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clark9312

First Tournament, Need Advice!!

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Me and my buddy joined a club this year as partners. We have fished together before and both have fished most of the lakes we will be fishing this year. I was just wondering if there is anything I should know about tournament fishing. I have heard guys say its a whole new ball game and im just wondering if there is anything I should be prepared for going in to the tournaments. All tips are welcomed!!!

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Dont listen to dock talk, 95% of it is lies. Never quit either, five mins can put a limit in the boat. You might feel like you will never make it only to have it happen fifteen mins before you must return to the launch. Pay attention to every detail you get, pay attention to the birds, the surface activity, wheres the gills/gulls.

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People act differently when money is involved. Don't be intimidated. Dock talk is very cliquish. You'll eventually figure out where you fit in. Check the condition of the fish in the livewell periodically. Keeping your catch alive is most important. Make sure your livewells are clean and pumps are working before you hit the lake. I net every fish. I'd hate to lose a keeper swinging one in. My son and I have a system and we fish well together. Hopefully you and your bud can develop a system that works for you. We can predict each others moves and actions.  Most importantly, have fun.

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There's definitely more pressure and the feeling of being under the gun. Don't let it get to you or anything else for that matter. If you lose a good fish don't let it get you down and take you out of the game even for a few minutes. In a tournament time is limited so any time you aren't fishing at 100% you are wasting. Also, a jhoffman said never quit. There have been days where you might hardly catch a thing all day and then within 20 minutes of heading back in you catch 4 or 5. Another word of advice, don't chase other fishermen. People have a tendency to watch other anglers when they aren't catching and they start trying to copy someone they see catch a fish. Just stay confident and stick to what you think is going to catch them.

 

A few other things to keep in mind; if something can go wrong it will go wrong in a tournament. Make sure you keep everything well maintained to minimize these occurrences. On that note, if you don't normally carry tools or extra fuses, wire, TM prop (and TM prop nut and sheer pins), etc. you need to get a kit together. Hopefully you never need it, but it sure can come in handy if you do. Make sure you pack plenty of water/Gatorade. You will be fishing during the hottest part of the day and you need to stay on your game all day long. You don't want your day to end early because of dehydration and the symptoms that come with it.

 

For the year as a hole, set some goals for yourself. Make sure they're realistic and not something like coming out and winning every tournament. At the end of the year assess how you did and where you need to improve.

 

Above all else though, remember you are still there to have fun so make it fun. If you're not catching fish don't be a grump in the boat and make it miserable for one another.

 

Best of luck to you and your partner! Keep us informed on how you do!

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There's definitely more pressure and the feeling of being under the gun. Don't let it get to you or anything else for that matter. If you lose a good fish don't let it get you down and take you out of the game even for a few minutes.

Easier said than done. When that big one come off at the side of the boat it can play over and over in our minds the rest of the day. The "I shoulda done this different or I coulda done that better" can eat at even the best of us.

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Easier said than done. When that big one come off at the side of the boat it can play over and over in our minds the rest of the day. The "I shoulda done this different or I coulda done that better" can eat at even the best of us.

very very true you have to train yourself to be mentally tough

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Personally, I simply try to have fun, and do what I'd normally do.  The only difference is not wasting time not fishing.That, and get some practice time in.  On bigger lakes, you want to have your routing times down, so you don't get caught with a late penalty.  Other than that, just be prepared  - have your gear ready, and livewells working and treatments ready to go.

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Good luck and have fun! I hope to try my hand in some local club tournaments this year just to try and learn with some more experienced fishermen/women. There are a LOT of great articles here: http://www.bassresource.com/fishing-tournament-tips/

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Easier said than done. When that big one come off at the side of the boat it can play over and over in our minds the rest of the day. The "I shoulda done this different or I coulda done that better" can eat at even the best of us.

 

I lost an 8lb fish at a lunker once right at the boat. I about went iconelli

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You'll build a routine and system with your partner. It's fun watching it progress as a team. Keep an eye on your fish in the livewell, have a system so you know what each fish weighs so you can quickly catch & cull the small ones. Net every fish. Develop a game plan before you hit the water but be sure to make adjustments for the fishing that day and how the fish are behaving. Me and my partner will usually fish two different methods when in "search mode" and looking to boat a few early ones. I am very confident when cranking and he is very confident with jigging/drop-shotting. So we usually start out that way (with our confidence baits) and then dial it in from there on whats working/what's not working.

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Thanks for the help guys. I think we will do ok we both really just want to become better fisherman and I think this will help a lot.

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Is it a team event where your weights are combined or individual score?

Strategy is different for one or the other. When I fished team/combined weight events, I fished for big fish and my partner used finesse tactics to fill the limit. We were very successful that way.

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Have fun

Don't give up

Be confident in your ability (last thing you want is to be trying stuff you don't have confidence in when it counts)

Be sure everything is well taken care of great days can't start without the basics covered.

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Some great posts and suggestions already given!  I'll repeat some of my favorites and add a couple new.

 

1)  The tourney doesn't end until it ends, so don't give up!!  I caught a limit in the last 20 minutes of the day in a tournament and caught my limit fish during the last 5 minutes of a tournament quite a few times. 

 

2)  Dock talk is 100% bull crap, 100% of the time!  Never listen and fall for advise given at tournaments.  This is my #1 piece of advise.  Fish your strength, not what you hear (dock talk again).  It will take you longer to be a successful tournament fisherman but when you get there, you'll be well-rounded and ready for more situations.  Even if dock talk was true, it may only work for the fisherman that gave the advise.  It took me a long time to learn but you feel a sense of accomplishment when it's earned, not given. 

