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2boatjoe
12-17-2017, 09:25 PM
I am wanting to start fishing tournaments this spring and was wondering if anyone had some good advice for me or would be willing to mentor me per say. I recently purchased a nitro z8. I am trying to get it all lined out by February. I just picked up a Solix 15 for up front plan on ordering a 360 and I am thinking a Solix 10 for my console.

Thanks Joe

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Hanr3
12-17-2017, 10:31 PM
Start local.
Find a local club and compete in their tournaments.
While you may be a good fisherman, tournaments change things.
You have to watch the clock,
You must know how long it will take to get back to the ramp from where ever you are on the lake,
You must count and sort your fish prior to weigh-in and they MUST be alive. Do you have a live-well?

Then there is the practical side of fishing. Will you fish the same technique all day, or can you switch it up on the water? What fishing techniques are you going to use, every day is different.
Live bait, artificial? Can you keep live bait alive and in good health?
When will you buy the bait, the night before, week before, day of, can you keep them alive throughout the tournament.

We haven't even got to the boat configuration yet.
I highly recommend entering a local club and seeing how that goes first.

If your set on the 360. In my opinion you want to mount it on the transom.
If you mount it to the bow trolling motor, the motor must be deployed to use the 360. You also need a mount and have to worry about the cable.

2boatjoe
12-17-2017, 10:44 PM
I have fished catfish tournaments years back always did ok with that. I have no issues with all the things you have listed. I am proficient at spider rigging and single pole jigging. I have a fishing partner but he is not a serious about it as I am.

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Hanr3
12-17-2017, 10:56 PM
I have fished catfish tournaments years back always did ok with that. I have no issues with all the things you have listed. I am proficient at spider rigging and single pole jigging. I have a fishing partner but he is not a serious about it as I am.

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I hear ya. Finding a partner can be a challenge. I don't have a consistent partner. I have a couple of friends that go once-in-a-while. Both my adult sons will go, however they have a wife and kids, so there time/availability changes. My wife is a fair weather fishing partner, extremely fair weather. Like 70-75 degrees. Been plenty of tournaments I fish alone.

The biggest challenge for me is knowing when to leave a spot with fish to find a spot with fish. While the one I am on my have fish, if they aren't biting I'm not going to hang around all day waiting. Although I do wait too long in most cases.

Some of my restrictions is a 10hp motor. Some of the lakes we have tournaments on are hp restricted. I don't have a 10hp motor, yet. This spring that will change.

2boatjoe
12-17-2017, 11:11 PM
My fishing partner is a retired truck driver and he has a hard time with changing things up in the middle of the day. I see the bites on his poles before him most of the time. Our first trip to Granada lake on our first day we fished in separate boats 2 people in each boat. I caught 38 he caught 8.

I have a great time fishing just want to take it to the next level. My oldest son is only 12 so he has school but I need to start taking him more. He is very excited about the new boat and all the electronics.

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wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 09:05 AM
Joe,

I'll try to break this up in a few different posts.
Hopefully I will be able to provide you with some good information and advice. From one tournament pro to another so to speak.

I am a tournament walleye angler here in Michigan. We don't have small "club" style tournaments. In the walleye community, it is "Go big, or go home"!

The first thing I will say is something you already touched on a little bit. Having a good partner is worth its weight in gold. By good, I don't always mean being a good fisherman. You need to have someone that is on the same page as you, has the same demenor as you, the same approach to how you do things. I've read tons of things from other pro's that talk about having contrasting personalities. I don't believe one word they say. Most of us do not associate with people that are 180 degrees different than us. I don't want to be stuck in a boat for 12 hours a day with someone I am different from. If you go back and read your previous posts (directly relating to your partner) it sounds to me like you are on different pages. Based on what I saw, your choice might not be the best one.

In 2016, my tournament partner was a guy that I had known for quite awhile (A CDC member). He an I had fished together a few times but, mostly shared camps, and shared the same water from different boats. We are very similar in how we go about things. Boat setups, approaches to fishing, styles. Most importantly, our personalities are the same! We had a great time in 2016, put up some impressive numbers, and finished 13th overall in the season standings out of nearly 400 boats.

One thing we noticed was just how much other teams work together. IE, it isn't a "one boat approach" like one thinks. Sure, on tournament day, that is different. But prefishing, after the day is over, they share information. Even to a point where teams share their winnings. We realized the importance of having another team where we could share notes, spread out the pre-fishing duties, and help both teams become better. For 2017 we split in to two teams. My father became my tournament partner and my best friend became my previous partners partner. ALL of us are the same. Similar personalities, styles, ideas, and so on.

