It’s a tough gig!


From the outside, it may not look like a lot, but running a tournament isn’t all champagne, cocaine and hookers, it’s a big task.  I’ve helped ABT out on a couple of occasions, most recently at the Sydney Harbour Qualifier.  I know a lot goes into these events but the weekend just passed, really reinforced the amount of time, organization, logistics, blood, sweat and tears that actually make them successfull.  Over breakfast each morning and a few brain picking moments, I managed to extract a bit of information out of Chris Byrnes that might give anglers a better understanding.

Preparation of the event:

Among many, one of the questions I asked Chris was how much time goes into organizing an event.  I guess it was a pretty loaded question and although some answers seemed pretty logical there were a few facts that surprised me.  Here is a list of some of the things taken into consideration when preparing a tournament:

  • Logistically, ABT considers a huge variety of factors including availability of venue, briefing location, accommodation, event staffing and travel to and from the event, just to name a few.
  • Permission must be sought and granted from local waterway managers and councils.  On places like Sydney Harbour, this can sometimes be a number of permits costing hundreds of dollars each, depending on the location.
  • These permits often come with conditions attached.  The 4 knot limit before midday in Hen and Chicken Bay as well as the lead-out boat each morning are an example of these imposed conditions.
  • Permits can often have a minimum of two months to approve and process.
  • Processing of entries and pairings on the eve of the event.
  • Checking insurance coverage.
  • Event preparation can take anywhere between 8 hours for small local events up to days for some of the larger events.

A Tough Gig 31102011 001


Did you know?

What are the things about your job that most people don’t know about or may not realise?  For a tournament organiser:

  •  You are the first to arrive and the last to leave
  • Preparation for organising and running a tournament begins anywhere up to 12 months in advance
  • They will weigh more fish than any angler, yet won’t have the opportunity to cast a line.
  • Contrary to popular belief they don’t spend their weekends off fishing, more likely spending time with family and friends.


Keep in Mind:

As per the title of this article, running and organising tournament it is a tough gig and a few things to be mindful of at your next event are:

  • Organisers love your constructive criticism.  Preferably not during the actual tournament though or via the incorrect channels such as social media.
  • Attend the briefing and listen.  It’s for your benefit.
  • Organisers are as passionate about fishing as the anglers, but when running a tournament they are a focussed, collective team striving to provide the best possible experience to competitors. Please understand if we come off as abrupt it is not personal.
  • A lot of queries can be answered by reading the rules.

Next time you see that a tournament has wound down and is all packed up, keep in mind this is a significant milestone for the event organisers and that their job actually facilitates our recreational activities.

2 responses to “It’s a tough gig!

  1. Reading the article brought back memories for me. I was Secretary of the NSW Game Fishing Association in the early 80’s and one of the tasks was to administer the Port Stephens Interclub in Feb/Mar each year. 200 boats and 1,000 anglers was a twelve months process etc etc.

    Congrats to all of the people who run any tournament, it is a big task with a lot of responsibility and a lot of satisfaction to see the smiling faces at the presentation.

  2. Great article Ian.

    As someone who runs a small scale social series on the Central Coast of NSW I found out in the early stages that running an event was definitely not as easy as I thought it was going to be. The logistical side of running a small comp is pretty intense and when you couple that with liaising with local councils, insurance companies, supporting businesses and the anglers themselves it really does add up to quite a workload. I have to give a hat tip to the guys who run the established events, it wasn’t until I started the initial stages of the CCMB that I did realise that it definitely was not coke and hookers haha. The other factor that was unnerving initially is the cost of holding each event, there are the obvious overheads that you incur personally but then when you factor in the equipment required, the liability cover and a host of other paperwork it ends up not only being a financial cost but also a time cost.

    You did touch on not being able to fish, that is the thing that is going to bug me when next years series begins. At the moment I have the luxury of being able to participate but when I look at what myself and the staff will be facing next year I grudgingly had to accept that my days of fishing the comps I run will be over. Happy days for me though as there are the multitude of other rounds that I can fish, so this is a win/win for me. And for that reason alone I have to thank the ABT/BETS/GTS/SBS guys for allowing me that luxury.

    Again, great article!


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