My first experience in a Bass Club Tournament - Long

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TrepMan

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OK Gang, this past Saturday was my first Club T as a prospective member to the Big Shanty BassMasters club here in North Georgia. I am considering joining this club, right now my only reservations is that they usualy fish 4-6 two day overnight T's and with my teaching Sunday School I don't know if that is doable next year. The club meets once a month for a "business" meeting, they do a charity/volunteer projects each year to meet B.A.S.S. qualifications, the Top 6 each year go to the Federation State Tournamement and so on... Each person weighs their own fish so while you are with a partner in the boat, each person is fishing against the clock and not as a team.



Anyway, I thought folks might be interested in my experience as some have never fished a Club before (like me):



- Last Thursday I went to the Dec. meeting and signed up as a non-boater. I was paired that night with the guy in the #3 spot in the club, and the Tournament on Saturday was the last one of the year, so the top 3 folks were all very close and wanted to come out on top. We talked briefly and he suggested we'd be hitting main lake points the first few hours with spinnerbaits and crankbaits (Big Dan - you were RIGHT On!!), and then as the sun/air warmed up we'd spend the remainder of the day on Docks looking for quality fish. The T was from safe light to 4pm.



- Weather predicted sunny/no clouds but a cool 31 degree's at blastoff (safe light which was 6:50am). I met my boater at a grocery store nearby, and loaded up his 18.5 ft Astro (single console) with my gear. We met the club at the Waffle House near the ramp for breakfast. Everyone was VERY friendly and I enjoyed my heavy fat and cholesteral breakfast :) On the ride up to the lake (at the suggestion of Big Dan and Tex) I discussed how the boater and I would work through out the day. He wanted me to drive the truck and he'd work the boat on/off the trailer. He would let me know if he needed a net, and other then that just fish away.



- Oh, he was also the Tournament Director this year, so we called out the blast off order and away we went. I had purchased warm headgear and such so I was ready for a ride. Luckily he ran a whole 30 seconds to the first point, and then we proceeded to fish each point once and then on to the next. 2.5 hours later neither of us had any fish off the points.



- The sun had come up and he told me the fish would be in the shaddy sides/parts of docks and off we went for the next 6.5 hours we hit docks around the lake he felt were productive. Now, i have NEVER caught a fish under/around a Dock in my life, no matter how hard I tired. So I looked forward to learning something, and I did. He got his first fish at around 11am. He was throwing a 1/4oz Jig/Pig and skipping it back under the docks and under/between boats/docks. I helped him net the fish and kept trying my Senko's. The problem was he fishes FAST and after 2-3 casts at a dock he'd move on to the next one. What i've learned with Senko fishing is cast/skip it back under the dock and wait patiently for it to sink and wait some more! I quickly figured out this would NOT work with the style of my boater.



- After he picked up his 3rd fish about an hour later (I sucessfuly netted all 3 for him!!! that's a long story but i was REALY scared about netting!!) I had switched to a Tx rigged worm but he suggested a Jig or Slider worm. My only Jigs were 1/2 oz or bigger, so he gave me a Slider head jig and suggested a color. I hooked up a Crawfish plastic and off I went learning how to skip under docks!



- He got his 4th keeper fish, and then a dink. Oh, the minimum length on Lanier is 14 inches (reminded me of the KY Lake Rally where 15 inches was the minimum). Shortly their after I hooked my one and only fish for the day on the Slider jig. I had felt a few taps earlier but no hookups. This time the fish nailed the jig on the bottom and he helped me<
 

Bryan McDonough

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With the 2 day T thing, and your schedule, it would be tough to compete. At least you will learn somethings along the way.
 

TrepMan

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BMCD - Yes, i'll have to look at the schedule if most of the 2 days are during the summer that would work, but in 2004 the 2 days were in March, April, May, Oct and Nov, all times when the kids are in school and so will I on Sundays. You know 1 or 2 times I can get a sub but once a month is tough.



Trep
 

Scott Hammer TOXIC

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Actually sounds like you had a very cooperative boater. There is no such thing a sloppy seconds on a dock. For example, CIII and boatmate fished a 3 pole dock this year. They hit the left and right of every post on the dock and worked it thoroughly and slowly. I came in behind them with my boat. I cast up the center, I skipped a senko up under there, and this is what I got......To say the least CIII and his buddy were amazed...If you got back boated, you would have never been able to even cast to the dock.
IM000757.JPG
 

TrepMan

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Tox - Yes, Tex explained if he positioned the boat pointed AT the dock then i'm being back-boated, and he never did that, and the one fish I did hook he had already came through and i got the fish!
 

