In 1986, Ray Scott held a tournament that had the potential to change the way people would watch fishing tournaments, adding spectators into the mix. Billed as “Megabucks,” this April event on the Harris Chain Of Lakes, FL, had a $2,200 entry fee, and the promise of three-quarter million dollars in cash and prizes with the winner netting $101,000.
Starting with over 200 anglers willing to shell out that kind of money, anglers competed for 3 days in typical format style to whittle the field down to the Top 10 anglers overall. From there, they would move to a smaller venue for the final two days, the lake sectioned off into “holes,” with each angler getting a chance to fish each hole, rotating throughout the day. Along with the format uniqueness, spectators were able to take up positions along the shorelines, roads and bridges of the final course to watch anglers compete, similar to the way spectators get to watch golfers play from hole to hole. Local news reports put the total number of spectators at roughly 3,000 for this first event, and the finals were covered for later television coverage on the Nashville Network (TNN). [Read more…]