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1St Fishing Tournament Any Tipes?

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I was lucky enough to be able to register in the BASS Central Open #2 on the Arkansas River this coming September.  This will be my first tournament ever, and I registered as a co-angler since I've never fished in a tournament.  I know many of the lakes around the area really well as I am from Muskogee but I've never fished on the river at all.  So my question is does anyone have any advice for first time fishing on a river.  I can't be more specific at the moment because I have no idea where I will be fishing at on the river.  I'm going to assume that my tackle will consist of crank baits, worms, and perhaps some spinner baits.  Also since this is my first time as a co-angler would a $100 bill be a sufficient amount to provide the boat owner to cover his cost?  Also any other additional tips on co-angler edict would be welcome.  



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Fish what you are most comfortable with that best suits the conditions you're facing. During a tournament isn't a good time to be trying to learn how to do something new unless your boater is just killing them on something. I've never fished there but I believe most tournaments on the Arkansas River are won flipping shallow cover so be prepared to do that. Shallow cranks and spinnerbaits are also popular in most river tournaments and so are frogs if there's vegetation.

As far as the amount just ask your boater what he thinks is fair. Depending on the amount of running he does he may want more or less than that. I'd say that's more than a lot of co-anglers are willing to offer though. I've had my share of "thanks" and nothing else at the end of the day so anything is better than that. 

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Don't cast ahead of the windshield. That was the #1 lesson I learned as a non boater fishing in a tournament.

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Thanks guys I appreciate it.  I am most comfortable with spinner baits and buzz baits.  I've been working on learning to fish a swim jig.  I actually managed to get into a local tournament as a boater this coming weekend so I'm hoping for a good chance and practicing my skills with swim jigs.  A big thanks about the casting forward thing.  I normally stick to the side or behind the seats.

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The swim jig should work well in Black/Blue as I just fished a BFL event out of Golconda on the Ohio river and my boater started out with topwater lures and I started with the topwater also but switched to the swim jig and nailed my first 2 fish. He also threw a 5/16 oz jig which was light enough to drift into current seams and catch a limit along the bank.


Good luck!!

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1. Bring extra reels in case you backlash or one breaks.

2. Travel light as you can by limiting your rods to no more than six. Four would be better if possible.

3. Google the river where you will be fishing to read all fishing reports and note the baits, techniques and places to fish.

4. Start with a topwater of your choice and then switch to moving baits then plastics.

5. You can mimic the boater or throw different baits as the boater to see what works the best and the fastest.

6.  Don't panic. Keep fishing even if you have none or just one.

7.  Concentrate. If the boater catches one then that may be the pattern and you switch out to that pattern.

8. Bring the least amount of plastics and moving baits but in many colors as possible.

9. Bring lunch, snacks and drinks.

10. Don't forget needle nose pliers, polarized sunglasses your cap, PFD, sun screen lotion or your BUM.

11. Know how to net a fish. Ask boater where the net is kept so you can get to it fast. Some guys have preferential ways to net a fish so ask the boater how he likes his fish netted.

12. Bring your scale and a culling system along with a pen and paper so you can write down the ball's color and the fish's weigh which will help you cull faster.

13. Check the weather and bring a rain suit.

14. Depending on the boater he may or may not want to talk. The pros don't talk much. They are fishing machines as this is their career.

15. Get a map of the river and try to  note places that look good. Also check out the river on Google Earth.

16. Bring a watch or cell phone with the time. Help the boater with the time of the weigh-ins so you will not be late.

17. Be as quiet as possible.

18. Before blastoff let the boater know if you want a back seat or not. Some guys are willing to stand all day to have the extra room. I suggest a back seat in case you want to rest.

19. If you are not good at backing the trailer onto the ramp tell the boater so he can set up the truck and trailer and you can pull him out to a safe spot.

20. Depending on the boat brand, be careful of any "well" area by the motor that you could step into and lose your balance and fall out of the boat.


Good luck and please let us know how you do.


One last suggestion: the pros will be willing to sign your cap and have your picture taken with them. Just smile and ask politely.

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Sam thanks for the information.  I had not even thought about a culling system.  I don't have one so I guess I'll be off to Bass Pro to find something.

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