"I’ve been fishing tournaments for many years now and the one thing I can ensure you is that I’ve never fished a tournament and not learned something new"
I’ve been fishing tournaments for many years now and the one thing I can ensure you is that I’ve never fished a tournament and not learned something new. Win or loose there is alway’s a lesson to be learned and some great pointers to pick up along the way. Not only do you meet some great people while fishing the tournament trail or just hitting up some local club events you will also meet some like minded individuals that share your same passion. When you put 130 anglers all chasing the same thing in one room you can feel the joy and see the excitement on their faces. Even though many tournament anglers are pretty tight lipped prior to a tournament (as the should be) some are still willing to help a guy/team out as we all want to win but most of all we want to see others succeed.
This past weekend my MWC partner Dan Geiken and I had the pleasure of fishing one of South Dakotas toughest tournaments, the Cedar Shores Walleye Tournament in Chamberlain, South Dakota and with 130 teams and a 10k payout for first place in this years event it was no surprise of the caliber of angler that participated.
After a couple of day’s of pre-fishing the fish really didn't give us much to go off of. The walleye were spread out all over river system and seemed to be biting on several different presentations. After cover approximately 60 miles of water a day we had determined the bigger walleye were in 8’-12’ of water and pulling cranks was by far the best method to cover water and trigger a bite. Most of the walleyes have been spawned out but we were in search of the late spawners as a few had been caught but that was very few. We had caught several smaller walleye in practice but with this being a 1 day tournament it was all or none and we knew it would take 15+lbs to compete. Tournament day we managed to get 1 over (21.5”) and a few healthy 18-18.5inchers backed by some smaller fish we didn't want to keep going into the day but with time running out had no choice but to tag them.
We ended the day with 10.23lbs which was just .77lbs out of the money (15th). Tournament fishing is a game of ounces and everyone counts.
We rolled the diced and decided to fish the 17th annual Francis Case Walleye Tournament held on Sunday as were already here and had a game plan. This tournament was a bit smaller with only 67 teams participating. The weather was looking to be miserable with wind gust up to 40mph and sure enough the weather was dead on for once. We struggled to get the bites and couldn't fish a few of the spots we had early fished. We had to make some adjustments quick and did so but only yielded one 19” and a few shorts. Sometimes a humbling experience is a good thing and we all go through it in the tournament game so take it with a grain of salt and chalk it up as a lesson learned and get focused on the next goal. Nonetheless another good experience and very glad we were fishing out of a Ranger boat with Mercury Verado motor that handled like a champ in the big waves just as I anticipated it would.
Anytime you get an opportunity to fish a tournament I highly recommend you do so. Not only will you meet some great people but it will help you learn new waters new techniques and may get you out of your comfort zone which can be a great thing to becoming a better angler.
The season is in full swing now and I’m spending lots of time on the water sharpening up my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Really looking forward to fishing this 2015 MWC season with Dan Geiken and Lake Area Walleye Club league with Dre Weyer. South Dakota anglers are second to none and a great bunch of guys willing to help another guy out and who’s new to the area so a big shout out to Dan Geiken, Mike Dorris, Brian Fowlds & Darin Lewin for being so welcoming and kind you guys are a solid bunch!
Heres a little look at a double of 14"-16" walleye durring the tourney.