Tournament season has started, and I’ve fished two club tournaments, and have another big one coming up this weekend. I say “big one”, but it’s not like I’m fishing the Elites or the FLW or anything. But, for me, it’s a bigger tournament than a club tourney. I’ll be fishing the first tournament of the year with the Upper Midwest Bass Challenge Series. These guys are definitely a step above how I view a lot of club tournaments. Don’t think I don’t think the guys in either of my bass clubs are good sticks, though. Here’s my take on club tournaments.
In club tournaments, you have a really great dose of competition. Every angler wants to win and they relish in bringing in a heavier bag to the scales at the end of the day. But, in club tournaments, everyone gets along, and often they not only fish together, but are friends outside of the club. For me, bass clubs exist to help everyone learn more about techniques, bodies of water, styles of fishing, and different lures that come along. I think that bass clubs are about learning from other people.
That is not to say that you can’t learn anything from other anglers at team trails, opens, and other events, but there is more at stake. The pots are obviously bigger, as are the bragging rights. I love that idea, but it also makes it feel different than a simple club tourney. And it should feel different. It’s a different playing field and the players are more competitive at that level. I’ve fished another team trail, the Central Wisconsin River Series presented by Minn Kota, Humminbird, and Point Beer, for a couple years now. But this will be my first year with the U.M.B.C.S., and I’m not going to tell you that I’m not at least a bit nervous. And I think you should be, going into a big tournament. I think being nervous is good, because it makes you think harder and it makes you concentrate more. At least that is the case with me.
I don’t think you can progress as an angler without checking out other circuits, some opens, and maybe even fishing with more than one club. I think it’s almost a necessity. That doesn’t make it easy and, for someone like me, who is fairly new to the tournament world, it may even be a bit intimidating. But you just have to trust in yourself and your abilities, and then let the cards fall where they may. Win, lose, or draw, this weekend will be a great experience for me, and I’m looking forward to competing against these guys.
So, bring on the weekend, the new competitors, and the new body of water. I’ve been on the water only once, but luckily Rod, my partner in fishing and life, has been on it before. It’s been years, but he at least has an idea of the lay of the land. I only hope I can be helpful in the decision making process on the water. I’m looking forward to all of the challenges that this tournament fishing year has to offer.
Good luck and tight lines, all!