Fishing & Boating News

Brad Novak Wins GoPro Best Catch Contest

by: Helen White, Bassmaster

Brad Novak Wins GoPro Best Catch Contest
Photo by courtesy B.A.S.S.
(Nov 19, 2015 - Birmingham, AL)  Brad Novak gets up most mornings of the week at 4 a.m. and walks to the Chicago River from his home in a downtown skyscraper to fish for bass. The video he shot of his catch one morning this summer made him the grand-prize winner in the GoPro Best Catch Contest Powered by Bassmaster.
“I’m very shocked and very excited,” said Novak, 25, who works as an operations analyst at an investment firm.
For his win, Novak will receive a boat-and-motor package worth $57,989. He gets a 2015 Nitro Z 21 boat, a Mercury 250-horsepower ProXS motor, two Humminbird 1199 electronics, a Minn Kota Fortrex trolling motor and two 12-foot Talon Shallow Water Anchors.
“Right now, I only have a two-seater Sun Dolphin with a 30-pound trolling motor on it,” Novak said, “so this is a huge, huge upgrade.”
Novak just got his first GoPro four months ago so he could capture video of the things he likes to do in summer, such as fishing, boating and Jet Skiing. When he saw the GoPro Best Catch Contest, he set out to make the best video he could. That’s when he started walking to the river in the mornings.
“I saw a lot of the videos in the contest and thought they were really good, especially some of the underwater ones,” Novak said. “But none of them had skyscrapers. The lighting, the setting and the surroundings here were really good for capturing something different.
“Plus, most people don’t believe that anybody catches fish out of there,” Novak said. Now, there’s evidence to prove that they do.
Novak has been one of the beneficiaries of a recent city project to make the Chicago River more accessible to anglers. Before, the platforms rose too high over the water to be able to fish, but now three blocks have opened up to make it much easier for anglers.
He made the trip to the river with his GoPro attached to his rod with a Sportsman Mount multiple mornings, but he kept coming home fishless.
“I was trying to catch a fish for this competition, and I couldn’t get a bite,” he said. “So when I got this one, it was almost more exciting than normal because I finally had it.” He went home around 6 a.m. that day elated that he’d caught the 3-pounder.
One of the reasons he goes so early is to avoid the crowds — and the questions.
“Once it gets 6 o’clock or so, there’s tons of people out walking and asking all kinds of questions,” Novak said. “I’ll get asked at least a dozen times, ‘There’s actually fish in there?’ and ‘Do you eat them?’ So I like to get there before the rush.”
Novak currently has the dog harness mount and the Sportsman mount for his GoPro, but he’s about to get a lot more as part of his prize package. “I have no idea what I’m going to do with all of it,” Novak said, “but I think between me and friends, we can find some good uses for it all.”
In the contest, entrants uploaded raw, unedited video of their bass fishing catches. One winner was chosen each month of the five-month contest, and the winners received a prize package of GoPro products valued at $2,469.43. The package included a GoPro HERO4 Camera Black Edition—Adventure, 21 mounts/clamps/straps for holding a GoPro at the perfect angle, filters, batteries, replacement kits and more.
Each monthly winner was chosen based on cinematography/composition, perspective/degree of difficulty, character and catch, and overall beauty and lighting. Then, the five monthly winners were judged against each other for the grand prize.
Novak was one of the monthly winners in contention for the grand prize. Other monthly winners were Tyler Anderson of Lakeway, Texas; Jim Moretti of Howell, N.J.; Wilfredo Lugo-Sanchez of Pottstown, Pa.; and Hiroaki Tada of Irvine, Calif.
“This contest was a great opportunity for us to see the amazing footage bass anglers were capturing with their GoPros,” said Todd Ballard, senior director of lifestyle marketing for GoPro. “With entries from all over the United States and tons of creativity and epic catches, getting to one winner wasn’t easy.”
The contest administrators had already awarded a winner for the grand prize, but the winning entry was later ruled ineligible.
The GoPro Best Catch Contest Powered by Bassmaster ran from March 15 to Aug. 15. The judges included seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam, B.A.S.S. co-owner Jerry McKinnis, and Bassmaster emcees Dave Mercer and Tommy Sanders.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines,  Bassmaster website , television show ,The Bassmasters, social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.