Tips For Winning Fishing Competitions
How do I win a fishing competition?
Generation after generation, this question has been asked by both beginners and professional anglers, though the wording might differ here and there. There is no one-size-fits-all answer but professional tournament anglers will all agree with this essential advice: Enter as an amateur or co-angler at local tournaments, devour all information and training from your pro partners, and then work your way up the tournament ladder.
Each professional angler has his or her own methods to tip the scales in their favour, but all of them recommend these tips to increase the likelihood of tournament success.
- Understand the fish. Knowing what your fish does during different situations is one of the most important factors that will give you the edge over your opponent. Fish behave differently in various seasons, vegetation, water temperature, water oxygen content, among others – so making sure you understand them can make all the difference between winning and losing.
- Start locally. If a town exists near a body of water, chances are you won’t have to travel far to test the tournament waters. Some may be annual local events or club-sponsored tourneys while others may be hosted by regional or even national circuits that make stops in your neck of the woods. Enter a tournament that feels right for you, including its proximity, cost and timing, among other relevant factors.
- Do an ‘on-the-job training’ with a pro. It is like hiring a guide for a day but almost always cheaper. You got to learn before you leap and this is the best way to do it. Ask for his pattern plans. Observe his technique and find out all the tackle he uses for the event.
- Be familiar with the tournament waters. Get a map of the waters to know its depth, structure, points, flats, shallows, channels, and daily conditions. And that is just the beginning of it. Go out of your way and hire different guides or charters to get a deeper grasp of patterns, secret roadbeds, man-made structures hidden beneath the surface, etc. If you are really serious about taking home the trophy, find a pilot and fly over the tournament waters to obtain a different point of view while up on the air.
- Look for colour and bait patterns in the area. See what bait and tackle retailers are selling the most off of their shelves.
- Observe how locals do it. Watching them from a distance can give you useful information on how they move just so they can get their next dinner. Some of these locals have fished all their life and would not hesitate to brag how they have caught a 10-pounder off of Truman’s Point using a Spook.
- Create a game plan and stick to it. This can make or break any novice or seasoned anglers in the field. If you are in an area where there are fish, have the patience to wait for the fish to come. Then again, when making your game plan, select an area where you won’t have to run miles and miles to secondary spots. Try to keep at least 3 or 4 alternate spots within a few minutes of each other.
- Get in to as many tournament fishing as you can handle. Many clubs or other grass-roots circuits offer divisional competition in which a participant can sign up for a series, usually four or five tournaments in a year, offering the chance for advancement to a higher level of competition.
- Commit to one division in a single season. Whether you qualify for postseason competition or not, this is essential to test your ability to tournament fish in different settings and times of the year. It will give you a good indication of whether you are ready to make the leap either to the front of the boat or to a higher level of competition.
- Do not worry too much about sponsorships. Remember, if you become an accomplished angler on the water and have the requisite amount of social skills, sponsorships would be the least of your worries. Concentrate on learning the sport first. However, as your proficiency increases and tournament wins multiply, the art of obtaining sponsorships and managing the business end of fishing will start to become a reality.