Fishing Texas Network Tips/News Archive Page
6/18/03 Why I never cash a tourney check
Over the last couple of years, I have entered a few tournaments on my favorite Texas lake -- Lake Fork. I love this lake and it has always been very good to me. Generally, I can go there and boat a decent amount of fish on varying patterns throughout the year. When the fishing is tough, I always hit my old reliable holes that have consistently produced fish time and time again. It stands to reason that I should be able to fair quite well in a tournament on that lake. Under the slot fish aren't generally that hard for me to come by.
Well, I have come close to the money in 2 different tournaments out there. Missed a check by 1 place. Then last year I fished the Skeeter Owner's tournament and didn't fair very well in the hourly weight ins. Did manage to put one on the scales that was over 2 pounds but it was not enough. Then this year I decided to change my strategy when I fished the Irving Bass Club Open and it was a bust. I wanted to avoid the crowds and fish some of my familiar duck hunting waters that most boats ignore. Plagued with slot fish again. Then rolled around the Owner's tournament again and this time I was going to go back to my old standby locations. I made an error, I allowed myself to be talked into fishing an area that I have never been in before. Sure, we caught fish. Slot fish and 1 pounders. After half the day had passed on day 1, I decided to head to the old faithful holes.
Holly Cow.... I couldn't find a spot that did not have 2 boats on it. Then it dawned on me why I am not good at tournament fishing. I am too used to fishing a lake, finding spots, then not knowing what to do when I can't get to those spots because of the increased traffic created by the tournament. I begin to scramble and just start hitting places blindly. Sometimes we catch fish, but we spend a lot of time not putting fish in the boat. Of course, I will always try my deeper water haunts no matter how many boats were there before me, but I can't bring myself to treat the shallow water the same way.
I think I may have figured out how to remedy this situation. Of course I will not be able to tell if it will work until I fish the Irving Open this fall, but I do have some time to prepare. For all these years, I have fished a location because I have consistently caught fish there. Well boys and girls, it is time for me to move up to the next class. I need to now focus on the reason why I always catch fish there. Once I figure that out, then I can go to other areas of the lake that have the same structure and probably catch fish there also. That way, when the spots that I like to fish are taken, I can just go to another spot that has the same contour, underwater structure, and surface structure to catch fish.
Even though I have not cashed a check, I am still happy that I caught fish at the Skeeter. We boated 11 fish that first day and it was tough fishing. My goal is to not only boat a lot of fish, but to boat the right fish. Good fishing everyone and we will see you on the water.
Mike -- webmaster/editor
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