I love competition, that’s no suprise, of course I do. I’m a TOURNAMENT ANGLER! That’s what a tournament angler strives for, competition. It’s what makes getting up at 4 a.m. to drive an hour and a half, fish for eight hours, and drive home an hour and a half while you’re dog tired. We’re God’s version of an adrenaline junkie.
As a young angler, I fish ever tournament that I have an opportunity to, which means at some point in time I am fishing against “The best of the best” in the area. Being 15 years old, it can be quite intimidating fishing against anglers that have been fishing tournament longer than you have been alive. Although intimidating, it CAN be done. If you have the determintation and confidence…..you CAN run with “The Big Dawgs”.
Re-read that last sentence….determination and confidence. Those two things play a big role in reaching your goal. Whether it be catching fish in a tournament against the locals, winning, or just placing in the Top 20, you HAVE to have determination, and confindence. We’ll talk about the latter of the two first. Confidence plays a role in fishing whether you’re fishing a money tournament against “Big named” local fisherman, or just going out for fun. You have your confidence baits, confidence techniques, confidence areas, and just plain confidence. Let me express this one more time…..CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE, CONFIDENCE! You can’t go into a tournament thinking “Well these guys have been fishing this lake longer than I have been alive, and they’re going to smoke me.” Well of course they are, if you carry that attitude. If go in believing in your pattern and thinking that you can compete with the other anglers, you will do well.
Determination is also a big part of competing with “The Big Dawgs”. If you’re determined to find a pattern and stay on top of your fish, and you pair that with confidence, you have a winning plan. If you push yourself to do nothing less than your best, you definitely have what it takes. You’re not going to be able to win if you’re not determined, you’re not going to be able to catch fish if you’re not determined, it’s just like everything else in life, you’re going to have to “want” it that much more than everyone else.
Spending a lot of time on the water helps too. Being young you may not be able to spend 2-3 days a week on the water like some anglers are, but making the most of what time you have on the water is key. For instance, you’re practicing for an upcoming open event. You’re fishing a morning time pattern in an area you usually do well, but for some reason they just aren’t biting this particular morning. I think the best thing to do is to try and find another area and put that morning time pattern to use and come back to that area later in the day. Try and pick every area you catch fish with apart, in as little time as you can.
Another big part that plays an important role in tournament fishing, is having fun. Yes, I said fun. If you get caught up in the money and the prizes, you’re going to constantly be feeling the pressure. Believe me, I’ve been there. I got into a slump where I was constantly feeling the pressure so I finally said to myself, “Just go out there and do what you do best, and you will be the best angler you can be.” I started doing that and I’m doing much better. Win, lose, or draw, you’re there to have fun. Whether you take home $10,000 or a few memories, it’s all for the fun.
Remember this next time you’re fishing against “The Big Dawgs” in your area, and I believe if you put them to good use, you will do well. Tight Lines folks, and I’ll see you on the lake!