Partners know what they need to do. At 4am, you don't have to discuss who takes off the cover on what side of the boat, who puts the plug in, who removes the transom bracket, the tie down straps, the front bow hook. Who puts the lights in, who turns on the fish finder, what light setting is used, what rods need to be taken out. It is done without words spoken. A plan is put in place the night before!

Partners should both be able to operate the boat. You need to know what the plan of attack is and someone always has to be willing to point out when it is time to move on or leave.

Above anything else, equipment, bait, boat, electronics, you need a good partner (if you are fishing those style of tournaments).

You need to spread the load. IE, who pays for what. Who plans the trips, the lodging, the fuel. Everything is planned before hand. Who buys baits, who brings rods... We have hundreds and hundreds of different baits for walleye fishing. The key word... WE

You need to understand what each of you wants to get out of it. Do you want to compete? Do you want to put yourself up against some of the best anglers in the world and see where you stack up? Are you looking to get your feet wet? Do you want to win?

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 09:24 AM
Most people think... We are really good. We catch a ton of fish, we do a great job finding them. The problem however is that most of them are used to fishing one particular body of water and a finite presentation. Sure, they "might" do great on their home body of water, but get them away from that, and that greatness goes out the window. You need to be able to understand the reasons why you catch fish in certain locations on your body of water. Where you catch them, what time of year, what water temp, what presentation. Understanding this will help you put a better game plan together when you move to a body of water you have never fished.

Before we hit a new lake, we pour over tons of hydrology maps. We earmark several locations that we think should hold fish. We put a plan of attach together as to how we will fish these areas. We know these maps and areas long before we get to the water. We might pre-fish a lake for 5 days leading up to a tournament weekend. The number one issue I see with other teams is that they fish the same area over and over and over again. They don't find fish, establish a set way to catch them, and then move on.

We hit on something last year in the final two tournaments of the season that reaped huge benefits for us and soon became the number one play in our playbook leading in to 2018. I'll share it with everyone!
You study a lake, you mark locations, you fish locations. Once you find fish, you annotate how you did it, the depth you caught it, the situation, the location, the topology. You look at your map and find OTHER areas that are similar or identical. You pickup and you move to the next location and reapeat. Soon, you have covered a ton of water in identical areas and have put together a pretty good picture of where the fish are and how they react. NEVER stay in an area pre-fishing too long. One, it is a waste of valuable time. TWO, others will see you. They might not fish it, but they WILL put it in their memory bank.

NEVER pre-fish outside of the normal tournament time. If the start is 7am and finishes at 3pm, we never pre-fish outside of those hours. It is counter productive to catch fish at a specific location at 5pm if we cannot fish during that time frame. That could be a pre-staging area for fish getting ready for the evening feed. You need to find where the fish are leading up to that location.

My partner and I might use the same stratagy and techniques on both sides of the boat. Then again, when pre-fishing, we are trying to find the BEST way to catch the quality fish. We might go in completely different directions. One might run high lines, the other low, different color baits, different techniques. The more things we have in the water, the better picture we can paint. We compare notes throughout the day with our sister teams. We are BOTH trying to paint a picture. They might have went off with a completely different strategy. We can quickly see if one is better than another.

In our 3rd tournament last year, we gave our sister team some information on specific topologies and baits. They had found a few fish however they could not get anything consistant. Once we gave them the recipe, they too where able to find productive areas based on our experiences. Top 10 is a pretty good place to be on day one when none of the 76 boats in the field fish this lake on a consistant basis.

We might carry as many as 30 rods with us to an event. Trolling rods and reels, jigging rods, cork rods, casting rods, crank bait rods, you name it. Some MIGHT stay in the truck, other times, we use every one of them.

On our second tournament last year, our gameplan was to troll Lake Erie. If the winds came up, we had a plan to fish an upper section of the Detroit river (jigging). On tournament morning (4am) we found out that they were having a rigata on the water and would be shutting down a stretch of the channel. I could go around the back side of the Detroit river but it would put 40 minutes on my trip. Also, there was a small craft advisory for lake Erie and I didn't feel like getting the heck beat out of me. 45 seconds before blast off (I was boat number 1) I called an audible... Although I was rigged to troll, I jumped on the throttle, turned the corner around two islands tucked out of the wind, and fished a spring stretch that has been good to me in the past. We had NOT prefished this area because it was not part of our initial plan. We put our limit in the boat in 2 drifts!

I've got more for you but I have a meeting to go to!

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 10:47 AM
You never leave fish to find fish! You ever heard that before? If so, FORGET that statement!!!!! Yes, that is right, forget that statement.

