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Catt

Does tournament angling make you a better angler?

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First let me clarify that this is not a post to bad mouth tournament anglers but rather a post giving inexperienced anglers an opportunity to understand bass fishing a little better.

While some may contend that tournament angling helps you to improve your skills faster by placing the angler under various conditions and often times on various lakes. My contention has always been if this were true why are there so many anglers who are constantly on the bottom at every tournament.

To be a successful angler you first must have the basic skills, these skills however are not how to wiggle your worm, the size of your boat, or the number of rods on the deck.

To be a successful angler you must have the following skills; finding/reading & understanding why bass relate to structure, understanding bait fish from the cradle to the grave, understanding the impact weather condition play on a daily basis, these are just a few.

I can quickly tell which anglers truly understand bass fishing by listening to them talk, if the conversation is centered on I should have bought KVD's lure or I should have bought this Ike's reel then I would have been more successful.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got; many times I have been told to quit saying this because they believe it to be a negative statement; in my angling career it is a positive.

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Catt,

Yes and no.

Yes - You get to learn a body of water from the viewpoint of another angler and also various baits and techniques to fish.  Plus other places to locate fish.

Club tournaments and small private tournament are the best to gain knowledge.

After the tournament, just listening to the other guys will also give you some additional tips.

No - If you are a non-boater and have a jerk as a boater you will not only not catch fish but you will have a miserable time.

Oveall, tournament fishing is a wonderful way for fellowship and to learn more about what the other guys throw and how they fish.  ;D

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The ones that really want to better angler move up.

Every year you see somebody make a big splash I call it the Hummer effect new 22ft bassboat, 20 highend rods and reels all the bling thats just some peoples nature they will be flying kites or boat racing next year.

It's the bottom 2/3 of the field that make tournaments, theres people working their way up and people working their way down.

It's almost impossible to fish tournaments and not be a better angler, some are driven to the top and others are happy at their level.

Garnet

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I believe it will pending on the mindset of the person trying to become a better angler.

As Sam mentioned, an angler will get exposed to different techniques. First hand experience is the best.

Some the best learning experiences I have had weren't during a tournament. There can be a lot of stress that can hinder learning on tournament days. They were on days fishing with anglers I met through tournament fishing or some of the guys here on Bass Resource. Everybody has something they can teach you if you are willing to let them.

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Catt it is hard for me to answer this as I have always sterred clear of competative fishing. I only go by my actual experience, for me it is getting an open mind and learning from all the fellas here who bring things to the table I do not see or pay attenion to.

Actual water time , once I knew the basics is what does it fro me. I can not answer this question from the other perspective.

I have fished with a couple of fellas this way, who fish in various club tournys and out fished them, who knows what that means.

 As for your syaing. I am 100% with it, Ike said something I add onto it, because Catt I use your saying a lot when I fish.

 Ike talked about not always fishing what you know, ( Your history) but fishing right whats in front of you. Both of your observations were just as important as lure selection this year 8-)

 

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I think it makes you a better angler for the above reasons.  It very much immulates golf.  You have your local guy that wins all the tournaments on his home course and takes all the money on daily games.  Yet he goes to another course and is just so-so.  

You also have the guy that wins a lot of tournaments around the area but when he goes to the state amateur or regional event, he can't break an egg, let alone break par.  A lot depends on how one handles pressure.  Some people thrive on it and some people choke on it.  (see Memphis in last year's NCAA basketball final).   :)

Some people are made for tournament competition and some people just enjoy relaxed fishing, golf, bowling, etc.

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Being a tournament angler does not make you better IMHO.

Being around good tournament anglers MAY make you better.

Like Catt said, an angler that has the basic skills can learn vast amounts from more seasoned anglers, but that too works in reverse.

Sticking with one or two techniques all the time, no matter the conditions, will almost certainly lead to overall failure.

Branching out and learning new techniques, learning how to FIND fish, then how to present a bait to them so they will eat it, those are the key.

