Tournament Fishing – Enter the Pressure Cooker

You seriously have to ask the question, why do we fish these damn fishing tournaments.  In many ways, it is similar to gambling.  Huge investments with small returns and it certainly is that way for every tournament angler.  The hope that tournament fishing would pay for itself certainly intrigues many onlookers but anyone who has experienced it, knows that it is something that requires regular topping up from a personal bank account rather than from sponsors or tournament winnings, let alone, hoping to live off it.

I look at the recent Forster Megabream event, the attraction for me was certainly not monetary.  In many respects it is about improvement and achieving personal goals but I had a realisation some time ago that I could never put into words.  After my recent success at the Georges River kayak event, I thought that I would have been on a high that I had been aiming for, for some time but realised that I experienced that same euphoria at “succeeding” during the Australian Open.

It wasn’t until what I call “the mad minutes” (the last hour) of each day of the Megabream tournament on the weekend that I realised that it wasn’t the win I was chasing, it was in fact the ‘eustress’ associated with “doing it” rather than having “done it”.  The high of a tournament win washes away pretty quickly these days, being the latest winner lasts as long as it takes to hop in the car and start driving home because everyone starts focusing on the next one but the memories, enthusiasm of fishing and ‘eustress’ makes me want to do it all again.  The heart rate, expectation, time management, boat control and those other challenges make the memories greater, but for me, that’s exactly what I want.

It could be the additional pressures of racks fishing in a fibreglass boat, the “big ticket” atmosphere of Megabream or just the higher expectations that we put on ourselves but now I sit here, I really enjoy the pressure cooker moments of tournament fishing, the moments that cannot be replicated while social fishing.  I say this now that I sit in the comfort of my own home, without wind blowing my boat into racks or putting a cast off course, without the pressure of the “one more fish” and “am I retrieving too fast or slow” thoughts rattling in my brain.

Now, we don’t do it for the money, we do it because we love it and if you do happen to do it for the money, I’ve got some bad news for you…

6 responses to “Tournament Fishing – Enter the Pressure Cooker

    • Yeah, that’s true but I found myself laughing pretty hard on the weekend, when my fishing partner, Bernie, couldn’t get hooks to stay in on the fish we were targeting. It was seriously a case of going from one extreme (serious) to the other (hysterics)! I think I realised the pressures of tournament fishing even more because Bernie is usually such a calm guy but even he was getting frustrated.

  1. In my case I view touraments as a natural progression from lure fishing, the opportunity to gain more knowledge and improve as an angler. You are right Chris, I have a significant investment in my equipment and I would be kidding myself to think that what I could win would offset the cost, its enough to hope for 5 fish. It doesnt matter what your chosen sport is there will always be people at the front, middle and back of the pack. I am not sure what happens when you get to the front because I’m down the back but I think it would be safe to say that is where the pressure REALLY is.
    Enjoyed your story.

    • Hey Brett,
      I reckon that it is all expectations I place on myself, rather than any expectations to perform from fellow competitors or sponsors (thankfully for us, our sponsors are really good guys to deal with and we aim to provide them value through both our tournament presence and other means, not just results).

      The guys who fish, do it because we enjoy some aspect of the that pressure, the social atmosphere and importantly for me, the sportsmanship.


  2. Great story. I have been questioning whether I will give the tournaments a miss this year but this is the reason why I am having another go. I used to get the same feeling playing cricket- the need to challenge yourself.
    Forget about the money the self satisfaction of improvement and a day spent on the water is enough for me.

  3. A good read Chris. I have not competed in many tournaments due to time constraints, but of the handful I did compete in, I was amazed at how much information I brought back with me after the event(s) – improving and expanding my own knowledge every time. I do not think I have ever met a fellow competitor that was not willing to share information – and this is a GREAT thing. I also enjoy the pressure (I believe it brings the best out in some people) and more importantly, enjoy the harmless banter that good competion (and competitors) brings. Its all about having fun, from doughnuts to a full bag.

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