hope they will be there tomorrow."
The big bass was caught at 2:15 p.m. on a plastic lure. Where was it caught?
"Ask me sometime tomorrow afternoon and I will tell you," Brown said.
And the nickname?
"Somebody has to do the fishing," Brown said. "Heck, if I could make it on three days, I'd work only three days. Right now I feel like a million dollars."
* The Bush River will be open to tournament fishing today. . . . When Randall Romig pulled into his hot spot yesterday morning, found Roland Martin of Clewiston, Fla., there already. Martin yielded the spot, and Romig jumped from fourth to second place. . . . Guy Eaker of Cherryville, N.C., had fished the same area as Zell Rowland on Day 1 and caught almost 11 pounds of fish. Yesterday, Eaker left the area to Rowland, who was able to maintain his slim lead. . . . Ken Cook of Meers, Okla., formerly a fisheries biologist, said the fish weren't biting in some of his areas yesterday because they had stomachaches caused by high pH levels. The highest reading Cook encountered was 9.8, which he said makes water barely able to sustain the life of a bass. . . . Crowds at the weigh-in the first two days have been between 4,500 and 5,000. Attendance at the Outdoors Show at the Convention Center has been brisk. . . . The Arena will have a capacity of 11,800 for today's grand finale.
* About 10 a.m. today, the "Saturday Syndrome" will begin for some of the 40 anglers spread out in the Upper Chesapeake Bay.
"You know, on Saturday afternoon, when they fill that arena with screaming fans and the laser lights are going off and Ray Scott is playing the A Team and the B Team, you just can't go in there with no fish," said Guido Hibdon.
So, Hibdon says, about midmorning "if you don't have a fish yet, you just forget about whatever you are doing and just go #F somewhere to catch that one fish to bring in.
"I tell you, if you don't have a fish, it will make you sweat."