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KentuckyFriedAngler

Getting into Tournament Fishing

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So I've been fishing most of my life but mostly for fun and for catfish. In the last year or so I have started bass fishing and I love it! so not that I feel like I have gotten some basics down and am becoming more and more successful doing it i want to start watching and following pro tournaments and then try to compete in some myself. So how would I go about starting to watch them and follow whats going on. Like I don't know if there is one league like football or really anything. So a place to start would be helpful.

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One resource for tournament information: https://www.bassmaster.com/

You can also watch some of the tournaments live and on demand. This is one the Bassmaster Elite Series had on the Tidal Potomac River in the not too distant past:

https://www.bassmaster.com/video/live-archive-potomac-river

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Haven't fished tournaments in many years and then it was only local/club/regional stuff.

I can tell you how to have a small fortune with tournament fishing - start with a large fortune !

Not bragging by any means, please believe that, but my tournament partner and I won literally half the events we fished for over seven years. Considering entry fees, gas on tournament days for the truck and boat and gas for pre fishing, plus incidentals, we did the math - we broke even. And that was with winning half the time ! We had a good time and fished for free, That was the extent of it.

Just look at the names for the big tournament series. The names change to protect the innocent as all but a select few come to the realization that for the most part they are "donors/contributors" and after a short while they give it up. Admittedly, there are a handful that do well over a long period of time but that is very rare. Plus , admit it or not, they are plain out better than most of us.

Not saying don't try some local clubs/opens. It's a lot of fun and you may learn a lot, but keep your head screwed on right and don't give up your day job !

Don't mean to burst your bubble, just don't want to see you hurt.

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Before you just decide to "jump" into a pro circuit, after fishing bass for a couple years, and watching other anglers. I would recommend that you join a draw club on the local level first. Get some live experience, some tourney know how, and learn from all the different people you get to fish with within that club. Before you start to drop the big money on a pro trail. Pro trails are quite expensive to enter for one, for two,.. difficult to prefish all those different water bodies as they are usually spread out throughout the states. For three,.. you would be fishing against pro's that have been doing this for many years,.. they have most likely fished these waters, have areas that are hard to compete against already programmed to their own memories,.. never mind their gps's. Also, there is alot more to tourney fishing than meets the eye. What would that be? the traveling, lodging, where are you to eat? etc. all these can be a major distraction from the fishing itself. If your distracted just one bit? say goodbye to your entry fee, time spent prefishing, lodging fees from prefishing,... etc. 

Tourney fishing on a club level can be alot more than what one would think all on its own.,.,. To start off on a pro circuit? how can i put it?,...oh, would you enter into nascar racing unknowingly with a  stock 1973 ford pinto?? I hope not,...would you hit the salt flats for a motorcycle land speed record with a shwinn ten speed. I doubt it. Are you going to challenge Oscar Del Lahoya to a ten round fight after accidentally stepping on your neighbors toe? Not likely.

Granted these are going extreme, but I think you get the point. "CAN" you enter a pro circuit? sure you can, They will allow you to put up that entry fee in an open,...How will you do? No one can say for sure as strange things can happen. But Id liken to batting in the big leagues against Pedro Martinez during his prime, after you just hit a home run, in your local softball league. 

Not purposely disrespecting you at all,... just those are my thoughts and analogies about anybody new to bass tourney fishing,.. going pro, after just watching pro's fish

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To be clear I just want to do it lacally for fun and practice I love competitive sports. I don't have intentions of trying to go pro, but it ever happen id take it lol. Thanks for the advice.

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Then by all means join a draw club. its worth it, fun, and will really give you the experience you will need if you ever decide to turn pro

 

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What's your states legal limit?

Toledo Bend is 8 per day with a 14" minimum

Can you limit out every time you're on the water?

There are two types of tournament anglers, those that draw a check consistently & those that donate entry fees!

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9 hours ago, KentuckyFriedAngler said:

I live in Kentucky and the limits here is 6 per day with a 12" minimum - on a side note how do you individually reply to comments. Also thank you everyone.

 

Do you want to just compete or do you want to be competitive?

Most tournaments allow a 5 bass stringer, ideally you want 5 in the live well & cull up 3 times (3 of the 5) or 4 decent fish & a kicker.

To reply to individual comments you can quote the if there comment isn't to long or just us "@" & their name.

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5 hours ago, Catt said:

Do you want to just compete or do you want to be competitive?

Most tournaments allow a 5 bass stringer, ideally you want 5 in the live well & cull up 3 times (3 of the 5) or 4 decent fish & a kicker.

To reply to individual comments you can quote the if there comment isn't to long or just us "@" & their name.

Thanks and as of right now I want to just compete to get my feet wet and learn. I understand bass fishing is a tough sport and hard to finish in the money consistently so for now I'm avoiding any super serious tournaments and just want to try to learn locally and try to win around here and slowly move out, if that makes sense.

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The hardest thing for most anglers getting into tournament fishing is being completely truthful with themselves as to their abilities.

You have to know your strengths & accept your weaknesses!

One misconception is that to be successful you must be versatile, as in knowing every technique.

While that is helpful it is not really necessary

What you NEED to be versatile at is fishing your strengths in various weather & water conditions!

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Another thing that you will need a lot of is TIME.  You will need to pre fish for days in advance.  You can't go into a tournament blind and adapt on the fly.  Pre fish the body of water for days ahead and develop a pattern that will hopefully help you during the tournament.  Not pre fishing is just asking to fail.

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   Dont allow us to intimidate you, we all had to start somewhere. The points stated above are good points, and things to consider. But, If this is what you really want, I highly recommend that you seek out a "draw" format club in your area. It will be a good format to learn the tourney scene and isn't anywhere near the pro circuit.      You may have to join B.A.S.S., or some other org. Then pay up club fees and dues, usually to cover permit costs, and any other fees saw fit by the perspective club. Usually a couple hundred or even less should get you in and a good start. Check out the tourney circuits nearby and give it a shot., At the very least you will learn some things you dont know now

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