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3 Tips For Competition Fishing

All of us live for the sport, but some of us also live for the competition. It’s no wonder that sportfishing competitions are popping up all over the globe. When competing, the path to the top can be a rocky one. But with these tips, you just might get the edge you’re looking for.  

1.    Pack the essentials

For me, competitions are intense mind games. Filled with outbursts of joy and cries of frustration. 

It can be a taxing experience. That’s why you’ll need to make thorough preparations before the game is on – whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned competitor.  

Going through your arsenal, cleaning the gear, retying leaders – with so much to do, it’s always a good idea to make a list before hitting the water. My list of must-haves looks something like this:   

•    The net 

•    First aid kit 

•    Waterproof bag containing an extra pair of socks and underwear 

•    Toilet paper  

•    Some of your most crucial tools for minor mechanic issues in your boat (screwdrivers, ring keys, etc.) 

•    Life vest (checked and secured) 

•    Duct tape, superglue  

•    Emergency phone  

 These are some of the things that can prevent your competition from having an abrupt end. By building your list of essentials, you’ll feel much more at ease when entering the competition. 

2.    Study your environment (if possible)

When entering a fishing competition, knowing the battlegrounds is a significant advantage. Different waters and surroundings are all unique, and they all have their quirks. That’s why having a couple of days’ worth of recon before showtime is something to consider. You’ll get a good overview of the area – and hopefully an opportunity to spot the areas that hold fish. 

The next crucial step in taking your game to the next level is to make a “journal” of the weather.  

Things like knowing if the wind has been blowing in this bay all week can be real game-changers. To be able to follow and study the weather conditions can be critical when locating the baitfish – and thus, the predators – in the area. Also, the weather must be taken into consideration when deciding on what type of safety equipment to bring along. And of course, one must dress for the weather! No one likes being cold or sweaty all day. 

And finally, if you don’t have a good sense of local knowledge of the area, I recommend purchasing an electronic chart for your sonar device (if you have one). It will help to avoid hitting shallow areas, and it speeds up the process of getting an overview of the area. 

3.    Have the right gear and lures

To fish with confidence is critical – as is feeling confident with your gear. When competing, you want to make sure your gear is top-notch. Finding your favorite gear and lures is often a very personal process, but seeing what other anglers are using can be a go a long way. Here are my competition favorites from Rapala.

With your first casts, you want to skim the area and see if there’s any active fish around. This is where the X-Rap® Peto and the X-Rap® SubWalk are fantastic choices. The X-Rap Peto is a great search bait: easy to cast and retrieve, and loud enough for all nearby fish to hear it. You’ll get the irresistible action, whether you’re fishing it fast or slow. With the X-Rap SubWalk, you have an amazing ”walk the dog” action, allowing for some first-grade, shallow-running fishing. A side-to-side action is always a good choice when seeing if there are any fish nearby.

My rod collection during a competition can be quite versatile. Switching lures all the time can be draining – that’s why I prefer to have a couple of ready-to-go rods at hand. By matching the rod and reel combo with the baits is a great way of maximizing your chances of landing that award-winning fish. 

And last, but not least: the tools. Having the essentials in your boat can turn a lot of tricky situations around – and help you register your catch quickly. Here are some of the tools that you might want to

•    Rapala RCD pliers system
•    Weigh & Release Mat
•    RCD Roll Ruler
•    And the 25 kg RCD Digital Scale 

This will help you to register your fish in a quick and easy way.

Competition Day!

Ah, the competition day. The culmination of all the preparation. Pushing the throttle handle to the bottom is a great feeling. Now, it’s time to pay attention to the water. To succeed during a high-intensity competition day, you need to see what’s happening both above and under the surface. What you’re looking for is the “feeling” of the area – whether the spot will work or not. 

Think back to your days of recon. What was the water like? What color was the water? Was there any vegetation? Seek the types of waters that proved fruitful in your pre-competition days and pay attention to the details. When entering a potential spot, looking for the baitfish of the area can prove successful. Sonars are useful, but sometimes you just have to trust your eyes. 

Sticking to your original plan is important. But sometimes, plans might need revising. There will be days when everything you’ve planned goes down the drains. That’s when it’s time to forget the plans and mix things up! 

Remember…

You don’t have to be pro to compete. I dare you to gather up a bunch of friends and come up with a laughable team name. Find out where your local competitions are and enroll your team – it can be a lot of fun. When starting out, you don’t need to have a big fancy boat with all the electronics. There’s certainly time for that later if you get into competing. What matters is that everyone has to start somewhere. And even the pros can have competitions they’d rather forget about – I know I have. So, there’s really no need to stress out. What matters is having fun.

Hopefully, the tips provided in this article can help you get started – or take your fishing to a whole new level.  

Have a great one!