Ethan Book

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Trep, this brings up a point that I had often thought about when I thought about tournament fishing. I too have commitments on Sunday, but mine are a little more binding than yours as I'm the Associate Pastor! So, Mr. Head Pastor dude is not really down with letting me fish a tournament on Sunday morning...not that I blame him. Have you ever checked into the Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail. It's a national buddy trail with quite a few divisions, and I'm sure they'd have one near you as the even have one up here in Iowa (not exactly bass fishing meca). They do all of their fishing on Saturdays and they have a prefishing meeting that is mandatory (or you lose points) on Friday night. If I could find a partner that would take on a worthless fisherman like me I would be very tempted to try this trail. The downside I guess it that it may be more expensive than the typical club trail.
 

TrepMan

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Ethan - At this point i'm more interested the "fun" club type then the Tournament trail, I want to fish each month with someone different so I can learn and meet folks. See, i'm a bit of a shut in!! I work from home, so I don't meet a lot of folks, and want a way to meet folks who have things in common, and learn more techniques in Fishing.



I like the idea of fishing different lakes then the 2 near by, so the club T's sound like a good idea so far!



Trep
 

Steve Rizza

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Sounds like a great time Trep.



Looking forward to next year when some new guy tells us he was paired with some "Trepper" guy who was fishing for a spot in the top three.





LOL..glad to hear your dock skipping has improved since the rally.Did you put any up on the dock roofs?..LOL





Steve
 

TrepMan

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Steve - Dock Roof,s boats, Docks, pontoons!! you NAME it I hooked it!!! LOL



What amazed me about this guys was watching him skip this jig/pig between a pontoon and a dock with a width of maybe 10-12 inches!!! And you'd hear the Jig hit the back of the dock 18-20ft back in the tight space!!!!
 

Steve Rizza

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Takes LOTS of practice to get that good.I skip baits around even when I don't have to just to get in some practice.

I still shy away from peoples boats though,every now and again.(ok..often) I get that errant cast that goes wherever the heck it wants to.Sure would hate to smack one off somebodys 30k boat.
 

Carlos Hathcock III

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Thanks Tox,

I needed that one!!!! You will not do that again to me :) Well, I hope not anyway :)



trep, good experiance. But I think that I would like the team TX a bit more. Not so sure on the individual TX right now.



Carlos
 

TrepMan

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Carlos - My fear in a Team T would be while it would be better odds of winning (especialy if my partner was GOOD!!) I would not work towards my goal of realy getting to know more folks. For me at this point the $$ each year (figure about $800, when you figure $45 yearly dues, $20/month T dues, 1/2 of Gas which runs from $25 - $55 depending on the lake/lenght of T) it will teach me things, meet folks and who knows when i'm 40 in 2 years maybe a good deal on a used Avalance DC with a 150 or 175 will come up!!! LOL
 

Ethan Book

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I hear what you are saying about meeting people Trep and not being as serious. I just really need to find one that is preacher friendly and that is tough to do in my area because we don't have a lot of clubs.
 

Carlos Hathcock III

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Trep, Understnad that one. My goals are a bit diffrent as I have a bit of a diffrent background.



I have been in the competitive shooting arena for about 16 or so years of my Marine Corps career. I have run the lenght from a shooter, to a coach, to a head coach and we have won matches, set national and even international records. I LIKE to shoot, , and liek to think that I cna shoot ok, but all that time on the "competiive edge" took most of the enjoyment out of that sport for me. I team fish, so that the same thing that happened to me in shooting does not happen to me in the fishing.

I am VERY comeptitive in most anything that I do. I work on my "enjoyment" factor everytime I go fishing. I do nto really ever worry about the odds of winning. I trust my partner in his decisions and he trusts my ideas and decisions, even when he has done this thing for many more years then I have.

I agree also with the meeting more people too. In my limited TX experience, I have met some good eggs!! But, to be honest, I spend more time with the people I have met from this site then I do in the TX series that I fish.

Final note, I have a 896 that I can let go for a good deal, all you ahve to do is say that you are sponsored by "White Feather Inc" and then we are even :)



Carlos



PS I do not mean to sound heavy on this post, if I do, I apologize......
 

TrepMan

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Carlos - No heavy sounding in your post at all dude, everyone has different goals and objectives and at different points in their life.



On the 896, even if it was time to buy, that monster rig is WAY to heavy to pull behind my mini-van, and i'm shooting for a new boat in 2 years, can't afford a Truck too!!



Unless of course I win the lottery!!!



Ethan - Understand the Preacher friendly, dude! Me i'd love to find a Jewish Bass Club that meets on Saturday (must be Reformed though, don't see the conservative or orthodox doing it on Shabbat!!! LOL)
 

Carlos Hathcock III

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Ethan,

What do you mean preacher friendly? I do not understand that one.



