I often think to myself what is the difference between the guys(and girls) who rank well consistantly in the bream tournaments and the guys that get results occasionally.
There are lots of things to consider that may have an effect on results, local knoweldge, skill, lures, gear, luck and adversely bad luck etc all play a part in determining the end result in a days fishing.
The more and more I think about it though the stronger my belief becomes that the best results come from the best decisions (game plans) and best decision makers.
The importance of a good game plan is increased ten fold when you enter the world of kayak fishing. Tournament fishing from a kayak is a great way to test your skills and at times fitness. Its also a great test on your mental stamina. The decisions you make for the day really do become vital. You can’t just hit a spot 4k from the start line in one direction for 20mins then head the same distance the other way because half your day will be spent travelling.
If you have travelled too far and you are not catching fish what you do next is vital for your days result. Do you spend another hour or so travelling to another spot, or do you stick it out and wait for a bite period? Its a tough call and it will either make or break you.
For example you’ve made up your mind to fish an area 4km upstream from the start line, the tide and the wind are against you and the travel will be at least 1 hour each way. Thats 2 hours of fishing gone right there. You might of chosen this spot because you had a good pre-fish or you just have a hunch it will pay of.
If going to this spot was a good decision you might find you have it to yourself and there is a school of big hungry bream on the chew. You bag out on big fish easily and return to the weigh in an absolute genius.
If going to this spot was a bad decision, you’ve wasted 1 hour getting there, probably another hour or so giving the spot a red hot go. Then another hour paddling/pedalling back past the start line and some more time again trying to get to another spot. By now 3 1/2 to 4 hours are gone, you still might need to allow 1/2 hour paddle back to the weigh in leaving you 2 1/2 hours to come up with a new game plan, crack a pattern and put some legals in the well. Its no easy task and will probably see you back at the weigh in watching all the guys who got it right weigh in bags twice the size of yours.
So how do the same people keep making good decisions?
Lots of factors come into play here, experience, research, knowing how a system works and knowing the habits of your target species are all a big part of making the right choices for the day.
The guys that get it right have often put in the hard yards and had a constructive pre-fish (this doesn’t mean pulling the biggest bag you can the day before). They have an idea of where the fish should be in a particular system at a particular time of year and an idea on how to make them bite. In fact apart from having a good game plan there is hardly any difference at all between the competitors. They all have similar gear, rods, reels, lines, lures, even kayaks. The top guys might be slightly better at using these lures effectively but the game plan of when, where and why to be in a particular area at a particular time is probably much more important.
So get out there, think about your day, give yourself as many options as you can and have some fun. The results will follow.
Stewart Dunn, or Stewie, as he is better known, is an amazing kayak angler who spreads himself around hunting different species. A member of the Hobie Fishing Pro Team, much of Stewie’s success in the tournament scene has been based on his Bream skills, but he also enjoys chasing Jewfish, Snapper and Kings out of his Pro Angler.