A little talk about tournament strategy
By Hookemharry

Posted: June 7, 2001

We all know fishing is relaxing. We know fishing is a lot of fun

But some anglers also enjoy competing on the waters of Montana for cash. Some of these tourneys – whether they’re for bass, walleye or northern pike – can be very lucrative if you are good enough to finish in one the top places.

In order to be successful in tournament fishing, you need to have a different mind-set than when you’re out on the water just having fun.

If you can convince yourself that you are on the water to focus on winning the tournament instead of just enjoying yourself, then you have a chance to finish in the money and to enjoy the competitive aspects of the game.

Dave Hickman, of Missoula, and Jim Edwards, of Stevensville, started to fish the Montana Walleye Tournament Circuit last year. To date they have not won or even placed in the money. They have, however, won cash.

Last year, they won cash at the Tiber Tourney by not catching any legal sized walleye the first day of the tourney. But they bounced back strong and caught over 10 pounds of walleye on the second day.

The cash they won was connected to an award the tournament classifies as the “comeback team”. In other words, the fact that Hickman and Edwards “zeroed” the first actually worked in their favor.after they tallied their catch for the second day.

This year, at the Fresno walleye tourney held last month near Havre, they won more money without winning the tourney or even placing in money. (They placed 20th out of 65 teams).

In fact, the money they won wasn’t even the result of catching a walleye. By catching the largest northern pike of all the teams competing in the tourney, they won a few hundred dollars.

Believe it or not, the northern pike weighed in at less then 2-pounds. But it was the biggest.

This week, Hickman and Edwards are of to eastern part of the state to fish the Montana Circuit’s Rock Creek Tournament, which takes place on the Big Dry Arm of Fort Peck Reservoir.

Before they left, I had a chance to sit down with them and asked them what they attributed to success in tournaments.

“We always pre-fish for a couple of days. We talk to as many other anglers as we can for advice. We have plan on how we are going to fish that day. And we take it too seriously,” they both stated.

I got up to leave, but just before I reached the door, one of the now “veteran” tournament anglers yelled out, “Oh one more thing, a little luck doesn’t hurt either.”

I knew if I talked to them long enough that the real truth would come out!