CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s full throttle ahead for the anglers of this year’s Bassmaster Elite Tournament. They took off Thursday morning from Clayton and zipped across the water of the St. Lawrence River.
"We kinda follow them if we can, but not for long obviously, because they have fast boats. They just hit a few spots and they're gone," said Michael Salvaggio, who was fishing on the river.
One thing that's gone this year is the presence of spectators. The tournament has sheltered off the area where fans would normally congregate to watch them take off and weigh in.
The fish weigh-in process usually draws thousands of spectators. However, this year they've turned the stage away so only anglers, staff and camera crews can watch.
Also different at the weigh-in: all 86 anglers still have to remain socially distanced so they'll wait in their boats until it's their turn.
"Every safety precaution that could be put in place, has been put in place, so I think it's better to do it this way than not do it at all," said Mike Hooson, Clayton Chamber of Commerce.
B.A.S.S. representatives say it is weird not having spectators this year, but it's for the best and there area other ways to watch.
"At least we're getting to compete, we're really excited about that. It is really different not having spectators, but we're glad that people have the opportunity to follow all four days of the action on ESPN2. That way they can still have a feel for what's going on," said Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. communications manager.
The tournament ends Sunday with the top angler taking home $100,000.