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Since were on this topic.... Who would you consider to be the better "ANGLER." The guy that goes out and consistently finds and lands "tournament" size bass. Or the guy that goes out and lands Large fish Sporadically. Also if tournament fishing isnt the best way to become a better angler, What is?

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its made me worse in the short term.

now I over analyize everything and throw stuff I wouldn't normally throw because someone else is catching fish on it.

and it makes me scramble though my box and think about the next lure and why I shouldn't throw what I'm now throwing.

All the above is why I love tournaments.

I am a better person because of it in the long run

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It may hurt an angler more than it helps them.

Without the basic understanding that you discussed an angler would be better off hiring a guide to put him on the fish. The old saying "Catching is easy" holds true. It is the finding and developing of patterns that seperate the men from the boys.

Probably half of the participants in larger bass tournaments have no business being there. They fish memories, and that is a killer. These bottom dwelers as such will never be a player and only when hell freezes over do they ever have a shot at drawing a good check muchless win one of the things.

Most of them cannot win consistantly in their own bass clubs, but still they throw their money down dreaming of winning the big ones. They have no idea how hard it is to travel, fish lakes they have never seen, and still they wonder what happened. All they need to do is take a look at themselves for the answer.

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Location trumps everything else...75% of success

is finding where the bass are, then lure selection

and presentation come into play. The wrong lure

in the right place will (usually) produce a few bites;

the right lure at the wrong location is a losing proposition.

8-)

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IN additional to what I said above, I have to add that I LOVE tournament angling even though it MAY not make you better.

I also gotta agree with RW and like I mentioned, locating/finding, then getting them to bite is the key to successful bass angling no matter if your fishing a tournament or for fun.

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its made me worse in the short term.

now I over analyize everything and throw stuff I wouldn't normally throw because someone else is catching fish on it.

and it makes me scramble though my box and think about the next lure and why I shouldn't throw what I'm now throwing.

All the above is why I love tournaments.

I am a better person because of it in the long run

You just answered your on question. It is the location, not the lure. If you draw a partner that is on fish you should be asking the question why here, now, and what next instead of lure choises. Lures are nothing but tools. I see here plentyof people asking what is their favorite lure or technique. I have no favorites, what ever the fish want that minute is my favorite and it can change quickly and often.

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Since were on this topic.... Who would you consider to be the better "ANGLER." The guy that goes out and consistently finds and lands "tournament" size bass. Or the guy that goes out and lands Large fish Sporadically. Also if tournament fishing isnt the best way to become a better angler, What is?

I'll take a limit of keeper bass every day of the year and wear out the guy that catches a big fish every now and then.

What makes you better is hours of map study combined with on the water observations, learning to detect patterns, knowing when they are changing, being able to break and run 15 miles on a whim to fish for one fish, and having the time and money to stay on the water.(Just a few).

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As Fishfordollars said

"Probably half of the participants in larger bass tournaments have no business being there. They fish memories, and that is a killer. These bottom dwelers as such will never be a player and only when hell freezes over do they ever have a shot at drawing a good check muchless win one of the things."

this is what makes tournaments so good

you only have to beat half of the participants the other half are already beat

they just add money to the pot

although its not for the money for me

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As Fishfordollars said

"Probably half of the participants in larger bass tournaments have no business being there. They fish memories, and that is a killer. These bottom dwelers as such will never be a player and only when hell freezes over do they ever have a shot at drawing a good check muchless win one of the things."

this is what makes tournaments so good

you only have to beat half of the participants the other half are already beat

they just add money to the pot

although its not for the money for me

Yep, they do bump up the winnings.

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I'll take a limit of keeper bass every day of the year and wear out the guy that catches a big fish every now and then.

Well, I think that's just personal preference, I'm completely opposite.

I'd rather catch one 8 lb fish than a boatload of "tournament bass".

8-)

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I agree that it's location and lots of guys get the location.

Then it's the better anglers that win on the location. Even your local winners will produce more fish  on any location. They will make minor adjustments and just allways catch that few more fish.

And if they move on to other lakes they will catchup quick.

Garnet

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As I mentioned in my opening statement this is not a cut against tournament anglers or tournaments.

