BASS angler participates In ABC's 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'
CELEBRATION, Fla. — With his face appearing more and more on television, Triton pro Stephen Browning could in time become one of professional bass fishing's most recognized anglers.
In fact, the Hot Springs, Ark., resident, who is competing this year on the new CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series and fishing in 11 premier tournaments across the country, recently participated in a taping of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. The episode will air on Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m. ET.
Browning offered a fishing lesson and background research to designers Paul DiMeo and Preston Sharp of the Extreme Makeover crew, who were renovating a hurricane Charley-damaged home in Central Florida and outfitting one room with a fishing theme. Browning was in town for the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, bass fishing's most major event, back in February.
"They needed expertise on the water and that was my role," said Browning. "They took a lot of what they saw on the water and wanted to incorporate that into the room."
No stranger to television, Browning also is co-host of the ESPN2 BASS Saturday program Bass Tech, where fellow anglers, including Gerald Swindle of Alabama, upgrade fishing equipment so it performs at its best. Browning appeared in five episodes last season and is slated to be in all of the shows this year, which airs at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Notably, Browning is remembered as being the winner of a grueling survival competition that aired on the ESPN program Wild Rules several years ago. The 25th-ranked angler on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index won $100,000 after spending 15 days in the wilderness in British Columbia. "It was the hardest challenge both mentally and physically I have ever done," he said.
Now, wherever he goes, Browning is recognized for the Wild Rules show. "Every place I go, people remember that," he said. "It's not only fishermen that come up to me and say 'Hey, you did a great job,' it's also people who watched the show, and it's a pretty cool deal."
Browning would like to have a similar impact this year on the Elite Series, which is offering anglers and their sponsors unprecedented levels of coverage and recognition on ESPN. The 11 events visit some of America's hottest fisheries at the perfect times of the year to produce excellent fishing for the anglers and exciting viewing for spectators. Coverage of the Elite Series airs Saturdays at 10 a.m. on ESPN2. Plus, it offers anglers the chance to win part of a $7.4 million prize purse.
"Fishermen used to just fish tournaments," he said. "Now we're actually business people and entrepreneurs. And as far as investments go, you want positive return. I personally think the investment in the Elite Series for the chance of having an opportunity at that kind of money is a very wise business decision."
Browning's sponsors include Mercury Marine — which is prominent on his boat design - Triton Boats, Lowrance Electronics, Berkley Fishing, Flowmaster Mufflers, St. Croix rods and Motorguide trolling motors.