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Thread: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

  1. #1
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    how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    I am not sure I am ready for tournament fishing yet, but the thought has crossed my mind. Since I have never fished a tournament before, there must be some basics that I need to consider before jumping in. That leads me to a few questions -

    1. Before going in blind, how often are there opportunities to find an open seat in a tournament boat? How would I go about finding a person with an open seat?
    2. Does the competitive nature of the tournament take the fun away from the sport and negatively impact the comradarie of the participants?
    3. Is it worth it? Not that the goal is to make money, but is it worth the time, energy, and resources to participate in an event? Will the overall experience be worth the overall expense of time and money?

    I'd be interested to hear from people who currently fish tournaments and from people who no longer fish them.

    Thanks for the insight.

  2. #2
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    MAC Baby

  3. #3
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    I've never had to try to find a partner so I can't help ya there, sorry. I will say this, its still musky fishing only now your doing it for money! I've been fishing tournaments for about 8-10 years now and I love it! I've placed in some of them but still haven't taken first which is ok. It is expensive and when you fish 1 or 2 days straight for a tournament with no fish in the boat it does kinda suck but I just keep reminding myself "Hey, that's musky fishing." I get such an adrenaline rush right before a tournament starts (and when I hook a fish of course) its awesome! To me its just a lot of fun competing in the sport I love the most! Win or lose, I always have and always will love fishing tournaments.

  4. #4
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    I guess the answer to your question depends on the type of tournament that it is.

    My Muskies Inc chapter puts on a tournament every fall and it is not a cut throat event. There is lots of fun and while almost everyone fishes hard, everyone understands that there is a lot of luck in the outcome. We keep the dollars down low ($3,000) split up among different days and number of places. The big fish pool can pay as much as the first place money.

    My advice, stick with low dollar, small events and have fun. I think you can meet new people and learn a lot about muskie fishing. If you can't do that in your location, come to Missouri and we will introduce you to a fun tournament. www.missourimuskies.org

    Need a seat? Contact whoever is in charge of entries and tell them you would like a ride with someone. We always have 2-3 people looking for partners and try to match them up.

  5. #5
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    For me, it's a lot like it was when I used to go to all the Harley motorcycle stuff around the country. It's not so much the event itself as it is the social sharing of a particular passion. You pull in to a new town with new water, stay at a hotel with a bunch of other guys who like doing what you do and there just seems to help that there is some sort of organized activity. It also really builds your skill level as you learn from your betters as well as your own mistakes. I also find that, rather than cutthroat, just about any other guy will help you out of a jam, lend you what you need to get going from a breakdown, and YES even help you get on fish. I too have a painfully few first-place trophies hanging around for all my trouble, but am in no danger of giving it up. When the boats are cueing up, just after sun-up and the excitement is thick on a Northern morning breeze, there is just no where else I'd rather be.

  6. #6
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    And P.S. to Chris J., no need to slam the MAC any further, they just announced on their M1 site today that they called off the season.

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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    Are you Kidding Me?

  8. #8
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    My son and I will be entering a tournament for the first time this fall. It is on the chain where we have a cottage and we just hope to have a good time. We are not real accomplished musky fisherman and I have seen some pretty good ones skunked so I don't have any illusions about big money.

    I do have a question that I am hoping some of you tournament vets could answer. Our chain does not get a lot of pressure but there will be a lot more boats than normal for the tournament. When you go to a lake with a group of other boats already there, about how far away from the nearest boat should you be? I am thinking I should be behind the nearest boat but how far? The whole idea of spacing is not something I normally have to be concerned about because fo the lack of pressure. Any help would be appreciated.

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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    The distance required betweeen boats generally noted in the tournament rules and is reviewed again at the meeting the night before.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    RE: how do you go about entering your first tournament?

    Hi:

    I haven't fished a money tournament in, I think, six years, so maybe I shouldn't answer this. I had a heckuva lot of fun when I fished them but I think I'm much happier now that I don't. The reason for that is many tournaments are held on waters I would just as soon not spend a lot of time fishing ... I can overlook that for the tournament weekend, but I feel that I'm "sentenced" to the lake for the weeks leading up to the event. It always seemed that some lake I fish would get hot during the time I was supposed to be pre-fishing, and I felt guilty if I snuck off to that lake when I should have been pre-fishing. I felt I was cheating myself. The two weeks leading up to a tournament were never enjoyable for me.

    To your questions:

    1. Most tournaments have lists of guys who are looking for partners. You can also post on this and other Internet forums that you're looking for a partner, or you can ask around during a club meeting. Partnering up with someone you don't know may work out famously, but I'd suggest you know your tournament partner beforehand. His skill, desire and fishing style may not fit what you're looking for.

    2. No. I saw lots of camaraderie among tournament fishermen. You'll also have to wade through a lot of BS during pre-tournament events ... I guess that's a fisherman's way of talking smack. One guy told me before a tournament on the Three Lakes Chain that he'd caught 13 muskies himself that day while pre-fishing. I kind of knew the guy and doubted he'd caught 13 muskies in his life, so I said, "You, too?" Suddenly he didn't want to talk anymore. :7

    3. That's for you to decide. You'll certainly learn new ways of fishing muskies, see different water and, with the tournament focus, maybe become a better fisherman.

    Most of the expense is travel, lodging and food, and pre-fishing adds to that. The one year I fished the PMTT, Tom Dietz and I placed third in the championship. While that sounds terrific, monetarily we broke even for the season and that's only because one of the qualifiers and the championship were local (Three Lakes and Minocqua).

    Good luck finding sponsorship dollars. The musky market is substantially smaller than the bass or walleye worlds and you have to do far more than fish tournaments if you hope to pick up any monetary sponsors. Most of the guys who say they're "sponsored" are receiving free or discounted lures, and discounts on other products. One guy I know says he's sponsored by a major (non-musky) crankbait manufacturer ... his program requires three days of working sport shows in the manufacturer's booth, and for that he gets 50% off retail on crankbaits. How many crankbaits are you going to go through to make THAT worthwhile?

    I'd suggest trying a tournament or two. You've got nothing to lose, and that way your expenses will be a fraction than if you signed up for an entire circuit. If you like it, great. Fish more of them. If you don't like it, so what. You tried it but it wasn't for you.

    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

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