It might not be everyone’s thing but participating in tournament fishing has been a fast learning curve for me.
We were born as a human race to compete. Let’s face it I don’t know of many people that do not like a bit of healthy competition. For me in the early days it was the local sports fishing club’s monthly point score that introduced me to competition fishing. Then came ANSA Conventions and gamefishing tournaments. This brings to a person a certain fire in their belly, a sense of accomplishment and of course increases the passion for fishing.
After a number of years of competing against the same faces and in the same waters and achieving some great club records and Australian Records we grew away from these kind of tournaments and had a break from club fishing all together.
We then purchased our first boat and got into some bass fishing on the dams. Of course we only use to troll for bass, as we didn’t know any different. From memory we ran into a guy, Steve Almond whilst fishing at Lake St Clair who informed us about a tournament about to be held there. There were also a couple of off duty policeman who were also fishing and getting into a few bass, they had shared with us what they were doing to catch them. This was our first introduction to beetle spins and vibe lures.
For those that remember it was a BassinNSW Tournament, which was a team’s event. Very nervous I had to line up for a key tag the first morning. I didn’t know a soul and there was a gentleman they named Agent Orange who was quite loud and of course a bit hungover. I was quite a shy person back then and felt a little out of place, as we were the outsiders compared to everyone else that seemed to know each other. Well look out Scott and I turned out to be quite the combo and with our first ever tournament, after day one we were in the top 10. Scott had also secured big bass at 2.50kg.
This was great, little did I know that they swapped the top 10 around which meant I had to fish with another boat driver in the top 10. This was to eliminate any cheating. Well you guessed it; I drew Agent Orange his real name being Jayson Deforrest-Haddleton. I was so nervous; Jayson wasn’t, as he was use to fishing with females. After my initial hurdle I ended up having a fantastic day where I saw him bust a rod on a fish, I lost a great fish but at the end of the day we got our bag and had a fantastic days fishing. Scott and I finished up 3rd place overall, big bass and I took out the ladies section and yes for those that remember it did mean a polaroid photo.
Well we were hooked. We continued with the team’s events for that year and gained a lot of fantastic friendships that are still continued today. The beauty about fishing tournaments like these is that we were forced to fish waterways that we had either never heard of or dreamed of fishing. We also discovered some beautiful places to book in for the annual holidays. It was a fantastic journey where we had to learn from others on how to fish or approach different river systems or dams.
Now that we had a bit of confidence we started fishing the individual tournament events. Scott as a boater and myself as a non-boater. This is where my fishing learning curve just took off.
Having to fish with many different people and the style that they wanted to fish certainly turns you into a very versatile angler. From flats fishing, deep jigging, fishing structure, deep weed beds, washes – the list goes on and then with that learning to fish with hard bodies, blades, soft plastics, jackals, spinnerbaits and surface lures with all kinds of retrieves. To add to this came learning about different techniques with driving and retrieving boats, reading sounders, driving electric motors, wow there is so much I have learnt and been able to take away with me. It is also a great way to test new products such as boats, sounders, lures, rods, reels and lines.
I don’t like to fish other people’s spots so what I would learn from those that I had fished with I would then apply to my own local waterway or other waterways that I had the opportunity to fish. It started working a treat.
I thank all of those people I have had an opportunity to fish with as I have taken at least one thing away from each and every one of you and it has made me the fishing person I am today.
If you are a new comer that is sitting on the sidelines thinking about joining in, I say jump right in you will never look back.