Tournament Fishing

Discussion in 'Mac Byrum's Catfish University' started by Mac-b, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    19,783
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    I am going to discuss the pro's and con's of tournament fishing under this thread. Is tournament fishing for everyone, yes and no. If you have never fished a tournament it is something you should try. If you have never fished one I would advise you to team up with someone that has fished one before. When you start out this endeavor, you should consentrate on time management, which can be your friend or enemy. Then go out with your partner and do what you normally do when you go out fishing for fun.

    School time begins at the weighin, observe what others have caught, their size and numbers. Talk to the fishermen at the weighin about what kind of bait they used, what technique they used, etc. After the fish are weighed, most fisherman are glad to talk to you about their catch and how they went about it, all you have to do is ask. Most will even tell you what section of the lake they caught their fish, reason being, they most likely will not be there is a day or two or when they have a tournament at that location again. Then there are some that will not tell you anything, that is their right, but overall you will find that most will answer your questions.

    Also, always go to the weighin regardless of the size of your catch. I have seen real good catfishermen come to the scales with their catch in a six pack cooler or small bucket. That shows everyone that you gave it your best and that is what it is all about. Most tournaments give away door prizes at the weighin and these items include, cast nets, reels, hooks, etc. In some cases the prize can equal the value of your entrance fee.

    The only reason I can think of why someone should not try tournament fishing is if the do, the expense of it would put a hardship on their family.

    Whether you win, place or come in last, each tournament you fish, you should learn something from it and this will build up your confidence . Another major plus is the friendship that you can develop among those that you fish against.

    At a later date I will discuss more things about tournament fishing, the highs and the lows and how you can best handle this factor.
     
  2. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

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    7,175
    State:
    NC
    Tournaments are a good way for those with a competitive nature to go out and have some fun on the water against fellow anglers. They are a good test of equipment, skill, all during a limited number of hours in what might be good or bad conditions. EVERYONE is on a level playing field.

    Not all tournaments are created equal though. The format and rules can make a big difference in your tournament experience. Size and creel limits on fish will seriously dictate your ability to do well. Events that allow five fish to be weighed are going to be more geared to the experienced and skilled tournament anglers. Events with lower creel limits of 1-2 fish allow more luck to come into play and inexperienced anglers have a better chance at winning in these events. In other words, it is more likely that an inexperienced angler will "get lucky" and catch one big fish than it is that they will get lucky and catch FIVE!!!

    Entry fees are another factor to consider. Between "memberships" and "entry fees" a solo angler can fork out $100-$250, so it pays to team up with someone to defray some of the cost. Add in the cost of bait, truck fuel getting there, and boat fuel on the water, and you can easily be looking at another $40-$60.

    Many smaller groups offer more relaxed events that may only cost you $20-$25 plus your boating expenses, and these are a good way to "wet your whistle" in tournament angling and see if it is for you. They don't pay out as much, but just like in any form of gambling, you don't put as much on the table either!

    The bottom line is DON'T EXPECT TO MAKE ANY MONEY!! Between all the costs involved it is not a profitable endeavour. IF you come out making a little more than you spend you are FAR ahead of most!! Do it for fun, learning, and fellowship.
     

  3. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    19,783
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    What should I do to get ready? What area should I fish? What kind of bait should I use? And a bunch of other questions. So, here is how I do it and maybe others will chime in with their suggestion, which are always welcome.

    First, I would look at my gear, which includes your boat. I would grease and lube my reels, pull off approx. 8 feet of line, from the reel to the end of the rod and put that in the trash can (that line has been exposed to the sun and possible nicks more so than the rest of your line. Then retie your your rigs to the fishing line and use a new shock leader and new hook. Then set up your drag so that you have some slipage. I set my drag at 12 pounds for 25 pound test line and 15 pounds for 30 pound test. There is no set rule for setting your drag.

    Second item to consider is your boat. Check your batteries and make sure
    that they are charged up and that the post on the batteries are grey looking or silver. Make sure you have the oil is your engine at the proper level. Fill your gas tank. Check your trolling motor out and be sure that it is working properly. Turn your fish finder/sonar on and make sure it is working. If you have GPS on it, make sure that you have a map for the lake that you will be fishing. Make sure your life jackets are in good condition.

    Get you a map of the lake or river that you are going to fish. One with topo. features will serve you well. Study the bends, drop offs, long and short points, creek channel leading into coves, other creeks leading into the river of lake. The creek channels are the highways that the fish use to travel from one spot to another. Also, the channels are where some fish can be found at high noon under warm or hot water condtions.