Alpena Michigan last year saw my partners key on one area that was holding some fish. Understand that we have the two smallest boats in the fleet and these areas were quite a ways from the launch. Unfortunatley, they didn't have a ton of fish or a real set pattern to catch them. Us on the other hand used our strategy of running and gunning during prefishing to narrow in on several areas that were similar and held fish. They were also very close to the launch and often overlooked (never had another boat close to me). They just wouldn't leave that area because, in their mind, they knew their were fish there. Unfortunately, they didn't have another area to go to. Another issue is that, although you might be catching fish, you might not be catching fish that are QUALITY fish. Knowing when to go and when to stay can be the difference between catching fish or going bust!

Houghton lake, I had two really good areas to fish. The first one was .3 miles from the take off spot. I was boat number 1. I opted for spot two because 74 other boats were going to run right through my core area. We put fish in the boat at spot two (the most in the field to be exact) BUT... We could only muster 3 keepers. I did have number 4 and 5 that were legal fish HOWEVER, they were so close that I didn't want to take a chance to lose my weight for the day due to livewell shrinkage. After 4 hours, we moved to spot number 3, caught fish, and then spot 1. We caught our biggest fish at the place I should have went first. My partners hit that area and were in 4th place after day one. What I SHOULD have done was went 1 mile south and then went back to my area. All other boats would be clear by that time. Day two, I did this, everyone started in this area (the jig was up at that point), and we went 1 mile south. By the time we met, we had three big fish in the box. We climed 22 spots on day two.

My point is to know when to hold em and know when to fold em. The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the hill but... you won't know if you don't go. Having several areas to hit is the name of the game. If you are catching fish but they are not quality fish, eventually, you have to make a decision to move. EXCEPTION: when the fishing is downright tough, you might stay simply because these are the only fish you found. Many guys will "assume" that everyone is having the same issues. NOT everyone.

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 10:55 AM
Go where no man has gone before!!!

Not really but you will understand.

In tournaments, almost EVERYONE has a giant boat, with a giant motor! They want to get up and run as fast and as far as they can to get away from people. Unfortunately, I don't have that option. I carry half the amount of fuel as my competitors. I have to watch the wind, the waves, and the weather. I have to know what it is going to do 8 hours from now. I have to know how far I can go, how much time I have to fish, and how much time I have to get back. Oftentimes, many of these guys overlook the best spots to fish because, in their minds, they found the best spot 50 miles away.

2016 Alpena- A storm is rolling in, my partner and I know we have to stay close to the harbor. We caught all of our fish within 100 yards of the channel bouy! Cool under pressure award was less than 1 gallon of gas away.
2016 Sault Ste. Marie- The average team was traveling 36 miles one way to catch fish. I caught the most fish on day two of the tournament less than 4 miles from the starting location. Cool under pressure pays the bills when you don't spend a ton in gas to get there.
2017- Houghton Lake... I could have rowed to our best spot
2017- Alpena, I had three big fish in the boat before our sister team had rods in the water

In 2014 I was asked by a friend of mines father in law to fish a tournament. A BASS tournament. For the record, I have NEVER in my life targeted bass. I thought (if I can catch these stupid things without trying, how hard can it be). He had a $1000 boat. AS the 70k to 90k boats took off, I noticed on his $30 dollar fish finder that fish were stacked all over the place by the launch. His $50 dollar trolling motor didn't work. We caught a limit of fish within 400 yards of the dock! He had never finished in the top 10. We finished 3rd including the biggest fish. In fact, the top three boats all total in price.... Less than $4000 dollars. Funny to see all those bright shiny boats spending tons of gas for a boat ride to far reaches of the lake to NOT catch fish!

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 11:03 AM
Last but not least.... comfort!

I spend as much as 70 hours on a tournament week inside of my boat. I run several hundred miles in some of the roughest weather imaginable. I do NOT have a disk between my L5 and my Sacrum. If I didn't have smooth move seat bases, I wouldn't fish. Period.

In the spring we can be hit with freezing rain, sleet, snow, and rain all in 10 minutes. Having the best gear is paramount. From Extreme Ice armour insulated and water proof clothing, extra hats, and gloves, to insulated and water proof boots. We carry extra gear. Zippo hand warmers, Little buddy heaters, and food to feed an army. We might grab a bite to eat while setting up for the next jigging pass. We snack while trolling, and drink when we can. Fair weather fisherman fish when it is nice out, tournament anglers test and evaluate clothing and materials for fair weather fisherman. Gore Tex suits keep the rain out, rubber boots, zip off thin pants, SPF shirts, face masks, sun screen, chap stick, you HAVE to be comfortable or you WILL be miserable. It is supposed to be fun. Part of the fun is seeing how you stack up against other guys. Part of it is the weather. Good or bad. If you have the right gear, you cannot use it as an excuse.

