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Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared #13358163 12/01/19 01:47 PM
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SenkoSam Online Content OP
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What does each represent to anglers that fish them? Input welcome.

Since I have experience fishing both, I'll give you my opinions.
For me fishing tournaments meant opportunities learning from other anglers and about waters I wouldn't normally fish. At the time until I bought a bass boat, I was limited to fishing waters safe for a rowboat with a small 3.5 hp outboard. Usually they were small lakes and rivers near where I lived and exposure to larger deeper lakes not possible nor safe for a small boat at times. Good boater-anglers opened the door to such things as fishing the tide in a tidal river, working water +20' deep, knowing when to hit shallow water vs deep water and the many lures that could get the job done. Learning curve - straight up ! Time constraints until weigh-in were of no concern to me seeing as I was along mostly for observation and possibly getting lucky at times for which I completely give my boater/partner credit for. Right place and lures used at the right time with the clock running pretty much the gist of my early tx angling.

Once I bought a Ranger bass boat, things didn't change much except now it was on me to find fish for my partner and me - even with his input. Even less experienced anglers stuck using only a few lures and presentations, presented learning opportunities when they caught bass. Winning a tournament wasn't as satisfying as one would expect nor being in the top six for the year. I saw it as sheer luck when it happened supported by: we make our own luck. Also,.as with any organized activity, politics and winning-at-all-costs sometimes creeps in and puts a damper on camaraderie and the fun aspect. It did infect the two B.A.S.S clubs I fished with. (Hope your clubs aren't like that.) Generally it was just nice to be able to fish with other anglers to learn from or teach.

With rec fishing there are overlaps with tx angling: right lures/right place/ right time/ used the right way(s). Time to explore all of that is not in hours, but days, weeks and months. Once I got into making, modifying and designing lures, a new world opened up allowing me to explore what fish strike, maybe when but most important - WHY. Having watched many TV fishing shows for over 30 years gave me many insights as well as readling anything I could get my hands on. Rec angling allows putting new ideas to work and the modification of old beliefs that don't - including some on the media meant to sell stuff (IE Bill Dance).
Al Lindner and Jerry McKinnis (God rest his soul) were inspirations and represented to me what rec fishing supports : VARIETY, FLEXIBILITY AND AN OPEN MIND (kind of what we should strive for regardless). Anglers now had a universe of ideas to explore, no longer constrained by personal misconceptions and sponsor misinformation.

But as with rec fishing, there is no excuse for not knowing thy water fished. Even with the latest in electronics, finding catchable fish is a daily challenge.The only difference is the time allowed to do so. Sad that so many tx anglers store their boats early for winter or take them out of storage later in spring. I used to fish all months of the year - my fanaticism was so great. Now the cold makes fishing in the cold months less enjoyable, but I can at least consider doing it beyond working in my basement workshop and smoking my pipe while watching TV.


Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/01/19 02:18 PM.
Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13358410 12/01/19 08:40 PM
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The beauty of angling, especially in Texas, is all of the options that are available. If you are a tournament angler there are tournaments all over the place, and not just for bass, but for most of our popular species. Recreational fishing in Texas is endless. I have been fishing for over half a century in Texas and I am still finding new species to chase, especially for records. Every month of the year has species available. If you are only a bass angler and enjoy it then keep having fun. My only issue with tournaments is that it can become a stressful sport where friends are lost. On the other hand, I have created lifetime friendships with anglers I met in tournaments. The most important issue is to make time for more fishing.

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13358682 12/02/19 01:28 AM
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I have fished in some tournaments. My dad was always excited about the annual Fishing Fiesta in Freeport, Texas. He got me involved in a few. One year, I finished second in Amberjack. It’s fun to be on the podium.

I fished 4 kayak redfish tournaments. Redfish were sort of a wheelhouse fish and I did well in those events, finishing in the money every time. It was fun planning a strategy pre tournament and looking at various factors that might come into play.

My buddy and I did some local charity tournaments. We had a great time planning our approach for those. My buddy won the flounder division, $600, one year and had the winning flounder on another time, but he couldn’t get it in the net. He had a winning redfish dq’d at the weigh in for being a molecule too long. My flounder finished an ounce outside the money. I got bumped from the money in another in the last 10 minutes of another.

