My alarm is set. 5:00am, 5:05am, 5:10am, 5:15am. I can’t oversleep. I’ve got somewhere to be in the morning. I can’t be late. I can’t let my partner down.
It’s 2:00am and I need to be awake in 3 hours... why can’t I just fall asleep? This is when I feel like a child on Christmas Eve. The excitement and anticipation of what tomorrow might bring keeps me awake, wondering and hoping and wishing. Tomorrow is tournament day!
Standing in the driveway at 5:45am waiting for my partner to pick me up, I run through my checklist in my head...
Tackle bag ✔️
Phone/GoPro for photos✔️
Alright let’s go...
I love being on the boat when the sun is just starting to rise and there is still a blanket of fog over the water. Surrounding us are a bunch of other boats floating around... and we’re all doing the same thing, patiently waiting for 7:00am to make a run for it to our first spot before anyone else.
6:58am all the keys turn and “BEEEEEEP”. Then the motors roar.... 6:59am everyone looks over to the other boats and everyone gives the ol’ head nod. 7:00am we’re off...
For the next 8 hours we work. Not work like it’s a job, but we work for a limit. We cast we reel, we set hooks, we catch fish, we miss fish, we tell stories, we laugh and we yell. We yell at the fish, yell at our reels, yell at the log we just fought for 10 seconds because we thought for sure it was a 5 pounder.
One of the first few tournaments I ever did a few years back was in a place that I had never fished in my life. I knew absolutely nothing about it. The bottom of this place was all rocks and sand, not what I’m used to. We weren’t catching anything all morning! After a few hours I finally decided to try something new and tied on a green pumpkin football jig with the same color spider grub. After a few cast I hooked onto what felt like a log. Nope it was definitely a fish... a big one too. That thing jumped out of the water and we both just went crazy! I got our first fish of the day and it was a 5.56lb largemouth bass. Probably one of my most memorable catches. And we actually ended up winning 1st place and Lunker that day. Since then the football jig is now one of my favorite lures to throw.
When it comes to fishing tournaments, I don’t do them to be competitive. Yes, winning is cool (the couple I’ve won) but I still consider myself a beginner. Tournament fishing is a fun way to socialize and meet new people and it’s also a great way to push myself to try new places and try some new or different technics that I wouldn’t normally be able to use on my home lakes. Every lake is a little different and sometimes that’s what you have to do if you want to catch fish. Getting out of your comfort zone will 100% make you a better angler in the end.