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Fishing Tournament Tactics and Strategies - Part 2

Hello again folks. In addition to my prior article on tournament tips and tactics, here are a few more important tips to consider on tournament day.

Culling System

For starters, if you do not have a culling system in place, you need to do so. Ounces make a difference in tournaments, so you do not want to take any chances. A typical culling system will have 6 different coloured “fish markers” that you can use to clip on to your fish. At time of culling, the different colours are required to help differentiate between the fish you want to keep & the fish which is next in line to release.

As soon as you catch a fish, mark him and put him in the live well. Do not spend any time at this stage, weighing/separating fish. There’s no sense in taking up valuable fishing time, until you have your tournament limit of fish in the boat. Then, once you catch your next fish, you can begin taking time to cull.

However, if you have 2 live wells available, there is one thing you can do while you are working on your limit, which does not take time – that is to put the obviously bigger fish in one live well and the smaller ones in the other. This will save you time once you begin culling. Or, you can use the second live well specifically for your “lunker” fish.

Balance Beam vs. Weigh Scale

The best way to cull you fish is to use a balance beam. Here you would put one fish on one end of your balance beam, and the other fish on the other end. The balance beam does not lie – the heavier fish will tip the scale and you can now release the smaller fish. If you use a weigh scale, it could act up on you and the bouncing in the boat can also shift your reading, causing inaccuracy and perhaps making you release the wrong fish. The balance beam will always be consistent, reliable and they are accurate to a fraction of an ounce. (They also do not need batteries!)

Fish in Distress

There are many commercial products out there that you could add to your live well water, which helps keep your fish calm and also protects them. However, I have noticed that a simple “home remedy” can help any fish in distress – especially if you have a fish which is bleeding. The “home remedy” is to add salt to your water in the live well. The salt will help stop the bleeding, keeping your fish alive. Most tournaments have a dead fish penalty and this could be the difference between winning and losing. It also allows for a successful live release after weigh in.

Tournaments can be a lot of fun and it’s also fun to win! Hopefully, some of these tips will help you on tournament day, or on your tournament trail. Good Luck & Good Fishin,


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