No I’m not talking about how well you utilize your time at work, I’ll leave that up to your boss! I’m talking about how well you use each and every minute throughout a tournament day to maximize your fishing time. How much of the day do you find you or your team partner wasting time, fooling around with stuff you shouldn’t? I’ll bet a lot more time than you probably think!
I cant even begin to tell you how much my time management skills have changed the past couple years after fishing Pro-Am’s with three different tournament circuits and getting a chance to fish with many of the areas top pros! Spending a tournament day fishing on the back deck as a co-angler, you really get a chance to analyze not only the way your boater fishes, but how well they use there time through out the day! I have picked up a few key things from each and every of the boaters I have fished behind, added them to my time management techniques and habits which has greatly increased the amount of actual fishing time I get in a tournament!
Jon Bradford and Russ Meyers Clear lake win
How much fishing time you get on the water of coarse starts the with your tournament preparation, all the way from pre-fishing to pulling your rods out the rod locker in the morning! Pre-fishing is crucial not only for finding the fish but knowing the areas your going to fish throughout the coarse of the day, have a plan of attack! Starting with blastoff in the morning know the first spot you are going to fish, and in case someone is on your spot, always have a back up spot in mind so your not driving slowly around the lake thinking about where else you can start! Have a few mid day areas in mind to fish, during your pre-fishing days try to figure out what time of day the better quality fish are up feeding on these different spots. This way you can figure out what areas you need to fish earlier in the day and then what areas to concentrate on at the end of the day. Towards the end of the day when your heading back towards weigh in have one or two spots close to the ramp that you can fish. Know how long it takes to get to those spots close to the ramp, right down to the minute so you can spend the maxim amount of time at your other spots, also have a reliable clock or two on the boat besides your gps so there are no mistakes! Hey, Mike Icconeli knew exactly how long he had to fish at his last spot when he caught that last fish to help him win the 2003 Bassmaster Classic, imagine if he cut his fishing time short because he didn’t know exactly how long it would take him to get back!
There are a few things you can also do before tournament day to gain a few extra minutes of fishing time! Besides stating the obvious of tying up all your rods the night before with what you’re going to use, but make sure you have your rods placed neatly in the rod locker so your not having to spend time untangling them in the morning! And if you don’t have a ton of rods, try to keep an extra reel or 2 in the boat incase you for whatever reason you need to change line size or cant get out a nasty backlash!
Know what lures your going to use that day and try to keep those tackle trays easily accessible so you’re not digging them out. If your going to be using a dart headed worm, nail weighted wacky rigged senko, football head rigged hula grub, tube or anything of that nature that requires some sort of rigging try doing some of this the night before! I like to take a whole bag of worms or whatever it is you will be using and rig up as many as you will think your going to use that day. Say for example if your going to be using a wacky rigged senko rigged with a nail weight in it, have your whole pack of senkos with the wacky rig band on it and the nail weight in it! So this way if you break one off you can just reach in the bag and tie on new pre rigged senko without having to waste time rigging it up!
There are also a few key things that a boater can do as well to help save time, for starters keeping an organized and tidy boat and having a place for everything so there is no confusion on where any thing is when you go to use it. A boater should also be sure there non-boater knows what they expect from them, making sure both boater and non boater are on the same page when it comes to “boat procedures”, what I mean by this is from how the fish are to be netted or who is going to be in charge of culling out the rats! One thing I find very usefull as a boater is letting the non-boater know when you are planning on moving by simple saying “last cast” or something of that nature, this gives the non-boater enough time to make sure all there stuff is secure and have there life jacket on when the big motor is ready to fire up! I know there is nothing worse than waiting on a non-boater to get there stuff together and life jacket on so you can start the motor and head to your next spot!
Time is money! How many times have you heard about guys catching there kicker fish in the last five minutes of the day or sometimes even there very last cast! Make that guy you! I know this is only scratching the surface of saving time but hopefully you can take some of these tips expand on them and change the way you utilize your time throughout the day and add minutes to your actual fishing time! Remember you can’t catch fish unless your lure is in the water!!