One Friday morning in August, even before the sun had risen over the St. Lawrence River, the docks in Waddington were aglow. Some of the artificial light came from a flotilla of sleek boats that drifted around the marina, kitted out with luminous fish-finder devices. The rest emanated from smartphones and video cameras, as dozens of professional anglers recorded social-media clips ahead of the last competition of the regular season.
The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society — or BASS — turned 50 this year, and the professional tournament circuit it runs, the Bassmaster Elite Series, has long been considered the most prestigious in the world. In Waddington, 107 men were competing for a top payout of $100,000. Whoever won would amass points good for the Angler of the Year prize, worth another $100,000, as well as entry in the Bassmaster Classic tournament, aka “the Super Bowl of fishing,” where the victor takes home $300,000.
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