As I sit down to write this, I am thinking of all my gear scattered from one end of the house to the garage and back. I’m starting to get a little nervous as to how it’s all going to come together by Tuesday so I can leave for the Rock Creek Tournament on Fort Peck this coming weekend. Before you give up hope on me, I’m getting to an important tip for packing for any outdoor trip, including tournaments. If you’re like me and have gear all over heck…MAKE A LIST!!! In my personal opinion, the most important part of any tournament is having everything you need when you get there. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of nowhere and missing something important to the trip’s success. A few years ago, after countless adventures all over the lakes and mountains, I made a couple of detailed lists. By doing this, I have all the essentials for the trip and avoid unneeded stress. Getting to a tournament without your polarized sun glasses will most definitely make the pre-fishing a wee bit stressful. Having a positive outlook during a tournament or any fishing adventure is of paramount importance to success.
Now that were talking about success, I can assure you it makes a big difference for any angler in the fishing world. Picture this, when I was in fifth grade I had a shot at the class beauty queen and the day before the dance I got a horrible mullet haircut. Instead of sweeping my date off her feet, I landed her on her bottom and stepped on her toes from being laughed at because of my mullet. If you think dancing is difficult with no confidence…try fishing! Confidence puts fish in the boat, no doubt about it! Having confidence comes from having all your gear, quality gear you can trust, and believing in your ability. We have all had a few of those magic days were we just stroked the fish. Remember how good that felt? Position yourself in this frame of mind and believe in your ability to catch fish.
It’s always a good idea to get a preliminary report on the fishing or the part of the lake with the “hot bite” but don’t get carried away. I recommend building your own confidence and not wasting too much time chasing other peoples “hot bite” that might be long gone (if it was ever there). I’m not saying don’t give it a few passes; just don’t get caught up in the “tournament talk” shark tank without a cage. Another way to avoid the tank is not frying all your eggs in one pan…try a few different methods that catch fish. If you’re catching more and better fish on jigs, it’s darn well your “bacon move” but don’t write off the eggs. When you wake up on tournament morning with 25 mph winds, that “bacon” jig bite might not be executed as well with difficult boat control. It is important to have a backup plan that can be properly executed so you can put fish in the boat in any condition. It may not be your first choice, but it just might put a check in your pocket at the weigh in.
A few tournament tips:
1.) Fish with confidence!!!
2.) Have a back-up plan to catch fish in case conditions change.
3.) BE PREPARDED! Have more gear than you need…it’s easier to take clothes off than put on gear you don’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard tournament anglers blame their whoopin’ on being soaked and cold. Just because it’s eighty degrees and beautiful the day before the tournament, doesn’t mean it won’t be in the fifties with wind and rain during the tournament.
4.) Have more bait than you need…I always go through a hundred more crawlers than I expect too. TRUST ME you don’t want a hot bite going Friday before the tournament and run out of crawlers.
5.) Find out little triggers that boost your partner’s morale to keep them going throughout the day or when bites get tough. For example, one of my pro staffers offers his partner a pop tart when things get down. He says it BOOSTS HIM RIGHT BACK UP…it is important so have a few of these up your sleeve.
6.) Have all your tackle so you’re not limited to a certain application…conditions change and so do the bites. Remember, don’t put all the eggs in one frying pan.
7.) Have extra rods rigged ready to go for a quick switch in time sensitive tournament days.
8.) Pack a good (but fast) lunch and drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. This is very important and keeps you at your best.
9.) Tournaments are supposed to be fun…SO HAVE FUN!!!
10.) ALWAYS HAVE PLENTY OF KIT’S TACKLE ABOARD YOUR SHIP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My partner Ken Schmidt and I will be fishing the Fort Peck Rock Creek Tournament this coming weekend…results and pictures to follow!
As always, good luck and Cheers to “Jiggin’ the Dream”
For more great fishing tip’s, blog’s, and great fishing tackle and equipment check out Kit’s Tackle website