After working eight Classics plus a number of Elite Series tournaments and Opens for BASS, I feel like I have the blogging game pretty much down. Sure, things change with increased focus on BASS Cams, Skype and BASS Live, but as far as the written word goes that status quo remains. Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t little tricks of the trade that come into play, including semi-specialized equipment that makes the process easier or more reliable.
I first encountered the need for better gear at the 2013 Classic on Grand Lake, when temperatures dipped into the teens. Even in layers that had me resembling the Michelin Man, I still had to take off my gloves to type on my phone. Fortunately, our boat driver had a Little Buddy Heater which made that tolerable, albeit all kinds of unsafe. We used one again in 2015 at Hartwell, when the temps were in the single digits at blastoff. Without that, I really don’t think that my blog entries would’ve been more than a few letters, probably SOS.
But it’s not just about fending off frostbite.
Some guys bring their laptops in the boat but that seems cumbersome and potentially costly to me (when I drop the whole deal in the drink or get hit by a wave). Since I pretty much text like a teenager, I’ve always relied on my phone, but last year my wife gave me a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard that I can use with my phone. It only costs about $25 (don’t worry – she supplemented it with some Evergreen Jackhammers) but it makes typing on the water a lot easier. I’d guesstimate that I’m inclined to type about 40% more than my previous blogs (and with fewer errors) just because my thumbs aren’t cramping up.
The other huge boost – literally – has been a new power source for my phone. Being outside in the elements, watching BASS Trakk, typing blogs and answering my friends’ texts, at times it seems like I can watch the battery life decreasing in real time. You can certainly plug a phone into a boat’s cigarette lighter, but as I’ve learned the hard way, not all of them work. I’ve also used various sorts of battery packs, but up until this year they’ve all failed to live up to their promises. Believe me, the last thing you want during Classic week is to tell a sleep-deprived Steve Bowman that you can’t continue blogging because you don’t have any juice. The solution I’ve settled upon is my NOCO Genius jump starter. You can use it to jump your boat, or your tow vehicle, but with a USB port it’s also suited to keeping a blogger going like the Energizer Bunny. In Classics past I’ve worked hard to conserve power throughout the day, but the NOCO is so efficient that I can blog like a madman and still restore my battery life to 100% by the time we get off the water.