I understand the Minivan Trep! I sure do!! but the "White Feather Inc" offer still stands :)



Carlos
 

Ethan Book

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By preacher friendly I mean groups that don't fish on Sunday. In my area (Iowa) we have bass clubs, but not as many as it sounds like I would find down south. Quite a few of the clubs will have tournaments on Sundays or Saturdays and Sundays...and that just takes me out of the mix. That's why I had looked into the Fishers of Men trail, but money might be holding me back a little there, and there are only 4 or 5 tournaments a year unless you start winning a lot ;)
 

Carlos Hathcock III

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Ethan,

I fish the Fishers TX series. I like the format and the no TX fishing on Sunday's also. We have just 5 regular TX;s in our area and the Regionals, that makes 6. As it is a Team thing, I find it very affordable for me as we get to split the costs. Plus, we split the boat useage too. We use my baot for the "Northern" TX's and KB's for the Southern TX's. Works out good all the way around for me.

Good luck with your choice!!!



Carlos
 

Jim Carlson

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Trep,



Thanks for the great write-up. I too have never fished in a tournament, or in a club, and have been thinking that I should try that just to meet other fisherman and learn some new techniques. Sounds like you had a positive experience. I'll have to follow your lead and give it a try.
 

Eddie Riley

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I can relate to Ethan and Trep. I am a bi-vocational pastor. At one time we had a Fellowship of Christian Anglers Bass Club that fished only on Saturdays. Unfortunately, a large plant shut down here in Central La. where I live and many of the men worked there and some had to move and others just had to sell their boats. But it was a blast and the fellowship was wonderful. Maybe where you live there would be enough interest in your area for a chapter. We did benefit tournaments and had an end of year banquet where we gave out awards and gave all the children grab bags of lures and stuff. We even had Jack Hains come one year and give his testimony. If you get a club going, let us know. Thanks for reading and God bless-Eddie Riley
 

Texas Transplant

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Trep,



Glad that you had a good time. Yes, whenever you have a boater that moves fast, it's hard to fish a slow pattern. Happened to me on the 2nd day of the State Tourney. Funny thing was that he was fishing primarily a worm when he was running down the bank at 20mph!



Tex
 

fatrap

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Ok Trep



Here's what you do to slow the guy in front down. Works great. You slide a #25 weight plate in your tackle bag with about 35' of light nylon line attached. When he isn't looking you slide it off the back deck and tie it off. Then while he's screwing with his troller trying to figure out why the boat isn't moving YOU fish the dock.

fatrap
 

Bill McElroy

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Nice report and great observations Trep,.....you'll be slingin' toads in the back in no time!! Just ask a lot of questions (but not TOOOO many...LOL) and pay attention to what your boater is doing. You'll be fine!!



LMAO at the Orthodox visual....can you grow some 8" side burns??,....you could hide baits in those badboys!! LOL!!!
 

Barry Loos

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Trep, I loved non-boaters like you when I did tournys. You don't smoke, you don't chew (no-spitting), you don't have a lot of stuff in the way, you don't weight much, you can net fish, you're willing to stay in the back of the boat, you're okay with the boater making all of the decisions, and you brought a snack bag. Reading your experience got me fired up to do another tourny.



Do yourself a favor an save this post and if you really get into tournament fishing, drag it out in a few years and read it again. You'll have a good laugh. You'll find your competitive needs have changed drastically.



Glad you enjoyed yourself. When you do the Bassmaster's Classic someday, I'll furnish the camera boat. I certainly don't want to miss that. You're already a star in my book, but by then you'll shine even brighter.



Da Bear
 

TrepMan

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Chris - By then i'll be driving a 21ft Avalanche with a 300 Merc racing engine - Aluminium ALL THE WAY BABY!!!!



Da Bear - You may be right, but I purposely looked at this club (as opposed to team clubs) as a way to learn and meet folks in a less competitive environment. Don't get me wrong, do I want to win the $60 each month for the 1st prize in the T, sure! How about the trophy for #1 for the year and fish the Top 6 Federation T, some day if I get good enough!



I wish I had the coin for even an 18ft Avalanche with a 150hp, maybe in 2 years one of our members will be sell theirs and we can "keep it in the NTOWS family"!!!



Trep
 

Ken Sabin

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Trep- I have an 18 ft Avalanche, and if they come out with a 21 footer mine will be for sale instantly !!
 

TrepMan

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Ken - I'll keep that in mind!!! Wife yesterday said "you know our van can tow 3500 lbs, we can get a bigger boat someday!



Just gotta wait 2 years, or if my IBM Stock goes WAY up!!
 

Tony Britt

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Glad you had an awesome tournament experience on your first try. There is nothing like tournament fishing with a local club when you are trying to beat your friends.
 
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