This New Year I had a chance to look back. I thought about all the great times I had and how much experience I gained as a high school angler. I realized that just two years ago I was a freshman on my team, and now I am beginning to grow. I am just about ready to make the leap to Bassmaster High School Series tournaments. I learned a ton through mistakes, and time on the water. I hope to talk to any high school angler hoping to grow on their own teams. I will list out in several articles a short series of things I feel you can learn from me that will save you time when it comes to knowledge on the water. And as a wise man once said, “Smart people learn through their mistakes, Smarter people learn through other’s mistakes.” I hope you can learn from mine.
I want everyone to know I am not saying I know a lot about fishing. There are plenty of other people that know 10X as much information about this topic than me. I am just writing this to inform people that may be in the same position I was a couple years ago. I am in no way trying to brag or say I am good. This is just my best attempt to help new anglers that have never experienced tournaments before and don’t know what to expect.
Here is my latest achievements in my High School Bass Fishing Circuit so you can decide if this information suits your style…4th place tournament finish out of 38. 1st place tournament finish out of 41. 4th place overall in that tournament series out of 42. These are boat tournaments that run on Midwestern lakes and rivers within the same 100 mile radius. If this suits your number of boats and type of tournaments, this may help you. If not, still read some over because there may be tips for you.

1. Don’t Listen To The Talk Before A Tournament
The guys who are talking about their prefishing are usually trying to get you off your game. Don’t listen to it and stick mostly around your team to avoid it. It will psych you out at some point, especially when you don’t have a fish in the boat. Sometimes this works to gaining information, but it will usually be limited and not what you need. Do your own research and you wont have to be thrown off by others.

2. Take The Time To Prefish
Nothing is better than on the water experience. Go out there and try to get a feel for what the body of water is going to be like. Sometimes prefishing a week before is useless to higher guys on your team, but it may be important to you, especially if you have never fished the body of water before. If you don’t have a boat, ask your team mates a week or two before to bring you out there, or even go from shore. Get used to the surroundings, water temperature, bottom structure, wildlife and more. All of these can help you figure out what to do come tournament time. Make sure to go few days before the tournament if you can to get a feel for any conditions that may have changed since you were on the water. Nothing will beat being out on the water to prepare you for a tournament.

3. Don’t Sweat It
Whether it’s needing a fish in the boat, getting caught in a tree, or breaking a trolling motor prop…the list goes on and on. There is always something to stress about…DONT. Keep focused and keep fishing. Get up and fish after a big fish flings the hook, cut and retie that spinnerbait in the tree, and keep positive when looking for that first keeper. It is so important to keep positive, because if you let everything get in the way, you lose your ability to fish well. (Ever seen Arron Martens lose a fish a few years back? Or Alex Peric lose a big fish?) Get up and keep going, Aaron Martens learned that and he got the best AOY in history last year. Its all about the mentality. Why do you think out current Bassmaster AOY is always positive? Gerald Swindle knows it will stop him if he’s not, because it clouds your mindset. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is super powerful, and he has really stuck by it. It works, because it’s the most important thing on the water.

Thank you for reading, I hope it helps anyone who needs it. These will continue so any new anglers can learn more.

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