 

3)  Compete against the fish, conditions, season, etc. don't compete against others.  This will help you overcome the nerves of competing against seasoned veterans and the local pros. 

 

4)  This kinda refers to #2, but don't give your hard earned knowledge away.  Remember, if you haven't asked others for their information, why should you give yours away.  Give your knowledge to kids or non tournament people but not to someone who competes against you.

 

5)  If you are on a solid pattern, losing a fish should not bother you at all.  If you are junk-fishing and not getting bit, then....Houston, we have a problem!

 

6)  You will be nervous, learn to channel it.  I get nervous every time I compete, every time.  I'm hardwired that way and it's just the way it is.  I learned to channel it by staying focused and fishing hard the first hour of the morning until it subsides.  It's a good thing to be nervous, it keeps you mentally sharp.  When my nerves stop, I'll quit fishing!  Enjoy it, it means you have determination to succeed.

 

7)  Obviously have your boat in top condition for every tournament.  Do all your pre checks and do them twice.  I always have fresh line on every rod for every tournament.  I may skip restringing a rod if I didn't use it last time but every rod gets fresh line, every tournament, it's imperative for me.  I don't understand having 10-15 rod/reel combos that cost $500 each and be cheap on line!  Go fun fishing with old line, otherwise I'll take your money when you lose a fish because you are using last years mono.  It's like taking candy from my kids  :i-scream-for-ice-cream-41:  

 

8)  If you practiced, found fish, and they're gone tournament day.  You may have psyched yourself out!  Unless they are smallies, the Largemouth are most likely still there.  Move in, out, change bait, but don't abandon a productive spot too fast.  If you leave, come back in a couple hours and try again.  Over the years, my experiences tell me the bass are there the next day or two.

 

9)  There is no lunch hour during a tournament.  Eat while running or in a no-wake area or between casts.  I put the sandwich on my butt seat between bites.  I'd throw my partner off the boat if he sat down, and he'd do the same to me!  If your partner wants to sit, tell him you'll buy dinner afterwards and he can sit then.

 

10)  Always congratulate the winner(s), it's shows sportsmanship and it's the right thing to do, every time.  Soon you'll be getting congratulated.  Being cocky/snobbish is not acceptable at tournaments, don't be like those guys.  Congratulating the winner shows confidence, even if you caught 1 dink that day.

 

Ok, that's a lot to digest for a first tournament.  It is meant to be fun, so try to keep it that way.  Being competitive is fun, so is cashing checks for fishing, so take your day seriously and have fun at it.  I joke with my partner all day long but we fish non-stop for all 8 hours.

 

FL      

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Everybody pretty much said everything I have to say, but I'm bored so I'm gonna say it anyways.

1. BE PREPARED.

Make sure to check the boat over and check the livewell. The last thing you want is to be broke down. Make sure batteries are charged and trolling motor works. These are little things that have crept up and bitten me before.

If you are using line that has been on the reel for a while. Make darn sure that you have checked for Knicks and dings and have cut some off of needed. I typically use all new leaders for tournament fishing and ill cut a few feet of the braid off.

USE SHARP HOOKS! Either tie new ones on or take time to sharpen them before and during the day.

HAVE A PLAN. I like to prefish when I can. Have a plan B.

BRING A LUNCH AND EAT WHILE YOU RIDE. Somebody mentioned no wake zones. That's a good idea.

2. STAY FOCUSED AND DON'T GET RATTLED.

Take what the fish give you and stick with YOUR PLAN UNTIL IT TIME TO ADJUST. If you lose a fish, or see others catching while your are not, you gotta stay confident and keep pushing.

I think everybody else said it, don't listen to dock talk. I prefer to say my hellos and get on my boat and get ready. I don't want to hear anything that's gonna make me doubt what I plan to do.

Keep an open mind, theres nothin wrong with adjustments. Knowing when to change something and when to stay the course is the difference in a food angler and a great one. But don't overthink it, it will just take away from your focus and confidence.

3.HAVE FUN. fishing is fun. No need to creat a mini drama in your head. Just go out and have a good time.

Have fun, focus, and don't waste as Mich time was we normally do on a fun fishing day.

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Sorry for all of the spelling errors. RaiderNationFisher is rubbing off on me.

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Is it a team event where your weights are combined or individual score?

Strategy is different for one or the other. When I fished team/combined weight events, I fished for big fish and my partner used finesse tactics to fill the limit. We were very successful that way.

Yes our weights are combined.

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Go to the bathroom (sit) right before you leave the house.

Can't tell you how many times I have gone through my checklist over and over in the morning at home, only to realize once the fishing starts that I forgot to handle business that day.

You'll be able to hold it but could mess you up mentally all day.

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Can't add any more than has already been said.  The only thing I will add is if you enjoy the process everything else will come to you.  :)

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Have fun.

 

Slow Down.

 

Never leave fish to find other fish.

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Go to the bathroom (sit) right before you leave the house.

Can't tell you how many times I have gone through my checklist over and over in the morning at home, only to realize once the fishing starts that I forgot to handle business that day.

You'll be able to hold it but could mess you up mentally all day.

This is why I don't drink coffee on tourney day. I also eat lite the day before.

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Never ever fish to fill a limit...you in it to win it!

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^yuuup!

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I struggled for a while tournament fishing, until I basicly said "F-it" and just treated a tournament day like anyother day on the water and just went fishing, I do a lot better since adopting that mentality. Don't take it too serious, it's just for beer/play money and bragging rights.

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Everyone gave you great advice! Some of these guys gave me similar advice last year and it paid off.

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