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#10862866 - 05/21/15 10:46 PM Co-angling
Michael Huffer Offline

Registered: 09/01/14
Posts: 87
Loc: texas
I was wondering what the qualifications for being a co angler on a tournament trail were? like age, being graduated or anything you knew. where could i sign up? im just looking for more tournament experience and was hoping i could start being a co-angler and also learn some new things. any help would be great! thank you
Texas A&M Bass Fishing Team '21

#10862917 - 05/21/15 11:21 PM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
Andrew Y'Barbo Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 06/25/12
Posts: 1390
Loc: Lufkin Texas
Tournaments such as bfl do not have qualifications. Besides being 16 I believe. Some are 15. Got to have parental permission and a signature. And thick skin. Co angling is a great way to have fun and learn. Really depends on your draw but always keep a positive outlook. Find a local tournament trail bfl is good along with aba bass weekend series. Give their number a call and they will walk you threw the specifics.

#10863225 - 05/22/15 07:45 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
rp2987 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 666
Loc: Kaufman
It's the easiest and fastest way for a young angler to get acclimated to tournaments and to learn many new techniques. Keep an open mind and remember that you are not fishing against the boater. Do your own thing in the back and figure out how to best catch fish from the behind the boater. 99% of the draws you get will be good guys. Start with the BFL's and Weekend series and when you know the lay of the land, get in the Rayovac's and BASS Opens for a higher level experience.

#10863337 - 05/22/15 08:37 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
Bissett Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 4437
Loc: Broken Arrow, OK
I fished as a co-angler last year for the first time and loved it. You will learn a ton expecially fishing with a different boater in each tournament. Just pay attention to where they are making their casts and try to hit the spots they may have missed.

#10863361 - 05/22/15 08:44 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: rp2987]
SteezMacQueen Offline
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 11/02/14
Posts: 5505
Loc: Red Oak, Galveston, and Pagosa...
Originally Posted By: rp2987
It's the easiest and fastest way for a young angler to get acclimated to tournaments and to learn many new techniques. Keep an open mind and remember that you are not fishing against the boater. Do your own thing in the back and figure out how to best catch fish from the behind the boater. 99% of the draws you get will be good guys. Start with the BFL's and Weekend series and when you know the lay of the land, get in the Rayovac's and BASS Opens for a higher level experience.
very well said.

I fish bass opens as a co angler. It can be frustrating. Frustrating that you do not know what the boaters styles and strengths are going to be. Usually. Best thing is to try and throw something that is similar or "complementing" to what he/she(there is one young lady on the tour that I know of)is throwing.

As for requirements? Other than age or parental consent, I don't know of any. The normal requirements are still there. License to fish in each state, personal life jacket on when the boater has the big engine on. Etc.

I'd suggest starting somewhere with a lot of local stuff. Not nessacarily small local, but a trail that has more tournaments with in shorter driving distance. Just to be easier and less expensive. The bass series opens are all around a 6-8 hour drive, one way, pulling a boat for me. And then it's a week long event with driving, pre fishing, and tournament days. So it gets expensive. A closer tournament might not be as much travel expenses.

Other things? Be courteous to the boater. It is his boat! Haha. He/she has paid several times more money to fish their boat and take you along. Haha. Help them when and where you can (physically and legally), and offer to help with fuel costs before you take off. That will often ease the tension of them towing a stranger(tattle tail) along with them. Often it is enough for them to offer to take you to where you caught fish on practice days. Also, don't tell other boaters where your previous day's boaters "spots"'were. Unless the previous day's boater is no longer fishing. That's considered bad taste. Clean up after yourself on their boat. Some of these folks have really expensive boats, so don't mess em up. Haha. Don't be late. Be early. And meet them before the boat launch to load your gear and help launch the boat. Park their truck if they want you to. Just help. Most tourneys have a few hundred boats. So lots of boat ramp traffic.

Have fun. And learn what you can. I always learn something new from each boater I've been with. Some of them are Elites. So even if you don't weigh a bag, it's worth the price of admission just to fish with them in a money/pressure situation to see their choices, decisions, and techniques.

