One of our Pro Staff, Adam Daywalt, has written a great article about fishing in tournaments as a “co-angler”. That’s where you draw for your fishing partner. We thought Adam’s experiences and observations were spot on so we wanted to share them will all of you. Here’s Adam’s take on co-angling:
Fishing as a Co-Angler
By Adam Daywalt
This past fishing season I decided that I was going to fish as a co-angler in the BASSMASTER weekend series on Kentucky Lake, and I thought I would take a little time to reflect on what I experienced while sharing the boat with a few of the area’s top anglers. I had mixed emotion about fishing as a co-angler at first just given the fact that in the majority of the tournaments I compete in I am the captain of the boat, trolling motor decision making and so on. The tournament schedule was set at 5 events with the first in March and the last in August, which was a two-day event.
In March, my boater and I headed to the back of the bays where he was flipping brush with a large jig. We also fished some straight channel banks with deeper water and some good lay downs. The fish were migrating to the back of bays to spawn, and those deeper channel banks were like super highways where the fish commute to their nesting areas. I opted not to flip into the bushes since the boater I was with was very thorough in saturating the surrounding cover with his jig. I decided on a spinnerbait. I ran the spinnerbait just outside the bush or along the side of lay downs. I got a lot of bites that day, and ended up with one keeper from my potential 3 fish limit. The next 4 events were spent ledge fishing. Ledges are the humps and island shaped raised areas either alongside the main river channel, or sometimes in the bays. Most of the anglers I drew spent the majority of their time on the main river ledges. The most productive ledges were the ones with either brush or mussel beds. The most productive baits were jigs, large worms, carolina rigs, shakey head worms, topwaters and sometimes a crankbait or large spoon. The crankbait bite was at most dismal with a lack of current. I’m not certain that there is any better tool than a ½ or ¾ oz football jig to probe around on ledges. The football jig is what I threw the majority of the time I spent on ledges, and proved to be successful for me.
Although I never had any stellar performances I did well enough to earn a top 25 finish and a berth to the regional which is held on Old Hickory in Tennessee. I am looking forward to the event, and hope that I can get a shot at the national championship in November. I made it a point to ask every gentleman that I fished with “what is the most important thing you have learned about fishing?” and I got some good answers. “Every day is different”… “Fish your strengths”… “Mental focus is priority one”… “Just Fish.” If there is any advice I could share after finishing out the season it would be to stick to what you are confident with, and don’t try to mimic the boater. The conditions surrounding you are always out of your control even with the best laid plans. You have to let the fish tell you what they want, and decipher that code to be successful.
Getting to go out with other anglers has really helped me learn to adapt and to remain patient while on the water. I also got a very thorough lesson in ledge fishing, which has been my weakness. I have seen some rants that would make a sailor blush and I have seen prayers. I would encourage everyone to try some draw tournaments. You get a lot of great insight. I will give another update after regional. Tight lines… Get the net!
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