    A week before or a day before the tournament, go ride around the lake or river at a no wake speed (5 MPH) and observed what you saw on your topo. map. Also, ride the river banks and creeks and pay close attention to what you see on the shore line. If you see trot line, limb lines, rod holders on docks, forked sticks on the banks, brush around piers/docks, mussel shells on the shore lines, log jams, etc. These are all signs that catfish are in the area or have been in the area. At the same time you are observing the above mentioned items, pay close attention to your sonar. If you have GPS, hit your way point key to denote the crappie brush, limb lines and the other items mentioned and then you will have a record of all this. If you mark a bunch of bait, take note of this on your GPS. If you see a crappie fisherperson on the water, ask them if they are having any cats messing with their jigs or crappie minnows and where this happen. If you happen to mark some nice cats, do yourself a favor and don't put anything down to catch them to see how big they are, if you do, you will regret it on tounament day.

    A month or so before the tournament, read everything you can on the BOC about that lake or river. There is a lot of free advice about almost every lake or river that holds tournament. Sometimes, very detail fishing reports by BOC members offering you locations and the type of bait that a person used for catching cats on your tournament site. Also, stop at local bait shops in the area and buy some hooks or something from them and ask them how the catfishing is in that area. Be surprised what some of them will tell you.

    Make sure you have several different baits (alive, fresh or vacuum sealed frozen) available for tournament day. What they bit on Friday, they might not want on Saturday. Also, their taste buds can change from AM to PM.

    Have a good fish storage system for your cats when you are moving and if the tournament requires you to keep then in the tank all the time, make sure you have a system large enough and one that will offer them suffient oxygen. If you can use stringers, use the rope type and not the metal type.

    Now, lets go to the sign in, give them our money and go out and have some fun. Good luck, tight lines and may you finish right between me. :wink:
     
  4. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,783
    State:
    North Caro
    This past week I fished in a catfish tournament that had winds of 15 MPH at the get go and the wind built up to over 25 MPH, with gust up to 40 MPH before the day was over. When this situation happens, it is up to you and your partner to decide whether or not you should fish under these conditions. There were some that elected not to fish due to the size of their boat and I think they made a wise decision. Also, eventho you have a large boat, but you do not have experience with rough water (waves of 2 to 5 feet) it would be adviseable for you not to enter such a situation. If you elect to fish under adverse condition, you should wear your life jacket to and from your fishing location. It is not adviseable to wear one of the vest type/auto inflatable jackets due to water being blown onto the jacket.

    Fishing techniques change under heavy wind conditions, but you can adapt somewhat to this situation. If you anchor down, you will need to face the bow of the boat into the wind and use a larger anchor than normal or use two off the bow, plus maybe two off the stern. Or, if you have overhanging trees or limbs, you can tie the bow off to them and still use two off the rear. If you are a drifter (by wind or trolling motor) you can still accomplish this feat. You will need a 24 volt, 65 to 80+ thrust trolling motor to go against the wind or with the wind, several large drift socks to do a combination wind/trolling motor drift.
    Whatever you do, please try to avoid a side drift, this exposes the boat to a large wake or wave that could capsize your craft. This happen to several guys last year at Santee Cooper in South Carolina and only one survived!

    The best advise is for you to be like a carpenter, measure twice and cut once. That is to say, that you should think long and hard about entering a tournament or fun fishing under adverse conditions. There is always another tournament and another day that you can fish. Be careful out thar, you hear.
     
  5. gotta go

    gotta go New Member

    Messages:
    2,395
    State:
    SC
    Good advice, back in 2000 i made a bad choose and turned my boat over in the lower lake at Santee. More good advice is to use those type 1 life jackets that guides have to use. At the time i sunk my boat i had the ski type jackets and they will not do the job in ruff water and you with cloths on. The only thing that saved my life was a 102 qt cooler. I had been adrift for about 30 min and was getting tired and the waves were over-comming me, When out of nowhere my cooler came floating by. Also if you can stay close to the boat because it won't sink, mine turned over and came back up but due to the current, it pulled me away from the boat. And the #1 thing is to not panic. I was on the water for 2 hrs before a guide boat seen me and pulled me from the water.
    The boat was a 21 ft Blue Water Key West, so boat size don't mater in bad weather. How could i avoided it? I should have waited to go out, i knew the water was bad when i left.
    I guess if the anchors had not hooked up and stoped the boat it would had stayed close to me, but with current you will be surprized at how fast it will pull you away from the boat:eek:oooh: