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Give Away Some Hints and Win More
For those of you that compete in fishing
tournaments this title may seem to counterintuitive. I bet you are
asking how does giving away spots, revealing a proven technique, or
showing a hot bait help me to win money? In fact, I would wager that
many of you are responding “Over my dead body. I worked too hard to
find those spots.” Regardless of your response I am sure this article
will generate a good deal of controversy. Before you decide I am a fool
and quit reading please give me the benefit of the doubt and read on.
First, I am sure you would agree that if there is
more money available for payout and/or more places paid out your chance
of cashing a bigger check will increase. One way to do this is to turn
pro I guess but a much easier way for the weekend angler to do this is
to bring in new people. I am not talking about recruiting from other
trails but instead I refer to bringing in “new blood.” The sport is
growing but, I feel it would grow even faster if we would help out the
new guy instead of attempting to sabotage his day.
Not everyone is like this but let me describe a
hypothetical experience that a new tournament angler could experience in
any region of the country. John decides he is a good bass fisherman and
as he is watching “Bassmasters” on TV says to himself, “I could do
that.” He is realistic and realizes he needs to start somewhere at the
local level. He goes to the local tackle store and talks to a couple of
guys there who recommend a local team trail. He takes a flyer and calls
his fishing buddy Mike when he gets home. They decide they will give the
next tournament a try. Now comes the hard part, telling their wives that
they will spend $150.00 for the entry fee. Of course they follow up
with, “We always catch fish on Lake XYZ. We will do well.” The wives
Tournament day finally arrives and Mike and John
arrive early and have memorized the rules so they will not make
mistakes. They draw start position 10 and a few minutes later they are
flying down the lake to a hopeful hot spot. They fish hard all day and
catch 20 bass. The bad part is only one is a keeper. The rest are ½
inch short. They make it back to the ramp and find themselves in last
place. The top guys “Team Experienced” brought in 25lbs of bass. The
director hands them the check and asks, “What did you catch them
on?” The reply is, “ We were Carolina rigging a buzz-bait in 30ft of
water.” This brings on a chuckle.
John and Mike hang around hoping to pick up a
couple of pointers and to get to know the guys. Unfortunately, however,
they get a very similar response from the rest of the field. They are
told thanks for fishing with us and we hope to see you again by several
guys, but it really feels like they mean, thanks for the money. Hope to
see you suckers again.
Will John and Mike come back? Maybe, but there
would have been a much bigger chance they would if someone had taken the
time to give out a few pointers. One could easily give a quick piece of
advice without giving away the farm. You know why you caught the fish
and it was a combination of location, bait color, weight, current,
depth, time of day, presentation, and luck. If you offered a couple of
these it might help greatly and the new guys would have to figure the
rest out on their own. They would go away saying, “ Yes we got our
butts kicked but those are some nice guys I think we will enjoy fishing
with them again.”
I see a lot of different types as I fish
tournaments and I can’t stand the ones who will lie about what they
did. If you have to do that you are really not that good. I could easily
give out 4 of the 5 pieces of the situation that caused me to catch fish
and someone else would not do as well. Look at how many times the
co-angler will try to do the same thing as the guy up-front and not do
well. The difference might be as subtle as a slower retrieve.
Ok to sum it up. I don’t expect anyone to give
away everything because I understand how hard some people work to find
fish, but it might be in your best interest to help out the guys that
haven’t been doing well so they stick around. Also, the next time you
are fishing that super-secret spot look around. Is it really that big of
a secret anyway? You never know, the guys you helped might just return
the favor someday.
Ok for the new guys I would caution you. Dock talk can kill you as well as help you. It might help you refine what you are already doing but I would be very hesitant to change the whole game plane tournament day. Get out there and get time on the water and be sure to try new things when practicing. That is the time to learn. There really is no substitute to time on the water!