Above all else, a comfortable life jacket that you will not notice you are wearing. Although we are only required to wear them when the big motor is above idle, we are usually in such a hurry that we rarely take them off. There are days that I forget I have it on until 10am when my insulated jacket comes off.

Last but not least.... A TOILET. I have a toilet seat lid that snaps on to a 5 gallon bucket. It is mounted in front of my passenger windshield so it cannot come out. Being able to utilize the facility when and where we need to has been the difference between a great day and a miserable one.

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 11:23 AM
Nothing is fun without pictures!

Harbor Flag283210

100 Boats waiting to blast off. I am boat number 1 and this was day two so the field is inverted. I am dead last!
283211

Sponsor Plug
283212

Having quality Gear
283213

Rain Storm is coming
283214

Headed to weigh in
283215

Day one snow storm. Can't see 100 feet
283216

Day one weigh in. Sitting in 5th at the time
283218

Just Steve
12-18-2017, 11:26 AM
Good advice Rich

Great pictures too.

SKs Crappie Catching Adventures
12-18-2017, 02:09 PM
I'm loving this post.... thanks for the info guys....

wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 02:41 PM
And, because I know someone is either going to ask or is thinking about it, here is a link to some answers I gave to somebody looking for sponsorship!

http://www.crappie.com/crappie/main-crappie-fishing-forum/354006-sponsors/

SKs Crappie Catching Adventures
12-18-2017, 03:54 PM
And another excellent read... not that that's the direction in headed just yet....

sinkermaker
12-18-2017, 05:19 PM
That is one excellent read and tells it like it is thanks

2boatjoe
12-18-2017, 06:07 PM
Great read. Thanks so much. I have a Targa 18 with a 115. Just bought a 20' nitro with a 250. Getting all my gear together has been crazy so far. My Targa had almost no storage and only a 16 gallon live Well. I have almost always planed a fishing trip and went no matter the weather. Fished in all kinds of weather over the years.

Moving is the big thing for me to work on. This year I plan to fish like it is tournament day every time.

Idle around looking for structure and schools of fish instead of just pulling into a cove I have caught fish in before and fishing most of it.

I know I need new rain gear and some other things like that.

Lots to get together.

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wicklundrh
12-18-2017, 06:37 PM
Any questions, feel free to ask. I have no problems posting as much information as I can give.

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2boatjoe
12-18-2017, 06:56 PM
Thanks so much im sure i will be hitting you up

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blueball
12-18-2017, 09:27 PM
Start local.
Find a local club and compete in their tournaments.
While you may be a good fisherman, tournaments change things.
You have to watch the clock,
You must know how long it will take to get back to the ramp from where ever you are on the lake,
You must count and sort your fish prior to weigh-in and they MUST be alive. Do you have a live-well?

Then there is the practical side of fishing. Will you fish the same technique all day, or can you switch it up on the water? What fishing techniques are you going to use, every day is different.
Live bait, artificial? Can you keep live bait alive and in good health?
When will you buy the bait, the night before, week before, day of, can you keep them alive throughout the tournament.

We haven't even got to the boat configuration yet.
I highly recommend entering a local club and seeing how that goes first.

If your set on the 360. In my opinion you want to mount it on the transom.
If you mount it to the bow trolling motor, the motor must be deployed to use the 360. You also need a mount and have to worry about the cable.Me personally I wouldn't want a 360 on the transom.I want it on the bow where I will be fishing.When I'm at the console I use sidescan and don't really see the need for 360 there.

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Hanr3
12-19-2017, 10:29 PM
Me personally I wouldn't want a 360 on the transom.I want it on the bow where I will be fishing.When I'm at the console I use sidescan and don't really see the need for 360 there.

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and if your units are linked you can see the 360 from the bow sonar unit. Just select it.

blueball
12-19-2017, 10:31 PM
and if your units are linked you can see the 360 from the bow sonar unit. Just select it.I want my bait in the structure directly under the 360,that's the main reason.Transom mount has to be deployed also, I have a 360 and did a lot of thinking before I bought one.

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2boatjoe
12-19-2017, 10:41 PM
I fish for crappie mainly spider rig in the front if my boat. If I had a transom mount 360 it would be 20 foot behind me then I use 14 or 16 foot rods now it is about 35 foot from where I am fishing. So up front with me makes more since to me.

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micorps
12-21-2017, 09:49 AM
Last but not least.... comfort!