Edit: Think of the week as a semi expensive guided trip with some of the best anglers around, and learn.

Edited by SteezMacQueen (05/22/15 08:49 AM)
Eat. Sleep. Fish.

#10863585 - 05/22/15 10:08 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
Champion1 Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 09/20/03
Posts: 2685
Loc: Mansfield, Texas, One Nation U...
I fished the Red River Open last year and had the worst and best day of my fishing life. First day my "pro" shows up late and is drunk. Has to stop to go throw up before we launch. It went downhill from there. Here is a write up I did of my second day when I drew Elite Angler Kevin Short K-Pink:

I have never been in the boat with a elite guy so was really looking forward to it when I found out on Thursday I was going with him. Been in the boat with a lot of really good fishermen but somehow I knew this would be a little different. I know you can go out with some of the elites because they do some guiding but this would be in a competition environment at the Red River Open with money and a Classic invite on the line. As for me I was way behind as I only weighed in a 1.8 pounder the day before and needed about 9 pounds I figured to get a check and about 12 to get into the top 12 and fish Saturday. I knew we would be around fish though so I was pumped. Kevin was staying at the marina so it was really easy to launch, his wife backed us down and we were ready. He gave me a compartment to put my stuff in which my partner the day before didn't, so I thought that was really nice. His 2014 Basscat Cougar is wrapped in predominantly pink which is his trademark. He was very cordial to me right off but I could tell a bit stand offish I guess these guys never know what they are getting with co anglers so they are cautious. I told him that I fish a lot of tourneys and was used to it so whatever he needed to do I was ready. That seemed to put him at ease immediately. We were going to pool 3 which is about 61 miles and 2 locks to get there. About 1.5 hours of boat driving time one way.
When describing my day the only 2 words I can come up with are smart and efficient. Time is never wasted with him. Everything he does is to maximize the amount of casting time in prime water. It was simply amazing to watch. We would fish outside of every lock for as long as possible to maximize fishing time. When we came out of the first lock there were 70 boats in there. We were boat #12 leaving the lock, I counted. We passed 5 the first mile and the rest within 2 miles. Pink Basscat Cougars freakin fly! There was no staying in the middle of the river he would go from point to point because it is less distance again smart and efficient. No one ever caught us or even came close! We stopped in a little cove next to the second lock, to make a few casts before time to lock down again. It was a full 6 minutes before the next boat went by, again smart and efficient. We got to our spot in pool 3 and he started catching them pretty quickly, but they were small. He caught 3 and I caught one keepers. He would rifle threw several baits picking apart everything. Texas rig, buzzbait, crankbait, jig. He hit them about every way you can in rapidfire succession. He was making 2 casts to my one. Flips with his left hand so he doesn't have to change hands, smart, efficient.
We move to another area we both catch another one flipping into heavy brush. He is every bit as happy when I catch one as when he does. I thought that was awesome! He says we gotta go it aint happening down here like he thought it would. Hes adjusting to the conditions on the fly. We lock up to 4. In the lock we have about 20 minutes to sit and eat sandwiches and just talk. Something that almost never happens on a tournament day. I will cover some of our conversation later and the questions I asked and he answered. I ask how far we are running when we get out of the lock and he tells me exactly 2.8 miles and it will take us 4 minutes to get there exactly. Smart and efficient. He knows exactly how far and how long it takes to get virtually everywhere we go all day. Amazing! In pool 4 he is firing a crankbait, and moving faster than I have ever seen anyone do it. He catches a 3.5 pounder. Talks to a couple of guys he knows in there who have been in there all day and only have 5 small ones, they are all drowning worms. He aint picking up a worm. Continues to fire and is counting down the minutes to when we have to leave. Every second counts. With 3 minutes to go he catches a 4.5 pounder, he is happy but no time to celebrate gotta make a few more casts. Time to go, he cranks up and we are running 70 mph between massive stumps, makes a hard U turn and back up the river. We are the last boat in the lock before it closes. Smart and efficient.
We finish the day in pool 5, he is still cranking and moving. Our check in time is at 3, we check in at 2:59:50. That's called maximizing your fishing time!
-We are good fishermen, he is better. We may be really good at a few things, flipping, worming, cranking whatever. He is great at everything. Its how he makes his living.
-He never stops til the tournament is over. We have all been in the boat with a guy having a bad day or are having one ourselves and just quits or gets mad and stops fishing. He accepts sometimes things aren't always gonna go the way you planned, but adjusts and keeps going anyway, always thinking I am one cast from a big one.
-He is 52 years old and is in really good condition. He has quite a bounce to his step for someone his age. I never saw him drink anything but water all day. No gatorade or sodas, I guess he understands this is a marathon not a sprint.
-We do not use our electronics anywhere near its capability. He can make his do just about anything it was designed to do. I was truly amazed at how he had everything in his graph working. I know guys that spend $5000 on graphs and all they do is turn it on and change screens every once in awhile.
QUESTIONS I ASKED: Some questions I asked and he declined to answer. I wont tell you all we discussed some of it I will keep to myself, but these are the basics:
-What do weekend anglers do wrong that you see?
Kevin: Lose focus too easily, don't change baits enough, and don't change locations enough.
-Whats the hardest part of your job?
Kevin: Making a living at it.
-Do sponsors approach you or do you have to seek them out?
Kevin: In all the years I have been doing this I have had exactly 2 call me up.
-How much time do you spend on the water a year?
Kevin: About 150 days.
-Whats your worst co angler story?
Kevin: I aint going there! (Laughs)
It was better than I ever could have dreamed it could be. He is a genuinely polite and intelligent guy but wants to win and will do everything he can to do it. He truly loves what he does even after doing it for so long. His wife is his support group and gives him a hug and kiss when he leaves and the same when he gets back. They are truly a team. They were going in to have ice cream with Don Barone when I left. Don was nice enough to take a pic with us standing by his boat, but its upside down cause Don is electronically challenged he told me.LOL Kevin gave me 2 expensive crankbaits still in the box before I left. The same ones he was throwing. One for dirty water and one for clear. Don't make colors complicated he said, it aint rocket science! They will never see water, I have them on my desk to remind me of the day. Oh, I will order some just like them believe me, but I aint telling you guys what they are, they are my new secret weapon!

