When I first began fishing tournaments last year for my school I expected it to be a different experience than what I was used to. To my surprise, it was much more different than I had ever imagined. The atmosphere was very hyped up, but I still felt like I was going out for a day of regular fishing. I expected to catch a ton of fish and that didn’t happen. I got skunked on my first tournament. I began to catch fish later into the season, but never enough to top the other anglers on my team. This made me wonder what they were doing differently than I was. The following is my new approach for my season that begins in April, and how I improved to get ready for it.
Every year I look back at myself almost laughing at how little I knew about fishing. This is a very common thing since the sport is constantly changing. What surprises me the most is how much there is to learn. All of the techniques to master and behaviors to understand are astonishing. When I first entered tournaments, I was throwing squarebills and chatterbaits. I had no idea that finesse applications even worked. This was one of my biggest faults. It was terrible to fish without a jig or a Texas rig where that was the only thing people were catching on. I was a mini KVD burning baits back to the boat. That was my major downfall and the reason I didn’t catch many fish. In the past year I have learned to dropshot, wacky rig, pitch/skip/and work a jig…ect. I believe that I finally have the knowledge to get out on the rivers and lakes, and produce an 10lb bag.
My next reason is that I really didn’t have enough experience to go fishing at the locations. I was and still am without a useful boat. This was a big issue since I had never seen or caught fish in those bodies of water before. Now I know to either grab a canoe and search the areas or just shore fish the areas as a somewhat prefishing aspect. This will help me find a decent pattern come tournament day so that I can have a decent amount of knowledge about what I am throwing my baits to. I expect this to really benefit me compared to just taking a stab in the dark and having to fish search baits far longer than I would have with some experience.
Finally, I was not prepared for the tournaments in general. Before the season I had never ridden in a boat or fished a bank from a boat. I was completely unaware of how to read a graph when we were on fish. This was a HUGE setback for me because, if anyone wants to be successful, they need to have experience with electronics. I was very dazed about what the tournaments were and therefore I was never directly focused on what I was doing. Even professional anglers in the Bassmaster Classic get star struck in their first Classic which usually causes them to scramble a lot and not preform as well as they should. This is why I need to keep focused going into my season and keep my eyes on the goal, one tournament at a time which leads me to state and nationals.
Those are my mistakes that I made in my last season of fishing my district tournaments. I fully expect myself to preform better in the coming season. I hope that someone can benefit from this and not make these common mistakes. If I had to give some advice it would be to keep your head in the game and learn as much as possible. That will keep you ready and fishing for tournaments to come. Thanks for reading, tight lines 🙂