Throughout my friends and family, there has been a misconception as to the level of fun involved with competing in Bass Tournaments. For some reason, everyone thinks it is just fun and games. That we are all out there just kicked back enjoying a nice sunny day on the water, relaxing while we watch the bobbers rise an fall with each passing wave or ripple. Those of us whom have had the pleasure of competing in a bass tournament, know this just isn’t the case. It is almost like any other sport. There is a lot of hard work, practice, blood sweat and teas that go into preparing for a tournament before you ever get there. At least that’s the way it is if you have any passion about it at all and any drive to actually win.
To be out there standing on a boat deck, swaying back and forth from the waves, manning the foot peddle of the trolling motor, feeling your back tighten with every flip, pitch, skip or cast of the line. The frustration of not catching, the adrenalin of catching one, culling through the small ones, the blood pressure rising higher and higher the longer it takes for that first bite. Then again between casts searching for that one that will take you to the limit.
That is just on the good days. Add 20 degree weather, snow and sleet and even some rain mixed in there. Or, how about those days when it is 90 degrees, a heavy downpour and you are having to wear your bibs. Those suspenders get to cutting into your shoulders, the weight of your soaking wet cloths (as we all know even the best rain suit can only hold out so much) weighing you down, your back is killing you, your arm is burning, you can’t see a thing because the rain just seems to be bouncing off the water and right in your face.
It is in those moments that we all know better than most that this is far from “fun” or relaxing”. It is hard work. It takes true passion and dedication. It takes a willingness to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how much it hurts, now cold, wet, or hot you get. No matter what you have to give up to make it to that next tournament or even by that next bag of plastics. It is truly an addiction if you are anything like me or those who I know that fish the tournament trails. It is far more than a hobby, its a way of life.
All that being said, it is what we love to do. It is what we live for. It is the last thing we thing about before we fall asleep, the first thing we think about when we wake up. The only thing we can think of as we stair off out the window of our office building on a sunny day. We feel our hearts beet a little faster as pass over a body of water. Its why we watch fishing shows on TV so intently. Its why we have our FLW apps set to alert us when there is a live weigh-in. By George, its why blood runs through our veins!
So, to those who think we are just playing around and goofing off when we go fishing, I say come fish a tournament. The next time someone asks why we are so tired and sore after a day of fishing, I say, come practice with us. When someone asks you what it takes to win a tournament, tell them to ask David Dudley about him going head first into the lake after a 5 pounder and bringing it back in the boat. Those guys on TV only make it look easy because they are the best of the best.
If you can’t tell, I am a little obsessed with Bass Fishing!