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NHBull

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Tournaments

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Howdy Folk,

My buddy and I just decided to complete in our first season of tournaments.  It is a low pressure and fun series.

  My question is what are some of the biggest lessens learned ......things to do and things to avoid.

Funny stories appreciated.

 Thanks 

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While doing your thing the way you like to do it. Always watch what others are doing.  You can learn a lot about what to do and and what to avoid by being observant.  Listen and don’t talk so much, people will give up information if you just listen.  I always look at an event as a learning experience, and no matter how good you are, you can always learn something.  I learn something new almost every trip and I have been doing it for 50 years.  If you get a chance to fish with others always do it, especially experienced ones.  Good luck

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Dunno if this advice will help you or not NHbull. I kayak tournament fish. Probably the biggest thing I can stress is preparation. Have all your gear sorted, rods and reels maintained w/fresh line & lubed etc. etc. etc. Study the lake your going to fish. How much pre-fishing can you get in?

     Think about how you want to fish it etc. based on time of year. You and your bud figure out a game plan. who's going to run the troller who decides which spots to fish. When to move.

      Like we're going to throw squaredbilled topwaters, spinnerworms, hollowbodied crankin frogs and dropshotting chatterbaits the first hour then flip bushes and work dropoffs (old fashion for ledges) as the sun comes out. Then figure out plan "B" in case the weather turns or the wind blows your plan out the window.   Prior planning prevents tick poor performance. Good performance makes it much more fun when you're successfully pulling off your game plan.

     Be very observant of your surroundings. If your seeing flocks of coots along the edges or in a particular spot. There is likely fresh grass under them. Herons wading, Loons fishing, Shad flipping. Color changes in the water usually indicate a change in bottom composition or depth. 

     Last but not least maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the time on the water with your bud.

FM

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Be prepared and know all rules! I've actually started doing a checklist the day before tourneys because of how many times I've left stuff at home. Keep an eye on the clock, time flies in tourneys.

 

I'll leave the actual fishing advice to others. Good luck and have fun

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Biggest thing is don’t worry about what others are doing. Fish your strengths during a tourney. Remember it’s always you against the fish, not the others in the tourney. You start focusing on them and you will suck. 

 

One thing i have realized over the years is when I fish alone, which I do a lot, is I always catch bigger and more fish then when I have someone in the boat with me. As soon as I get someone else in the boat questioning what I’m doing it’s no longer me against the fish. You are now focusing on them instead of what the fish are telling you. 

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Make sure that your watch matches the tournament director's watch, or the guy's on the check in boat if there is one. That simple thing cost me and a buddy once. If I remember correctly, my watch was off by two minutes with the directors, we were late checking in. I remember showing the guy my watch. He showed me his and basically said his litter box, his rules. I got a little mad at first, but he was right.

 

I guess with cell phones that may be a mute point now, but I still use my watch. Don't want to be fumbling around with my phone. "Riverbasser" is right, time flies in a tournament.

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Biggest lesson learned!

 

As soon as my entry fee hit the table all honey holes dried up!

 

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!

 

How well y'all game plan strengths & weaknesses will determine how successful the team will be.

 

Y'all must fish as a team not two individuals out fishing!

 

When done in unison both anglers can cover water quickly & thoroughly, which allows y'all a greater opportunity to establish patterns faster.

 

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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@Catt, We met and discussed this very topic.  The funny thing, is that our strengths and comfort zones are completely different , but both of us are good enough at our week techniques to adapt as a pattern arises. This actually makes me optimistic 

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@NHBull wonderful opportunity for each to teach the other their strengths. 

 

 While the angler in the front is working a shoreline the guy in the back should be targeting all isolated cover away from the shoreline.

 

When one catches a bass the other should immediately fire a follow up cast to the exact same spot!

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A     bad part about tourney fishing is practice .   Fishing for fun you go out and catch  as many as you can  , practice you want to avoid that .  I always wanted my cake and eat   it too .

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10 minutes ago, scaleface said:

A     bad part about tourney fishing is practice .   Fishing for fun you go out and catch  as many as you can  , practice you want to avoid that .  I always wanted my cake and eat   it too .

 

The key is being consistent...the key consistency is fishing a lot!

 

Stay on the fish by being on the water as much as possible under various conditions.

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When I am fishing a bass tournament the biggest difference from fun fishing is time management and making the right decisions. Where to start fishing is your 1st decision and it's usually critical to how your day sets up. 

I don't focus on what other competitors are doing and concentrate what I and my partner is doing to catch 5 bass.

Pre fish and have a plan and a back up plan, then adjust as need and try not to get over stressed and fish out of your comfort zone.

Make sure you know the tournament rules, start time and weigh in time, check in boat location, minimum size and total number of bass and any out of limit areas like the marina and any restriction regarding distance from other boats.

my 1st club event I checked in early because of the drive home was over 3 hrs and was DQ'd with the winning weight because of a rule.

Tom

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On 3/17/2018 at 11:49 AM, Catt said:

Biggest lesson learned!

 

As soon as my entry fee hit the table all honey holes dried up!

 

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!

 

How well y'all game plan strengths & weaknesses will determine how successful the team will be.

 

Y'all must fish as a team not two individuals out fishing!

 

When done in unison both anglers can cover water quickly & thoroughly, which allows y'all a greater opportunity to establish patterns faster.

 

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!

 

18 hours ago, WRB said:

When I am fishing a bass tournament the biggest difference from fun fishing is time management and making the right decisions. Where to start fishing is your 1st decision and it's usually critical to how your day sets up. 

I don't focus on what other competitors are doing and concentrate what I and my partner is doing to catch 5 bass.

Pre fish and have a plan and a back up plan, then adjust as need and try not to get over stressed and fish out of your comfort zone.

Makexsure you know the tournament rules, start time and weigh in time, check in boat location, minimum size and total number of bass and any out of limit areas like the marina and any restriction regarding distance from other boats.

my 1st club event I checked in early because of the drive home was over 3 hrs and was DQ'd with the winning weight because of a rule.

Tom

 

Ditto and Ditto

 

 

 

 

Mike

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Do some preventative maintenance on your boat! Just because you fish out of it regularly, doesn't mean that it is tournament ready. A broken nav light could delay your launch. A broken kill switch could prevent you from launching altogether. A nonfunctioning livewell pump could ruin your day. If you've been meaning to replace your trolling motor rope or cranking battery or whatever, do it!

 

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1 hour ago, S. Doolittle said:

Do some preventative maintenance on your boat! Just because you fish out of it regularly, doesn't mean that it is tournament ready. A broken nav light could delay your launch. A broken kill switch could prevent you from launching altogether. A nonfunctioning livewell pump could ruin your day. If you've been meaning to replace your trolling motor rope or cranking battery or whatever, do it!

 

All good advice, plus you must have a fire extinguisher, throw cushsion and you and your partner must wear a PDF. Spare clothes, rain gear, fresh line on your reels and organize everything you need during the outing, don't forget water and lunch or snacks. Make sure you and your partner have a current fishing license!

Tom

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Gents,

Thanks for taking the time to share.  All, good stuff!

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