Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   


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Bass Tournament

By Randy Brudnicki

Some people think fishing is a lazy way to spend time. Those folks haven’t been in a fishing tournament.

Tournaments take planning, preparation, intensive study and a competitive spirit. This translates to long hours of work before the event, intense pressure during the tournament and long hours afterward considering the endless and inevitable “what ifs.”

Find tournaments at www.basstournamentfinder.com, categorized by region and month.

You can find team events where you and a buddy fish together and individual events where you are the only competitor in the boat. You’ll need a boat; if you don’t have one, some events allow nonboaters to be paired with boat owners.

Get a head start by scouting the lake before the “off-limits” period. Rules differ, so check them first. Off-limits means no competitor may be on the lake during a certain time frame, except for official practice days, which are usually a day or two prior to the tournament. Some events prohibit the gathering of nonpublic information from anyone who is not competing in the event.

bass tournament

Fishing Tips

  • Organize your fishing gear for optimum efficiency. Replace line if necessary; pre-tie lures on rods (most tournament anglers use multiple rods). Bring a measuring board.
  • Dress appropriately for conditions with foul-weather gear and cooling, moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Make sure your boat is in good working condition; the fun stops when you get stranded.
  • Be on time for tournament weigh-in or you’ll be penalized (weight deduction) or disqualified.
  • On competition day, don’t forget to eat and drink. Stay hydrated.
  • Common Rules

  • A life jacket is mandatory whenever the main engine’s running, but it’s a good idea to wear one all the time.
  • Connect the engine shut-off (kill switch) to your body or life jacket whenever the main engine is on.
  • Use of live bait is prohibited in most tournaments.
  • Bring your top five fish to the weigh-in. Keep your fish alive in a working livewell. Carry those live fish in a plastic bag to the weigh-in; they will get released back into the lake.
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