Make sure you get lucky

2013-07-20 00:00

THE Albert Falls Bass Tournament is only six weeks away and that can mean only one thing: it’s time to brave the early morning winter chill and get back on the water because, as Frank McKane puts it, luck is merely where preparation, skill and opportunity collide.

Tournament fishing is nothing like weekend fishing and in South Africa, where few anglers are able to make a career of the sport they love so much, it is competitions such as this one that set the serious anglers apart from those of us who enjoy occasionally getting our rods wet.

Winning tournaments comes down to more than ability and you can be sure that it is about more than just darned luck. So as you prepare for this coming clash of the Titans, make sure that your equipment is in good condition. Boats, motors, rods and reels should all be in peak condition if you want to make the most of this opportunity to show what you are made of.

Memories should be reserved for those painstaking moments when your heart beats like a motor gunning for a spot, or as you wrestle to get the fish of a lifetime safely to the boat. The frustration that comes from making avoidable mistakes will leave your confidence crippled and sap the enjoyment from you faster than a leech in the Umgeni.

Prepping your tackle before heading out is another not-so secret way of keeping your line where it belongs, dangling delectably in front of the fish. Make sure all of your rods are set up before hitting the water. If that means spending less time catching up with old friends over a few beers before the captain’s meeting, it will be well worth it.

Once all of your tackle has been checked and prepped, ensure that you haven’t forgotten about your most important piece of equipment — yourself. You need to prepare mentally for tournament fishing. Tournament temperament relies on your ability to remain focused even when things aren’t going your way. So be positive, focus on the fishing and remember that you are there because you want to be.

Fishing is meant to be fun, so don’t let the pressure get to you.

Fishing requires commitment and that means spending as much time as possible on the water. Try different techniques and determine the types of structure that are fishing well.

Look for patterns and stick to them, but don’t forget to take chances. The angler leading at the end of the first day is often not the one who takes home the prize. This is because he or she plays it safe by trying to bag a limit and hold on to the lead, instead of throwing caution to the wind and taking a calculated risk.

Doing your homework will provide you with an arsenal of information that may give you an edge over your competitors. Study maps of the dam at

za. Chat to other anglers, look at previous results and pay attention to any patterns that you pick up.

Don’t follow the pack, rather lead from the front by targeting structure that you know is working, but which is not overpopulated with every angler who has attached a sneaker to his or her ski-boat. If the key to success is confidence, then the key to confidence is preparation.

Angler Carl Freese from Cramond recently bagged a four-kilogram whopper while targeting some deep structure using a mojo-rigged Gary Yamamoto 6” cut tail.

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