By Jim Reaneau
This months article will cover tournament fishing.
When you plan on fishing a tournament read the rules and let them sink in. I see many contestants get disqualified by failing to follow the rules. Here on Lake Fork we have a slot limit. 16 to 24 inches. This means that any fish that is inside this length will be illegal to bring in or retain if you are just fishing. To clear the air, any fish inside this slot or any other slot is and illegal fish. You can’t bring them in to a marina to get pictures or anything. You may take pictures in your boat but you must release the fish as soon as possible.
When you enter a tournament they have rules and guide lines. These rules are strict. If you break a rule you can be disqualified from the tournament. Read the rules and if you have a partner have him read them. Practice all the rules. Such as life jackets on and kill switch hooked up when the big motor is running. There are many people disqualified for these infractions. Get you a good measuring device, not a piece of string. I have seen people come in with string that is suppose to be the legal limit length. String stretch’s and will not hold its original length. There are many measuring devices at your local fishing tackle store. Get you a good scale and listen to the radio. I see people giving up money by weighting in fish that would have won or placed higher in the next hour. Everyone gets excited and doesn’t always pay attention to the leader board. Walk up and ask what the last place fish is and what is the first place fish. This will give you a span to work with. Now you can decide whether to weigh the fish or not.
When you are fishing remember that there are other fishermen around and give them plenty of room. You don’t want someone pulling up on you and fishing in your water where you are catching fish and neither do they. Think of this. A fisherman spends a couple of weeks putting out brush so he will have a place to fish. He has picked out a spot where the usual traffic is no where around. The morning of the tournament he pulls into his first hole and begins catching fish. Another boat goes by and sees this and stops and pulls right up on this guy, and starts throwing where he’s fishing. Now my question is would you get mad if you were in his shoes. Common courtesy and sportsmanship has all but gone in the world. Treat the other constants as you would want them to treat you.
Remember to get the boat tournament ready, kill switch working, lights all working, all the navigational equipment working, and current registration, valid fishing license for all. Tournament fishing can be fun. Use common sense and sportsman-ship and good luck.