Tournaments are work. The bigger the stakes, the more competitive. I know a tournament redfish guy. He does pretty well, but he works at it. It’s like a second job. He says it about pays for his gear and expenses. I’d rather fish to escape pressures. Be free to explore and not focus on outcomes.

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: karstopo] #13358818 12/02/19 03:18 AM
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I’d rather fish to escape pressures. Be free to explore and not focus on outcomes.


Couldn't have said it better !
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed fishing tournaments but only as a way to learn from other anglers - even the least skilled in the club - and a chance to fish different waters. Fishing with anglers that were fun and exciting to fish with was a big plus regardless whether or not we both placed in the money (which usually happened). It was like any outing with a friend you enjoy being around and work as a team, with both of you intent on finding and catching fish - neither being competitive with the other. But this one partner I fished with put a damper on my tourney fishing enthusiasm as did his buddy who I fished with after him in a different tournament.

We first started fishing a long row of pilings with him flipping in front of the boat for the first hour leaving me no water to fish. Not only was it unfair and unsportsmanlike but inconsiderate. He also was supposed to allow me to tell him where I wanted to fish for half the tournament considering the fact that I paid the launch fee and gas. Didn't happen. So what do you do? Complain and look like a sniveler? Not worth it. He and a few others split the club in two, forming their own club and destroying my first club because of too few members. Politics and bass clubs don't mix and neither do unsportsmanlike anglers intent on winning at all costs.

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/08/19 01:48 PM.
Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13359134 12/02/19 03:22 PM
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I fish for fun and that is the only reason I go fish. I thought about tournaments long ago and just stopped fishing all together. I realized that tournaments would suck the fun out of fishing because money was on the line....for me at least. Sold most of my gear and picked up another hobby. Did that for 10 years or so and decided I wanted to fish again. Sold all that gear and slowly started my way back into fishing. Now I build fishing rods for a little extra play money after I am done with my real job and family stuff. I go fishing whenever I can for however long I want to be on the water. All for fun and primarily to get away from the financial responsibilities of life. No desire what so ever of tournament fishing now. smile

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13365025 12/08/19 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by SenkoSam

For me fishing tournaments meant opportunities learning from other anglers and about waters I wouldn't normally fish.


How do you learn from other anglers in tournaments? I hear this a lot but tournament anglers are hardly willing to share their secrets. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13365096 12/08/19 01:24 PM
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The only kind of 'tournaments' I've ever fished are open derbies, rather than full-blown tournaments. The Lewisville fishing barge used to have a pot for the biggest carp, buffalo, and crappie caught there that month. There were also Saturday carp/buffalo contests there as well. Likewise, have participated in many big fish pots on offshore partyboats.

For whatever my opinion is worth, modern tournament fishing imposes so many rules on top of normal fishing regulations that it takes away alot of the fun of fishing. It also seems to create all kinds of rude & unsportsmanlike conduct from many participants (or perhaps the lure of winning attracts such types?)


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Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: toofy] #13365125 12/08/19 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by toofy
Originally Posted by SenkoSam

For me fishing tournaments meant opportunities learning from other anglers and about waters I wouldn't normally fish.


How do you learn from other anglers in tournaments? I hear this a lot but tournament anglers are hardly willing to share their secrets. And there's nothing wrong with that.


After a bass is caught, I watch what and how an angler is using a certain lure and where he's casting it (depth, cover). I take that info and do the same when rec fishing on a different water. The jig & pig became one of my best producers after I witnessed my tourney partner catching dink after dink on long casts. Of course I was the one who caught the only lunker that day - a 2 3/4 lb LM - using a plastic worm. Up to that point I was limited to catching bass using only that lure.

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/08/19 01:58 PM.
Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13365147 12/08/19 02:14 PM
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For whatever my opinion is worth, modern tournament fishing imposes so many rules on top of normal fishing regulations that it takes away alot of the fun of fishing. It also seems to create all kinds of rude & unsportsmanlike conduct from many participants (or perhaps the lure of winning attracts such types?)


