Head 2 Head fishing tournaments grabbing sports spotlight

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Out on the water, it's all eyes on the prize in the Head 2 Head fishing tournament series. The sport has become a 1-on-1 endeavor, and it's quite the sight to behold with live cameras chronicling every bite and battle.

Anglers are in the spotlight with the Head to Head tournament series, which this week is conducting the "Bago Beat Down" walleye tournament.

"For better or worse they started this up at the perfect time," said Oshkosh angler Curt Grable, who won a previous Head 2 Head event. "You can have 16 guys all spread out with a camera man and still be able to do some sort of fishing competition, and then to do it live, where people can watch. It's awesome."

"Being a competitive angler, it's nice to have an option to get out there and still compete," said Oshkosh angler Jake Lapine.

Head to Head Marketing Manager Kyle Carpenter has been thrilled to see around 2,100 LIVE viewers each day.

"This series, Head 2 Head, was unintentionally built for COVID-19, for a pandemic," Carpenter said. "It just happened that way."

And this happens to be the first full season of the series that is able to weather the COVID-19 storm.

"Our first event was in March," Carpenter said. "This is our 5th event. We have 9 more events scheduled with plans to expand that."

Sports fans who would normally be transfixed with the Bucks in the NBA Playoffs run are now getting their fishing fix right now.

"That feels pretty scary," said angler Kevin Dahlhauser of being in the spotlight. "I'm not as good as any of those Bucks guys, but we try hard and that's really all you can do fishing."

"It's great," said Oshkosh angler R.J. Harwood. "It's nice to be out there competing. But its also nice for everybody at home. It gives them something to watch and something to do. There are no sports on TV, and there are a lot of fans of the sports that are able to watch it."

"It's a huge spotlight on this because there's not a whole lot else going on," Grable said.

"It's crazy to see the support we've been getting online," Carpenter said. "Everybody wanted normalcy. We try to follow all the COVID restrictions, keeping guys 6 feet apart, and we meet at a Park and Ride instead of a boat landing. There is the angler and one camera guy in each boat. The social distancing thing is kind of built right in."