Whatever you do, you don’t want to be any of these guys. At best, you’ll be kicking yourself if you make one of their mistakes. At worst, you’ll look like a pathetic rookie.
1. The Ramp Blocker
What a loser this guy is! Fifty boats lined up behind him and he wants to park on the ramp to get things situated and unstrapped! I’ve even seen people screwing their sonar units onto the mounts, checking the drain plug, organizing rods, etc… Unbelievable! This guy waited in line for the last 20 minutes, twiddling his thumbs, probably on the phone… choosing to wait until the last second to prep the boat for launch.
There are only two explanations for this: Either there are more people who were dropped on their heads as babies, or the chemical and pharmaceutical pollution in the water supply is greater than estimated. People are literally drinking chemical cocktails of idiot elixir.
Prep your boat for launch BEFORE you get to the ramp. If you don’t, you will earn the ire of your fellow competitors.
2. The Imitator
If you modify your fishing to emulate another angler’s approach, you are, without even realizing it, acknowledging that you are not as good as this guy. You are telling yourself “I’m not good enough”… “my style is insufficient”… “my strengths are not strong enough”.
How much confidence can you possibly have if you are willing to go outside your comfort zone to imitate another angler’s approach or style?
Take, for example, Tommy Biffle. He is one of the best flippers in the business and has amassed an impressive record of success and consistency. How many times do you find him in 35′ of water, noodle in hand, drop-shotting finesse worms? You will rarely see Biffle turn his back on what kind of fisherman he is. He dances with who brung ‘em.
Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying to forever avoid learning new things. We should try our best to become versatile, but there are plenty of non-tournament days for working on that. Once competition day arrives, go with your strengths.
3. The Crazy Knot Guy
Tournament day is not the ideal time to experiment with any crazy new knots. There are plenty of other opportunities to test out that new Double Pompano Reverse Circle Jam Clinch knot. Stick with what you know when money is on the line. If you don’t, it could be a lost fish waiting to happen. I don’t want to test knot strength on a fish that could mean thousands of dollars.
Unfamiliar knots take longer to tie too. Every second counts during a tournament! Not to mention, you’ll end up tying yourself in knots when attempting a new knot under the pressure of a tournament situation.
4. The Angry Angler
As the saying goes, “an angry man catches no fish”. It’s that simple.
5. History Buff
It’s okay to check on old familiar holes — especially the ones that consistently treat you well — but if history isn’t repeating itself, move on. Don’t get stuck on, “I caught ‘em here last year”. Just the same, don’t get stuck on “I caught ‘em here yesterday”. Remember, fish have fins and they are not prisoners to your your GPS waypoint. They don’t know where they are “supposed to be”.
6. The Throw-the-sponsor-under-the-bus Guy.
If your main sponsor is a lure company and you had a bad day on the water, don’t get up on stage and drone on and on about how you couldn’t catch fish on their products. It’s no different than being sponsored by a line company and getting up there to say how you broke off on five fish that would’ve made your day.
Likewise, if one of your big sponsors is an outboard company and your motor blows up mid-way through the day, don’t get up on stage sporting that huge logo across your jersey, telling potential customers how your engine is responsible for your poor showing.
Oh, and don’t think you can make up for the gaffe by complimenting “the crew”.
“Yeah my motor blew out and I was towed in by a couple guys with an 40HP “Force” motor, but that [insert motor name] crew fixed me right up and she’s running good now!!”
Remember, not everyone enjoys the luxury of dedicated mechanical crews following them around the country. It’s the angler’s job to sell the motors to these people.
7. The Leader Magnet
If you bomb on Day 1, don’t show up on Day 2 at the spot where the tournament leader has been fishing. It’s just one of those things. Oh, oh, but you practiced there three days ago. C’mon. You should have started there on day one if it was so great.
We’ve got to purge this “win at all cost” mentality out of the sport. Integrity matters and being a leader magnet is not cool.