Yes you can learn from the top anglers but not everyone can fish with the top anglers; if you fish with someone who knows all the proper techniques, all the best baits, and yet does not know what to do with them these anglers will teach you nothing but make you feel like they did. If the blind lead the blind they both fall in the ditch!

It's not just about tournament anglers but all anglers; if y'all don't understand the basics of finding structure or finding bait fish all the rest doesn't matter. Look at the topics posted here, how many members ask questions concerning finding/reading structure or understanding the predominate bait fish on a given body of water? Oh I enjoy talking techniques, lures, & such but are we really helping someone become a better angler? When I'm asked why are you so successful, I try to explain it bit it goes straight over most guy's heads and immediately they start on the lures, rods, reels ECT.

Hawk to answer your questions; who I would consider a better angler the tournament guy or the big bass guy, I would have to say the guy who consistently achieves his goal. Second if tournament fishing isn't the best way to become a better angler, what is? I'm not saying you can't become a better angler by fishing tournaments but if you don't understand the basics you will never become a better angler.

I also here don't fish your history fish what's in front of you; this to an extent is true but you history is what gives you the confidence to make the proper adjustments on game day.  

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I'll take a limit of keeper bass every day of the year and wear out the guy that catches a big fish every now and then.

Well, I think that's just personal preference, I'm completely opposite.

I'd rather catch one 8 lb fish than a boatload of "tournament bass".

8-)

Me too if I am just fishing. Tournaments for me are a different deal entirely. I go for a limit and then try to upgrade.

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I agree that it's location and lots of guys get the location.

Then it's the better anglers that win on the location. Even your local winners will produce more fish on any location. They will make minor adjustments and just allways catch that few more fish.

And if they move on to other lakes they will catchup quick.

Garnet

It is usually the locals that will pop a large sack the first day of a tournament. History shows that they fade down the strech on days two and three. Again, they fish memories and wear out their fish, have not done their home work, and do not have enough fish to sustain them for three days. Exceptions are rare.

I'm am in no way refering to the Tommy Martins or David Whartons, these are traveling tournament pros. I am refering to the local jackpoters that jump in and only fish a large tournament when it comes to their home lake. If you notice even the local guides seldom finish up high in these.

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Also you can't get better fishing big tourneys when the top 10 anglers don't share their secrets.

All you see is bass and you can't get better looking at a bag of bass

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I'll take a limit of keeper bass every day of the year and wear out the guy that catches a big fish every now and then.

Well, I think that's just personal preference, I'm completely opposite.

I'd rather catch one 8 lb fish than a boatload of "tournament bass".

8-)

Me too if I am just fishing. Tournaments for me are a different deal entirely. I go for a limit and then try to upgrade.

My tournament philosophy used to be the same, get a limit then try to find a kicker.

Not any longer.

I fish to win every tournament. I target winning fish because I know EVERY tournament has good sticks and someone is going to catch them.

Personally, I'm not satisifed with just acheiving a limit if a paycheck does not go with it.

It has worked for me, may not be for everyone, to each his own I guess ;)

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Yes thats very true locals fade, and then they come to Erie and locals lay a beating on the touring pros (Steve Clapper) and most of the top 10.

So the pro's wimper and take out the local jack potters that they were happy to take there money from.

It still remains that the local stick is a very good angler and will extract more fish they most locals and when the touring pro jack pots a local tourney they get wacked just as often.

Garnet

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Catt wrote:

To be a successful angler you must have the following skills; finding/reading & understanding why bass relate to structure, understanding bait fish from the cradle to the grave, understanding the impact weather condition play on a daily basis, these are just a few.

This is a great thread.

Interestingly, KVD won AOY (I believe) in his rookie year. He won or placed high in tournaments on lakes he'd never fished before at 23 years of age. How'd he do that? (Hint: He comes from a serious angling family, and he's a sharp decision maker).

I assume (having never fished a T) that tournament fishing can make an good angler better, through exposure to diff waters and anglers. But, in and of itself, Ts won't likely make the angler.

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