By Marc Rogers
Bass Fishing Tournament Strategies
There are countless fishing tournament circuits from the ones that attract the touring professionals to the small regional circuits that generally consist of avid weekend anglers competing for bragging rights and enough winnings to cover their costs. Many of the smaller circuits have “buddy” events where anglers compete for total boat weight. Almost all of these circuits conduct some kind of year-end event where qualifiers compete for money and prizes. To qualify the anglers accumulate points based on their finishing position in each qualifying event.
Points are generally awarded for participation in each event (10 points is common among most) and additional points for where the angler(s) finish. An example would be 100 points for a first place finish plus the 10 participation points for a total of 110 points for a win. Second place would be 109 points and so on down the list of anglers who were able to weigh in fish at the event. This is where many amateur anglers get caught up in catching a “points” fish instead of setting out to win each event. I am not suggesting that winning is easy but if the angler(s) don’t set out to do so they generally don’t bring a limit of fish to the scales at the end of the event.
Many anglers are happy with their first legal fish caught because it secures them a chance to accumulate points for the event. These points will certainly help them qualify for the year-end event and keep them in contention to win the points championship. After the first legal fish in boated it tends to take some of the pressure off the anglers(s). They will be more relaxed and then sometimes tend not to fish as competitive as they may have the ability to do.
Fishing for points generally leaves the angler(s) finishing in the middle of the pack at each event. They probably will not win the points championship and they will seldom cash a check at any event. I have watched fellow anglers allow themselves fall into this situation several times while fishing regional tournament circuits and had it personally happen to me as well. My partner and I led a circuit in points all the way until the last event only to end up in third place in the point championship race.
I must admit he and I spent a lot of time watching the point standings and relaxed after catching our first “points” fish. We only cashed a check in one event with a second place finish and big bass honors. However, the big bass was the only fish we caught during that tournament and just happened to be enough weight to also take second place.
This situation now makes me look at each tournament in a different way. My thoughts have changed and I now fish to win instead of worry about the points. When trying to win an event I know I will fish harder and be much more intense throughout the day. If winning is the goal I believe most anglers will finish higher in the standings at each event and the points will come as well. When the event starts anglers should count on catching a limit of legal fish and then start culling them with bigger fish. Make a limit your minimum standard and don’t relax until each one has been replaced with a larger one.
As it turned out the team who won the points championship and beat my partner and myself truly deserved to win it. They also had brought the most weight to the scales during the qualifying events. They even won the last event securing a one point lead over second place and three point lead over third place.
Learn from others mistakes and don’t get caught up in the “points” race in any tournament circuit. It will cost you at the end of the year in both the point standings and winnings.