The Dark Secret of Tournament Anglers

Tournament bass anglers have all kinds of quirks and superstitions that they believe in. But one thing bass fishermen are not….is honest. They would rather lie than tell the truth especially when it comes to how they are catching their fish. Tournament anglers are constantly looking for an advantage over their competition. There are many ways they will try and deceive their fellow competitors. It’s very much like a disease that has no cure! Let me give my perspective on why.

The biggest thing affecting tournament anglers today is called greed. It’s all about the money and the hundreds and thousands of dollars tournament trails are offering. Ever since mankind started using currency, he has looked for ways to get more than the next guy. Over time we have learned, money makes people do strange things and is the root of all evil. Some tournament bass anglers look for ways to put the odds in their favor by deceiving other competitors.

Let’s start with rods and reels. It’s very similar to shoes for women, you need one pair for every outfit and every occasion. But, on most occasions, when an angler has 10 to 12 rods on the deck of his boat, that usually means he is struggling and has no definite game plan yet. The angler you have to be afraid of, is the angler who only has three or four rods out on his deck especially the day before the tournament. This guy has a game plan that he feels very confident about. But if you see an angler with several rods laying on the deck of his boat, don’t be miss led.

To the untrained eye, it’s just a bunch rods with baits tied on. But to a tournament angler, it reveals the many possible techniques that a particular angler is using to catch his fish. One thing anglers are known to do; walk up to a fellow competitors boat and hawk eye the front deck in order to see what that angler might be using to catch their fish. They’re looking for what baits they’re throwing and possibly what colors they are using.

But when you approach another man’s boat, you need to be little warry. In some cases, it’s a smoke screen and an attempt to lead you astray. That’s right, some rod and reels on the front deck are there as decoys to make you think that’s how the angler might be catching his fish. It’s kind of like a magic show, there could be some deception going on. Certain rods stay in the rod locker until time to come in for the weigh-in. These are the decoy rods, and the rods that he is probably using to catch his fish, are put away in the rod locker before heading for the weigh-in. He’ll do whatever is necessary to protect everything he is doing.

But, there is one aspect of secrecy that a tournament angler/pro can’t control …. a loudmouth co-angler who he has fished with all day. I can’t tell you how many times a co-angler has ruined a pros day by revealing to his buddies or other competitors what, how and where that angler was catching his fish. In one recent tournament, I actually had a co-angler storing waypoints on his phone so he could come back and fish my spots later. This is a major tournament violation and states in the rules that a co-angler is not to share any information or locations of the angler he fished with that day. But most just can’t help themselves, they must tell someone or they will explode from a disease called “information concealment.”

On multi-day events, some tournament anglers/pros will go as far to pay off the co-angler they had that day to keep his mouth shut. Some will even offer the co-angler a package of their secret baits just to keep the co-angler quiet. They might even buy them dinner if necessary!

As you can see, tournament anglers are just like a great illusionist, they want you to think and see one thing, but they are really doing something else. So, the next time you hawk eye another competitors boat, be cautious as it goes without saying “Never trust another competitor or tournament angler if you’re looking for information.”

Till next time, good luck, good fishing and make sure to set the hook. You never know when you might catch that fish of a lifetime!

Steve Graf