tami on tour mugA development coming out of the Traveling Folkestad Fishing Team (Mike Folkestad plus co-anglers Chris Ricci of Oregon and Tami Curtis Jennings of Texas) is the concept of the “Co-angler hole”–a spot that is essentially available to a tournament pairing for either Ricci or Curtis.

In effect, says Tami, “It’s a place where we’re pretty sure you can catch at least one keeper during the tournament. Of course, we let each other know if it has been used.”

Of course, there is more than one, as the traveling anglers have identified several such spots on each of the various lakes where they fish competitively. They especially fit the WON Bass rules (such as this week’s U.S. Open) where a pro can ask a AAA partner has a place that he or she wants to fish. Then, depending on where they might be on the lake, Chris or Tami can point to a reliable spot.

Tami standing 200Starting Monday, when the field of over 200 anglers takes to the water at Lake Mead, every bite will be critical. And the role of the AAA could have be critical at the end of the day. Even Rick Clunn, who I fished with last Thursday, and who isn’t a fan of the shared weight, recognizes the importance of the second rod in the boat. “On this lake,” he said, if the AAA could catch one or two good fish, it would be huge.”

That means, of course, that merely hooking a fish is not enough. The AAA’s have got to get the fish in the boat. With Chris and Tami, lost fish are a rarity. Their experience as co-anglers in the FLW events has helped them hone their skills in tournaments where the only fish they weigh are the ones they catch.

But the Traveling Team approach is an innovative way to prepare for a tournament. Besides helping to control costs on the road, it makes sure everyone is working hard during practice–because of the possible benefit in the actual competition.