Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Prepping for Tournament fishing

April 11th 2009 was Team MiRketti's first tournament. It was exciting, painful, and a learning experience.

My partner Mizike and I had been preparing for tournament bass fishing for about 3 months now. We decided we were going to tournament fish this year while we were playing Bass Strike on PS2 and realized how good we were at that game. We have fished together for quite a few years now but mostly for walleye, crappie, catfish, and a few other species. Hardly ever for bass.

I had always considered bass tournaments and even bought my boat with the intentions of getting in some small tournaments. My boat is a 18' fish Spectrum pontoon loaded with livewell, trolling motor, fish finder, four swivel fishing seats, rod holders and many other options.

As the season got closer I started thinking wouldn't it look better if we were going to do the kind of bass fishing we were talking about in a bass boat. I started studying up on boats and figured out a fish and ski model would work out good for family and fishing.

I ended up purchasing a 1998 Nitro f/s with a 150 hp Mercury. It has 2 livewells, a back and front casting deck, 5 seats. Two of them are removable to place on the front and back casting decks. It also has quite a bit of extra storage.

We read everything bass we could get our hands on, talked bass, watched bass fishing on t.v. Broke down spots on the lakes we planned on fishing on contour maps according to what the information we were reading was telling us to fish. When the ice finally melted off the water I caught my first bass of the year. It was about 2 pounds. Pretty good for crappie fishing. We made it out a little later and Mizike caught his first bass casting off some rocks with a small crankbait.

That got us all fired up. We got the pontoon out a couple weekends and bass fished every spot we were supposed to and probably not like we were supposed to and got skunked. I found a good shelf at Delaware lake that was holding quite a few fish on the fish finder. We fished and fished for them. That night I got home and started putting things together. It was pre-spawn for Walleye about a quarter of the lake from the lake from the dam. I had seen this scenario over and over again walleye fishing. With my thoughts only on bass I passed up some excellent walleye fishing. As I have several more times up to this point.

We started getting fishing catalogs in the mail as it started to warm up a little more. We both went crazy at Gander Mountain and Bass Pro stocking up on lures. We were buying up everything we saw on t.v. and read out of books. I was into bass fishing about 10 years ago in high school before I started college. I used to catch a lot of bass so I restocked all of my tackle that I used to use too. Before long I went from 2 tackle boxes to both boxes and 2 regular boxes full of lures, jigs, spinners, worms, etc.

Finally it got down to the week before the tournament. I had just gotten my new boat tagged, registered, and insured. We were taking it to Deer Creek where our first open tournament was. We got there excited to fish, pulled into the boat ramp and the lake was down 14 foot from it's regular summer level. We could not even put in the new boat to test it out. We fished from bank in a promising spot and landed 3 13 inchers and had one decent bass up to bank. He flopped on top of the water right in front of me and spit the lure right by my head. Mizike said it was about 4 pounds. I think more around 2 to 2 1/2. It was definately bigger than the other bass we caught.

The next week was tough. Each day at work all I could think about was the upcoming tournament. We were going to camp as well so I had a lot of things to do before Friday when we took off. Each night of the week my wife worked late until Thursday night. Then she had planned a trip to see Monsters vs Aliens in 3D at the Lennox. Luckily I had Friday off and finished up some things that had to be done to get ready to go. We left the house around 5:00 pm for the lake.

When we got to the lake we set up camp. It had been raining all day so the ground was wet. There was a chill in the air due to the damp air. We set up our tents and got them ready, then built a fire. We roasted hot dogs when the fire burned down to coals. We also had a few adult beverages. My wife and 2 boys went to bed fairly early as it was getting cold out. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep so Mizike his girlfriend and I stayed up and had some more drinks and kept the fire going until about 10:00 pm.

I slept until about midnight. It got cold and windy. I have camped in that before but never with 2 kids trying to squeeze me out of the sleeping bag and off the air mattress. Mizike's girlfriend was cussing us and wanted to go home. Finally at 4 in the morning Mizike and I got up and told the girls to go ahead and go home. We got our things ready and pulled the boat to the boat ramp to check in for the tournament. It was finally time for our first tournament!

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