I have previously discussed the importance of fishing lower level tournaments to gain experience before moving up the ladder to higher level events and series. There is a lot to learn in events that don’t put a ton of pressure, or money on the line. It is good practice to fish in a tournament environment and mend flaws that are reoccurring in your personal style of fishing. That allows you to learn the ropes of tournament fishing at the most basic levels, when a mistake doesn’t cost your livelihood. Learning to secure a rod tie down before a run the hard way is not something to learn fishing a AAA tournament. Discovering how pre-fishing affects you is also something to learn early on, and then further expand on. There is a normal evolution to learning how you personally develop during a tournament.
My goal, as always, is to prevent my reader’s mistakes by stating my own and explaining how to work around experiencing them, while still receiving the same lesson. Hopefully this story can help someone learn a very miniscule, yet critical part of fishing.
I fished a tournament this past weekend. I was attempting to qualify for the Illinois High School State Championship to ensure myself a catch net before I go and fish my first tournament of next year, which is a qualifier for High School Nationals. I won’t fill this post with all the details, they are irrelevant as of now. My finish though was one spot out of the cut for the State Championship. It usually hurts to be so close and still lose, but this time it was especially rough. I missed the cut by 0.07 pounds.
When a derby comes down to ounces, there is a lot to regret. Finding the right fish, making the right moves, and landing fish are always things that run through angler’s minds when they get that close. But sometimes that all went right. An overlooked factor, especially in lower level tournaments is fish care. The basics range from boat carpet, handling, and temperature of the water. Most of us follow these procedures and handle fish ethically from hookset to release. Treating fish properly goes hand in hand with survival rate, but the stress of a fish also impacts total weight.
I believe that this tournament could have gone a lot better for me if I had been using a livewell additive. They have reviews from just about everyone that explain how healthy the fish look at the end of the day. The stress that a fish has to go through while in a livewell causes it to lose weight and is unhealthy for the fish. Something as simple as water weight and slime coat health could have impacted the weight of the fish caught. Even unnoticed bleeding could have done it. I am not affiliated with any company or livewell additive product and as a disclaimer, I have very little experience with them. I will be trying them out a lot more often, probably the TH Marine G-Juice because of the great things I have heard about it.
Coming this close to something that is so important to me, and knowing that a little change could have had a huge impact is really bugging me. I strongly encourage this practice because not only can this prevent disappointment, it also keeps your fish alive and in the healthiest condition they can be in. I know this won’t be the “be all end all” of tournament problems, but it is something that will boost my confidence knowing that I did all I could, with the resources available, to keep my fish healthy and heavy. Try it out and let me know, I’ll definitely be reassured that it’s in my livewell.