Unfortunately what you say is true though not universal to all organized fishing. I've seen some of the rules are broke such as not prefishing a water at least one week before a tournament. I even got a phone call of someone willing to pay me to take him on a BASS tournament water days before the even. Of course he wouldn't say who he was. The best anglers in my club always set examples of sportsmanship and fair play. In fact a majority of anglers in both clubs I fished tournaments were that way.

Sad were those that needed to win at all costs and thought nothing of trying to weigh in a fish short by a fraction of an inch. He should have been penalized for trying that stunt but the other members were too nice.This same person would argue at every meeting over trivial matters and it was no wonder he lost the election to me for president.

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13365336 12/08/19 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SenkoSam
Originally Posted by toofy
Originally Posted by SenkoSam

For me fishing tournaments meant opportunities learning from other anglers and about waters I wouldn't normally fish.


How do you learn from other anglers in tournaments? I hear this a lot but tournament anglers are hardly willing to share their secrets. And there's nothing wrong with that.


After a bass is caught, I watch what and how an angler is using a certain lure and where he's casting it (depth, cover). I take that info and do the same when rec fishing on a different water. The jig & pig became one of my best producers after I witnessed my tourney partner catching dink after dink on long casts. Of course I was the one who caught the only lunker that day - a 2 3/4 lb LM - using a plastic worm. Up to that point I was limited to catching bass using only that lure.


If you're talking about your friend in the same boat, you don't need a tournament to fish together. I guess I was referring to the bigger group.

Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13366006 12/09/19 11:36 AM
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If you're talking about your friend in the same boat, you don't need a tournament to fish together. I guess I was referring to the bigger group.


20 years ago when I fished tournaments there were no anglers that lived in my immediate area nor ways of finding any that wanted to fish together. Tournament anglers in both clubs rarely fished with other anglers unless they lived close, fished the same waters or were friends. Even now there are no local diehard anglers that I can depend on to fish with on a regular basis. Last time I had that opportunity was when I was stationed in Texas and some of us got together at least once a week if not more. Too bad none of us fished with lures back in the 70's.

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/09/19 11:38 AM.
Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13366060 12/09/19 01:14 PM
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I’ve been bass fishing for over 30 years and do so to enjoy being out on the water, trying new techniques, catch some nice fish, and get away from the day-to-day. At work, I talk to people all day. All kinds of people. Most nice, some tools. I’m. It a social angler and only ever fish with friends I know really well and who fish similar to me. Tournaments are the exact opposite of why I fish. I’m not trying to fish on a clock or compete with anybody. I have zero interest in weigh-ins or prizes. Tournaments turn fishing into an aggressive, competitive endeavor instead of a relaxing opportunity to unwind. I grew up watching Ray Scott and the Bassmasters on tv. But also the aforementioned Al Lindner and his crew at In-Fisherman. I always preferred Al’s shows due to the variety and educational alien and yes, I’m aware he started out as a tourney angler and guide. Long way of saying, I can appreciate that some people really enjoy tournaments, but they’re definitely not my thing.


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Re: Tournaments and Rec fishing - compared [Re: SenkoSam] #13366906 12/10/19 01:12 AM
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In-Fisherman magazine and TV show used to be my favorites until it became commercialized like Bassmaster. But let me emphasize something about tournaments: there was no great pressure to win or worry about the clock. At least at the local level, only 1/10 of the anglers knew what they were doing and competed against each other; the rest just out to have fun fishing with others on different waters not usually fished. If my partner or I weighed in a winning amount, great; if skunked, no big deal. Weigh-in's were mostly fun and low key with congratulations forthcoming for those that did well. A few tools were disruptive but outnumbered by those of us that never took competitive fishing serious. Most satisfying was when a newbie no-boater at a club meeting told everyone that I showed him a lure and technique that allowed him to weigh in fish that day - a first for him. It was not uncommon that I offered lures to a less experienced tournament partners so they could catch fish. Of course some were too proud to accept ...or too thick, especially in one case where I caught 3 bass in less than 8 minutes.

But I refused to be a part of our club's 6-man team that fished the state federation tournaments which I qualified for twice. No point spending all that money hundreds of miles from home to fish a strange water against locals that knew it well. I had three kids to think about and didn't make a whole lot at my job. Priorities first/ fame and fortune not even in the picture.

Last edited by SenkoSam; 12/10/19 01:22 AM.
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