I know there are lots of guys who really don’t like the tournament scene. Whether it’s the risk of resources and the attendant pressure, or concerns about measuring up to one’s peers, it’s not that unusual a situation. In fact, like starting a new job, or pitching a new product, or commencing on any new endeavor, there are always doubts.

But aside from learning the rules that generally govern a fishing contest, the one parameter that everyone faces in or out of tournaments is a fixed amount of time to ply the waters!

When I first started bass fishing, the club members always wanted as late a weigh-in time as possible–even to the point of forcing the drive home into a late, tiring grind. Over the years, however, as everyone’s skills have increased, the weigh-in time is hardly an issue.

As long as everyone has roughly the same available hours for casting (less running time) the issue in tournaments is not how long there is to fish, but how smart and how efficient the competitors.

And right now is the best time of year to really understand the concept of controlled fishing hours. For example, back on PST, a spot like Diamond Valley lets you on at 7 a.m. and they’re blowing the horn at 4 p.m. Even if you push it, that’s a lot shorter amount of time than during the middle of summer.

So, if you go out now with the idea of fishing six or seven hours–allowing plenty of time to get home, be available for the family or to get rested–but have worked like every one of those fishing hours means something, you can do two things.

One, you can hone your approach and make yourself more productive. And two, you can develop the traits of being pro-active in your choices, and not just dribbling down the same banks talking shop with your partner.

One way you might adjust your approach is to set yourself a tournament goal. You need to catch a limit of “keepers” (minimum legal size for the water) in the time you’re out–say seven hours. That allows you just under an hour and a half to catch each bass.

It’s a great motivational tool to work to this end. By the same token, winter conditions (read slower action) also give you a sense of the realities of competitive angling. Those guys in the jerseys do not–I repeat–do not catch one keeper bass every hour they fish. Some bites (keepers) take several hours to generate.

But by fishing with the intensity that is required to assure achieving the goal of five, when those guys do encounter some biting fish, they can rack up three, four or as many as 10 or more in the peak hour (whenever that is).

Even though I rarely compete anymore, when I fish now–the time still matters. I set goals and even if the bite is tough, I try and make the best catch I can. If I’m not ready to commit to that, I don’t go.

Because you know what?  My boat has swivel seats–but no couch.


One Response to “Make a winter day a ‘tournament day’…”

Sounds like I could have written that. Good article. It is exactly where I am at now in my life. Tight lines, Steve
Owner, Trophy Bass Fishing Videos and Tips