Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being a Co-Angler in the FLW BFL

All feels right with the world today.  A dried leaf blows across the road sounding like puppy's feet hopping across the pavement.  There is a chill in the air, almost moist.  The trees are still green.  They will be turning soon to the browns, reds, oranges and yellows that symbolize fall.

A feeling of tranquility waved over me as I stood outside, the sun just starting to peak over the roofs of the houses in town.  Tomorrow I will be traveling.  I will be on another of life's grand adventures. 

I can picture bass on the end of my line.  The strike, the hook set, then the battle to bring them to the boat. 

Last night I started preparations for this weekend.  I gathered all my camping and fishing gear and brought it to the house so that tonight I can organize my tackle into 1 bag and change my line on my rods.  If I forgot anything, this will give me an extra day to remember.  Already, I remembered a bag in one of my hatches of the boat that hods all of my new lures.  I might not use any of them but I want to have it along in case I decide, once I get there, that one of the lures needs to go into my bag.

The timing of this tournament will fit my strengths well.  The bass should be in transition from their summer haunts on their way to the shallower waters of the coves and creeks.  If we get on to them on the main cove points it will be a blast.  Bass after bass will be moving onto the points to feed before traveling on back into the coves to continue feeding.

Being a co-angler I don't have to locate the bass.  My boater is probably out there right now doing that.  Part of the fun of being a co-angler is not knowing where or what style of fishing you are going to be doing.  You may learn a totally different technique than you have ever tried.  I have a feeling that will be the case in this tournament.  This is a new lake for me, in a different region of the country than I am used to fishing. 

At some point I would like to take over the front of the boat.  For now, I don't have the time I need to scout the waters.  The guys in the BFL's are good.  If your not prepared you are more than likely just setting fire to your entry fees.

I have looked at lake maps, at fishing reports, at the weather forecast.  I have looked at the previous years BFL tournaments at Grand Lake.  It takes a lot of weight to win it, around 13 pounds per day.  It will take about 8 - 10 pounds to move on to the 2nd day and get in the money. 

The competition and camaraderie are why I fish these.  Fishing pulses through my veins.  The void of sports as I get older has lured me into the competition of these. 

There is a lot of luck in bass tournaments, but luck is not the key component.  You have to be good.  The more edges you have the more likely you will succeed.  Good line and good equipment is a must along with sharp strong hooks.

The biggest advantage I gained was getting quality rods.  I had always thought that I could catch fish on anything, until I got a quality graphite rod.  I got power and feel out of my rods.  I could feel the slightest of bites and was amazed at how many bites I must have missed with my other rods.  I'm talking 6 to 1.  If I hook all of those I have my limit and a cull, if they are keepers.  Most of my rods aren't that much more expensive than the rods I was buying before.  I have picked several used rods up for 40.00 to 60.00.

Line is equally important.  Some lines have substantially more feel than others do to the stretch of the line.  I rarely use mono-filament any longer.  Each line has a purpose though, even mono-filament, and matched with rod and reel it can make a huge difference.

The bait used is important too.  More important than the bait is your confidence in it.  If your good at catching bass on certain baits, that will be your bread and butter.  Get good with several so you can build your arsenal and react to what the bass want.  Try different things with your baits.  Customize them to make them yours.  Find the best way to fish that bait.  People will try to imitate you and may catch fish on them, but you will do better because you know you are doing it right.

Time on the water will make you better.  The more you live with the fish, the more you think like a fish.  The more you think like a fish, the more you will catch.


  1. A very good read sir. There's a couple clubs here that do tourneys on and around the IL river. I've thought about entering as a co-angler, might be something I look into more next spring.

    Question for you: How does one know a quality rod when he sees one? Most of my rods are $30 ugly stiks and the like. I hope I'm not missing out on bites because of my frugality.

  2. Thanks for the question Mark. That is something I would have liked to have known before spending lots of money trying different rods out.

    You should definitely try a tournament as a co-angler. Club tourneys can be a blast and the knowledge you can learn from one day on the water with them is amazing.

    Ugly sticks are a good rod. I tend to stay with the lighter weight models so I can get the feel out of them. Nothing above a medium light action, or I compromise the feel of the really light bites. Plus you have a rod that won't break and if it does has a good warranty. I bought one for my son and he out fishes me with it every time out.

    I will do a post on selecting a rod shortly, that way I can do some more research and give you a proper answer. So far I have stuck with rods that have modulus ratings such as IM-6, IM-8, 56 million modulus, etc. This shows me that the company is trying to make a light weight sensitive rod. They eyes and butts are another thing I look at. There is a lot to a quality rod so I will do a post and explain how to find one at the lower end cost.