Edited by Champion1 (05/22/15 10:09 AM)
"You can observe a lot by watching."-Yogi Berra

#10863602 - 05/22/15 10:16 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
BMCD Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 11/01/02
Posts: 4109
Loc: Katy, Texas US
As stated above bring the right attitude, its not the boaters job to put you on fish. Often the boater keys in on one way to catch fish, and there maybe another way, different bait, deeper, shallower. Keep an open mind. Sometimes its tough to fish behind a vacuum. Don't be the Co that blames the boater for not catching fish. U have to adjust to the conditions.

And just have a good time.

Edited by BMCD (05/22/15 10:30 AM)

#10863613 - 05/22/15 10:23 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
LakeForkGroupie Offline

Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 415
Cool Story Champion.

#10863812 - 05/22/15 11:49 AM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
lconn4 Online   content
TFF Celebrity

Registered: 12/02/12
Posts: 9185
Loc: Cherokee County
That story is as good as it gets! cheers
A good rule of angling philosphy is not to interfere with another fisherman's ways of being happy, unless you want to be hated.

Zane Grey, Tales of Fishes, 1919

#10864319 - 05/22/15 03:16 PM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
Bissett Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/09/13
Posts: 4437
Loc: Broken Arrow, OK
That is an awesome story. A lot to learn from that

#10864353 - 05/22/15 03:29 PM Re: Co-angling [Re: Michael Huffer]
ogles824 (aka Lakewaydr50) Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 2409
Michael you are definitely on the right track. I tried the club tournament route which is not a bad way to learn either, but I just think I would have learned more faster on the AM side of Pro/Am. On the club side of things it seemed I fished more with people that had no more knowledge than I had, or I'd be fishing solo a lot. The Pro/Am system is going to put you in the boat with someone who has a lot of knowledge 99% of the time. Now whether they want to take the time to share it, that's a whole 'nother ball of wax but from what I hear most will..........
Isaiah 40:31 "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


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