I spend as much as 70 hours on a tournament week inside of my boat. I run several hundred miles in some of the roughest weather imaginable. I do NOT have a disk between my L5 and my Sacrum. If I didn't have smooth move seat bases, I wouldn't fish. Period.

In the spring we can be hit with freezing rain, sleet, snow, and rain all in 10 minutes. Having the best gear is paramount. From Extreme Ice armour insulated and water proof clothing, extra hats, and gloves, to insulated and water proof boots. We carry extra gear. Zippo hand warmers, Little buddy heaters, and food to feed an army. We might grab a bite to eat while setting up for the next jigging pass. We snack while trolling, and drink when we can. Fair weather fisherman fish when it is nice out, tournament anglers test and evaluate clothing and materials for fair weather fisherman. Gore Tex suits keep the rain out, rubber boots, zip off thin pants, SPF shirts, face masks, sun screen, chap stick, you HAVE to be comfortable or you WILL be miserable. It is supposed to be fun. Part of the fun is seeing how you stack up against other guys. Part of it is the weather. Good or bad. If you have the right gear, you cannot use it as an excuse.

Above all else, a comfortable life jacket that you will not notice you are wearing. Although we are only required to wear them when the big motor is above idle, we are usually in such a hurry that we rarely take them off. There are days that I forget I have it on until 10am when my insulated jacket comes off.

Last but not least.... A TOILET. I have a toilet seat lid that snaps on to a 5 gallon bucket. It is mounted in front of my passenger windshield so it cannot come out. Being able to utilize the facility when and where we need to has been the difference between a great day and a miserable one.

i am always amazed with walleye anglers as walleyes can be finicky and conditions change so much. I do well on my own in minnesota, but lakes like erie would be to much for my small boat. I do enjoy fishing new lakes and is easy to do in northern mn. I try to fish 3 new lakes everytime i am home. In sep i fished two smaller lakes and cass lake a few days after the cabelas nwt. I was told red tails on jigs casting shallows was the ticket but couldnt get a bite. I found lindys with fluoro carbon leaders and leeches worked best for me. The four other boats in our group combined for 3 walleyes in two days, my wife and i caught six inckuding two over 20" and one 24". My largest of the vacation was a 29" for the two weeks of fishing. Cant wait to go back and may wait and try the tournament on pokegama in grand rapids, mn. My question for you is, on the first day of a cold front in northern mn, i cannot catch walleye. The second day i catch them at will. What do walleyes normally do on the first day of a cold front. I can find them stacked like cord wood but cant get bit. Thank you.

wicklundrh
12-21-2017, 04:18 PM
I'll try and answer your question tomorrow when I'm in front of a keyboard.

Would that screen name have something to do with the Marine Corps?

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micorps
12-21-2017, 08:41 PM
I'll try and answer your question tomorrow when I'm in front of a keyboard.

Would that screen name have something to do with the Marine Corps?

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close us army military intelligence corps

wicklundrh
12-22-2017, 11:07 AM
i am always amazed with walleye anglers as walleyes can be finicky and conditions change so much. I do well on my own in minnesota, but lakes like erie would be to much for my small boat. I do enjoy fishing new lakes and is easy to do in northern mn. I try to fish 3 new lakes everytime i am home. In sep i fished two smaller lakes and cass lake a few days after the cabelas nwt. I was told red tails on jigs casting shallows was the ticket but couldnt get a bite. I found lindys with fluoro carbon leaders and leeches worked best for me. The four other boats in our group combined for 3 walleyes in two days, my wife and i caught six inckuding two over 20" and one 24". My largest of the vacation was a 29" for the two weeks of fishing. Cant wait to go back and may wait and try the tournament on pokegama in grand rapids, mn. My question for you is, on the first day of a cold front in northern mn, i cannot catch walleye. The second day i catch them at will. What do walleyes normally do on the first day of a cold front. I can find them stacked like cord wood but cant get bit. Thank you.

Here is the location of the article I wrote... JUST FOR YOU!

http://www.crappie.com/crappie/main-crappie-fishing-forum/364320-weather-effects-fish/#post3533290

cevans
12-22-2017, 11:54 AM
This entire thread is a super great read! Thanks a bunch. Awesome information.

Fish on Line
12-22-2017, 07:27 PM
I fished a couple of times with a local group, enough to know I needed a new Partner. I fished with my Brother that was too interested in Birds, other Boats and Airplanes. I always had to tell him he had a bite and we always placed last. His home lake was 8 foot deep with no structure --- He was totally lost fishing big lakes .. we struggled to get the 7 fish needed for Weigh In... I totally believe anyone that fishes in Competition needs to be Committed and the information posted in this thread is spot on.