As I find myself less than two weeks away from my first tournament this year, and one of only three, I am hustling. Not hustling in the sense of selling things but in the sense of constant preparation. This is a good reason why I am only fishing a few this year. I can’t just let it be fun. It will be fun but it will also be agony. I only fished two tournaments last year and placed Top 5 in both but neither were super serious nor well attended. This event will most likely be different.
The PKAA tournament is March 16thon the legendary Lake Fork. I want to do well. Maybe it’s because I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. In the last month I’ve been called a paper fisherman. Apparently I am more writer than fisherman to some. I suppose we will see. It’s a little extra motivation. It actually reminds me of a book I enjoy reading every couple of years, Think Like a Fish: The Lure and Lore of America’s Legendary Bass Fisherman by Tom Mann and Tom Carter. In it Mann talks about war, sports and fishing. This is at least two of the three if not all three, symbolically of course.
“In war, men are taught to think like their enemy. In sport, contestants should think like their opponents. Fishing is the only sport where the opponent, or prey, is usually invisible. If you can’t think like him, you won’t outsmart him. If you catch him without thinking, you’re not skilled, you’re simply lucky. Luck isn’t as much fun, or as fulfilling, as strategy-born thinking.”
I am pouring over maps, journals, reports, temp logs, rainfall totals from past years, baits, presentations, water clarity reports and talking to a bevy of informants to try to gain a slight advantage. I’ll have my work cut out for me but it is all a part of it. I am trying to think like a fish.
If conditions are X, where would I be, what would I be looking for? Am I lethargic or am I feeding up? Am I looking for a bed or am I just storing up after the winter?
The voices of fish that have no voice or inner thought are filling my dreams both day and night. It is setting up to be a nerve severing couple of weeks. I have reorganized my tackle twice, respooled all of my reels, selected the five rods I’ll take, the baits they will fling and even what accessories I’ll be taking along.
Tournament fishing to me is like a fine scotch. Taken in small doses it is able to be enjoyed and my presence to others is equally enjoyable. Largely consumed, no one wants to be near me or my warped verbal ramblings.
I will do my best to remain refined over the next two weeks. If you see me talking to my self and flailing wildly in the air however, best to just leave me be. It’ll go away March 17th.