What makes a successful tournament fisherman...As Requested!! 6/19/10
The topic of how to be a successfull tournament fisherman was requested and here is the answer.....There is no method that will always make you successfull. With that said there is several thing that will make you better.
1. Be prepared....Make as many trips to the location of your up coming tournament and keep good acurate notes. Use a wide variety of baits. Sometimes you may be catching decent limits of fish on a bait/technique but never anything over lets say 3 lbs. We all know how important it is to come in with at least one better fish. The difference between first and tenth could be a guy with a limit of 3 lbers and a 6 lb kicker vs the guy with just the limit of 3's. So do your research, dont get caught in the rut of using the same ol same ol just because it catches fish.
2. Have plenty of spots for the day. Sometimes the weather may dictate where we fish, especially on places like the Delta or CL where the weather can almost shut down an area. Another factor may be competition. You may pull up on your first spot of the day and there is another tournament angler there or even a fun fisherman. When I am blasting off I know where I am going to start, and I also know that if I get there and there is someone there I know where my back-up is as well. For a normal day tournament have at least 5 places you can fish under the circumstances of the day.
3. Dont get stressed out. We all love to fish because we love to fish. Most of us move to the tournament level because we feel our skills are ready, others to just see how we match up with everyone else. But the main thing during prefishing and tourament day is to always have fun!! It can be hard when the bite is off or you get a ratty limit or whatever. But lets be honest a day in a tournament is still better than a day of yard work or car washing...
4. The dollar and sense of it...The average tournament is a couple hundred dollars (not including options) plus gas money, and most of the time that is coming right out of the anglers pocket. To the lucky few who have money sponsors congrats, to the rest of us plan ahead! First off you know how much money the tournament or series is that you want to fish so start saving for those entry fees and options. You noticed I have not mentioned gas money, it is because I dont figure gas money into my own budgeting. My theory on this is you would be going fishing anyway right? So in reality there is no EXTRA cost associated with tournments due to gas.If your just starting out and are thinking about fishing the WCB next year as a Co-Angler, then look at their site, figure your total entry fees and start saving. By the time February rolls around your ready as well. The fact is we may get lucky from time to time and make some money fishing in these tournaments but more often than not we donate. So if your single thats great and easy, when your married.....make sure your family is on board with you doing this as it can be a time and money consuming venture. The math is simple, for every KVD or Skeet, there is a thousand other guys donating.
5. The constant donator. Some of us get caught in a rut and it seems as though we are donating more than we are winning. Tournament after tournament same results, just out of the money. My theory on this is to change up. Search for new water, new baits and techniques you may not be utilizing. When I started fishing tournaments I tried all kinds of stuff while the guy I was fishing with was catching a ton on jigs. So I worked on improving my jig technique. By the end of the season I considered myself to be a much better jig fisherman. The next year I started fishing from the front of the boat and in my first tournament I landed two fish over 7 lbs and got third out of 96 boats, both on jigs. It was uncomfortable switching over but I had to, to improve myself as an angler and to move forward. I also started to explore new places. Just beacuse Franks or The Keys holds fish does not mean those are the only fishable places. Look for off shore structure (Big girls love those), look for little changes in the conditons of the tide or structure. At CL you can fish docks all day long then bam a 5 lber out of the blue....Why was that fish there? Figure it out and repeat it. If you look at the resluts of the BASS or FLW you will see a guy every now and again out of place...Who is that guy I have never heard of him...How did he get in the money (must be his home lake or something)...Well the fact is, that guy never gave up! If your finances allow you to keep fishing then do. Dont think of yourself as a donator, look at it as an oportunity to improve yourself, and show everyone out there that you will be a force to be reconed with. I got a check (last paying posistion) in my first tournament, then blanked until the TOC. But I never gave up. The next year a simular story, first tournament a check, picked up some big fish money along the way but nothing else the rest of the year. It can be hard and it can be frustrating for all of us, some folks really take it personally, but you cant. Those guys going home with your money earned it. And you will have to earn it to.
Hard work, dedication, research and the support of family and friends is the last thing I will add to this post. This is what seperates us from them, so go out, work hard while your playing and enjoy your success!!!