Showing posts with label Lake Fork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lake Fork. Show all posts

Second Thoughts on Quitting Tournament Fishing

Lance with his second kayak fish
Wishy-washy. Go ahead and call me that. I'll own it. I am not saying I am the world's biggest fan now but what I can tell you is that the group of guys that fishes a tournament can make a huge difference.

I went to the PKAA tournament this weekend and discovered a nice balance between the love of fishing and competitive spirit. Though the tournament was cancelled, I rediscovered what is nice about tourneys, how to balance fun and competition and why kayak angling is a unique but rapidly growing sport.

A dozen or so of us decided to drive up on Friday, do the pre-registration and have dinner at Tiffany's. As always, the stories, fun and dreams of a big day flowed. After three hours of camaraderie, the group decided to retire to the cabins for the evening. (A good portion of the group was staying in the same area which made it easier to find for those of us out of towners.) The good times didn't stop once there. Lots of talking, a few adult beverages and lots of map gazing passed the time.

As it neared 10:30PM, three of us decided to turn in. I knew the drive home after the weigh-in was going to be brutal and a couple hours sleep would not suffice. Just as I was starting to get settled I heard a knock at the door. Someone was wanting us to go next door. They wanted our input. I hopped up to go see what prank might lay waiting. But it wasn't a prank. The others joined as we talked about the impending weather. Forecasts had now changed to potentially dangerous and life threatening conditions. Wind gusts to 40 or 50 MPH had all of us weary. After some lengthy discussion the tournament was cancelled.

So what do a bunch of guys at Lake Fork do when the previous off limits period has been lifted? You go fishing! We all grabbed a rod, or kayak, and headed down to the nearby pier. In just an hour three fish were landed and a good time was had. Some of us retired around 1AM. Others may have slept less than two hours before the breakfast alarm sounded. Apparently the "I NEED COFFEE" alarm went off at 4AM next door. An hour later we were all up and moving towards Tiffany's again. After much discussion, almost everyone dispersed to fish or start the long drive home.

Money in hand, I fished with my brother and others at Fork and then the Payne boys went to a lake that calls our name later in the afternoon. While on Winnsboro, Lance, my brother, landed his first, second and third fish from a kayak.

So why the second thoughts?

After all was said and done, I would have been just fine not winning anything and going home empty handed. The bond that kayak fishermen show, especially when sharing meals, talking around the ramp or fishing at midnight reminds me that it's always more about fishing and growing the sport than winning to almost all of these guys. While they like to win, they also like to share. That is why I may be at a few more tournaments than I had planned. A fellow kayaking fisherman, Bert Turner, reminded me of this weeks ago and I just had to feel it for myself. Thanks Bert. I understand completely now.

My Baits for PKAA on Lake Fork

Wondering what I'll be throwing this weekend at Fork for the PKAA tournament? To lighten the mood and just have a good time, here is what I'll be throwing. It might change if baits are not producing but these are tied on and ready to go right now. The captions are links if you want to learn more and even purchase.

Tournament Fishing and Scotch

As I find myself less than two weeks away from my first tournament this year, and one of only three, I am hustling. Not hustling in the sense of selling things but in the sense of constant preparation. This is a good reason why I am only fishing a few this year. I can’t just let it be fun. It will be fun but it will also be agony. I only fished two tournaments last year and placed Top 5 in both but neither were super serious nor well attended. This event will most likely be different. 

The PKAA tournament is March 16th on the legendary Lake Fork.  I want to do well. Maybe it’s because I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder. In the last month I’ve been called a paper fisherman. Apparently I am more writer than fisherman to some. I suppose we will see. It’s a little extra motivation. It actually reminds me of a book I enjoy reading every couple of years, Think Like a Fish: The Lure and Lore of America's Legendary Bass Fisherman by Tom Mann and Tom Carter. In it Mann talks about war, sports and fishing. This is at least two of the three if not all three, symbolically of course.

“In war, men are taught to think like their enemy. In sport, contestants should think like their opponents. Fishing is the only sport where the opponent, or prey, is usually invisible. If you can't think like him, you won't outsmart him. If you catch him without thinking, you're not skilled, you're simply lucky. Luck isn't as much fun, or as fulfilling, as strategy-born thinking.”

I am pouring over maps, journals, reports, temp logs, rainfall totals from past years, baits, presentations, water clarity reports and talking to a bevy of informants to try to gain a slight advantage. I’ll have my work cut out for me but it is all a part of it. I am trying to think like a fish.

If conditions are X, where would I be, what would I be looking for? Am I lethargic or am I feeding up? Am I looking for a bed or am I just storing up after the winter?

The voices of fish that have no voice or inner thought are filling my dreams both day and night. It is setting up to be a nerve severing couple of weeks. I have reorganized my tackle twice, respooled all of my reels, selected the five rods I’ll take, the baits they will fling and even what accessories I’ll be taking along.

Tournament fishing to me is like a fine scotch. Taken in small doses it is able to be enjoyed and my presence to others is equally enjoyable. Largely consumed, no one wants to be near me or my warped verbal ramblings.

I will do my best to remain refined over the next two weeks. If you see me talking to my self and flailing wildly in the air however, best to just leave me be. It’ll go away March 17th.